The favorite has just left its next competition in the dust, more precisely in Arlington, Texas. There is now a clear leader for the Giants head coaching job, even if he has not yet interviewed for this position.
If Matt Rhule isn't signed by the middle of this week, things have gone wrong in the Giants' exchange plan.
Mike McCarthy, who was hired by the cowboys on Monday morning, did not remain hidden from the Giants. If they were hot for him, they would have made him an offer last Friday after sitting down for an official interview with the former Packers coach. McCarthy's resume and testimony are impressive and the Giants knew they had to take his candidacy seriously. They also knew if they would allow him to leave the room without receiving an offer that he could get from another team, and they were ready to accept this scenario – even if it meant that McCarthy was with the rival cowboys would land.
This does not mean that McCarthy did not conduct his interview with any certainty or that the Giants were not impressed by him. He didn't win the day to the extent that John Mara, Steve Tisch, and General Manager Dave Gettleman decided to hire it on the spot without hearing from the other candidates on the list.
Rhule, 44, meets with the Panthers on Monday. He interviews the Giants on Tuesday and unless he is wearing a "John Mara Must Go" t-shirt or "I hated Forrest Gump" hat (Steve Tisch produced and won an Oscar for this blockbuster), the talks should go on Negotiations to make him the 19th head coach in franchise history and the successor to Pat Shurmur concluded a five-year contract for two years.
However, there are some problems that need to be solved with Rhule. He has an expensive buyout from Baylor – probably over $ 15 million – and the Giants need to be assured that he can put together a highly skilled staff made up of college and professional assistants. Rhule flipped programs in Temple and Baylor, but has only one year of experience in the NFL as an assistant offensive line coach with the Giants in 2012. The Giants will most likely insist that he brings at least some proven NFL coaches, especially at the coordinator positions. The Giants learned how difficult it was to put together the Shurmur coaching staff, which was not of high quality across the board.
McCarthy, 56, went with the Packers 125-77-2 in 13 seasons, won a Super Bowl, and qualified for the playoffs eight years in a row. The Giants respect this resume, but have been more and more fascinated by Rhule all the time, which is likely to annoy some fans who prefer the tried-and-tested goods rather than the unknown.
Rhule is 47-42 as the head coach in his two college stations. It takes programs at the bottom and makes them quickly competitive and then robust. He is not a hot coordinator who is particularly good on the offensive or defense. He is a New York City born and raised CEO with the personality and enthusiasm the Giants have been looking for after two years of Shurmur.
The offensive linemen Rhule worked with in 2012 – Chris Snee, David Diehl and Kevin Boothe – are highly valued for him, although Rhule never trained this position before joining the Giants hired by Tom Coughlin.
The Giants will interview their sixth candidate, Joe Judge, the coordinator of the Patriots special teams, on Monday. The 37-year-old judge is aspiring and has worked with Bill Belichick on the Patriots and Nick Saban in Alabama. He is reportedly the next head coach in Mississippi.
On Tuesday, the Giants talk to Rhule, the # 7 candidate to be interviewed and clearly the first choice. An interview with Josh McDaniels, the Patriots' offensive coordinator, is scheduled for Wednesday. Depending on how fast the giants move on Rhule, the meeting may or may not end.