BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WFAN) — For the second time in three years, Steve Spagnuolo interviewed for the Giants’ head coaching job and wasn’t hired. But now that he appears to be moving on from the Meadowlands, he says he has no hard feelings.
“I’m always going to be a fan of the Giants. You guys know that,” Spagnuolo, the Giants’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons, told WFAN’s “The Afternoon Drive” on Thursday from Radio Row in Minnesota. “I have too much respect for the organization, the Mara family, the Tisches. So look, it was in God’s plan for me to move on. That’s obvious to me. And then we’ll just find out what the next chapter is.
“I don’t look back. I’m not going to judge it fair or not fair. It happened. As grown men in this league, these things happen, and you’ve got to move on.”
The Giants ended up hiring as their new head coach former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was Spagnuolo’s offensive coordinator when he was head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
“I wish Pat well,” said Spagnuolo, who served as the Giants interim head coach for the final four games this season after Ben McAdoo was fired. “He’s got a great family. Look, I’ll have my eyeballs on it, and I hope things work, because I believe in the organization.”
What’s next for Spags? He’s not sure. And he’s prepared for the possibility that he might sit out next season.
“It’s a little scary, but it’s not a bad thing to sit back once in a while, see things from afar,” he said. “… If that does happen, and I don’t coach the season, I’ll be back again. But I’ll use it as opportunity to just gather more information.”
The Giants entered the season widely considered Super Bowl contenders, but flopped spectactularly, going 3-13.
“Sometimes when you don’t get off to a good start, it snowballs a little bit,” he said. “You’re trying to push it back up. It was difficult with the injuries. Some things you can’t control. But it’s over and done. I think we all learned a lot from it. I know did. And hopefully we use that going forward.”
Despite that there was some turmoil in the locker room at times, Spagnuolo said he was proud of the players for the way they kept fighting.
“I was fortunate enough to experience the ultimate high with the New York Giants (winning Super Bowl XLII). Very fortunate,” he said. “Then we had a rough year this year, but I would tell you when we won that game against Washington at the end of the season, that felt like to me — I don’t know about everybody else — but after what we’d been through, it felt like we had won the Super Bowl. And I was just proud of what the guys did in that game after a lot of guys had been blown out with injuries, and that spoke volumes.”
He added that the incidents that led to suspensions for defensive backs Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple were overblown.
“It’s never as bad as it looks; it’s never as good as it looks. We all know that,” he said. “Those incidents, I think, were all isolated. Those guys that were involved with it, I have a great deal of respect and love. Janoris Jenkins, I love. He’s the ultimate competitor. DRC, I know he had the issue with Eli at the end, and I hope that works out for the young man, but those are things as a coach that you have to work through.”