The Carolina Panthers stunned the NFL by landing former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule who was expected to be the New York Giants No. 1 target. Ultimately, Rhule, an assistant offensive line coach for the Giants in 2012, skipped his scheduled interview with the Giants, but there was much speculation surrounding these developments. After Rhule was hired by the Panthers, reports surfaced that Rhule’s agent let the Giants know about Rhule’s seven-year, $62 million offer and negotiated to see if the Giants would match that. As the report goes, the Giants decided to pass and moved swiftly to hire New England Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge.
The question that remained in the aftermath. Did Rhule actually talk to the Giants before taking the Panthers job?
“I never talked to anyone but them (the Panthers),” Rhule said in his introductory press conference. “I probably don’t want to say anything that would come across in a bad way about anybody. So, I just want to talk about them, but my agent talks to everybody. I’m sure he’s had lots of conversations. He’s representing a lot of guys probably also too that are in all these job mixes.”
Rhule was the favorite to land the Giants head coaching job, based on New York being the only NFL job Rhule has had. Rhule was the ideal fit for the Giants as they looked to rebuild a franchise that has gone 9-23 over the last two seasons and has made just one playoff appearance since capturing Super Bowl XLVII in the 2011 season.
Rhule revitalized both Temple and Baylor, leading Temple to the American Athletic Conference championship in 2016, the program’s first conference title since 1967. He then took the Baylor job in 2017, leading them to the Sugar Bowl in just three seasons and two seasons after going just 1-11 in his first year on the job.
All coaches want job security and long-term commitment. The Panthers provided what the Giants couldn’t.
“For me, when they (Carolina) offered the job – and the biggest thing I’ll say is when they offered a chance to be here for seven years, it spoke to me about the belief that we were going to do this together and do it the right way,” Rhule said. “And there was no doubt, and there was really no doubt the night before for my family, and there was really no doubt for me after just having that synergy that we were going to be here.
“My agent, I know he talks to different people, but for me, the only person I talked to was (Panthers owner) Mr. Tepper.”