Jack Bicknell, Jr. figured the Giants' exhilarating playoff run and Super Bowl victory ensured he would return for a fourth season as the team's assistant offensive line coach.
"A lot of the jobs had been filled up by the time we were done," Bicknell said.
But one remained open. Soon after he returned from the Giants' parade in New York City and championship celebration in MetLife Stadium last Tuesday, Bicknell received a call from the Kansas City Chiefs, who were looking for a line coach. Bicknell interviewed for the job two days later and this week was officially named to the staff of Chiefs Coach Romeo Crennel, the former Giants assistant.
Bicknell leaves the Giants following three seasons as an assistant to offensive line coach Pat Flaherty.
"It's been unbelievable," Bicknell said as he packed boxes in his Timex Performance Center office. "Starting right from the top with John Mara, Steve Tisch and Jerry Reese and Coach (Tom) Coughlin. I think everybody that works here knows what a special place it is, what kind of special people there are here. The relationships I've formed here I'll remember forever. That's so important. We had some good times, some bad times and ended up with the best of all times. Just an absolutely amazing run and it's something I'll always remember and always cherish. I'll have a huge part in my heart for this place. It's tough to leave. If I didn't have an opportunity to go from an assistant to a head O-line guy, trust me, I wouldn't be leaving, obviously. But it does give me an opportunity to be the head guy and I'm excited about that."
Bicknell is the second member of Coughlin's offensive staff to leave since the Giants' victory last week over New England in Super Bowl XLVI. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, one of seven coaches who had been with Coughlin since his arrival here in 2004, departed to become the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bicknell joined the Giants in 2009, after a two-year stint at Boston College, where he was the assistant head coach/offensive line coach. Prior to that, Bicknell spent 10 years at Louisiana Tech, the last eight as head coach.
The Giants job was his first in the NFL and Bicknell credits Flaherty for easing his transition.
"Flats has been unbelievable to me," Bicknell said. "He's been patient. He's been just a fantastic person. You know, when I was head coach in college, I figured I could just go into the NFL, but I'll tell you what, the NFL game is different from the college game, it really is. And there is a learning curve there. Flats helped me through that. He's obviously been through it year after year. He's obviously very smart. (Working with) Coach Coughlin and (offensive coordinator) Kevin Gilbride, it's honestly like working on your doctorate. They all are just so smart and there's so much to learn. But specifically Flats, just seeing how he handles the players, how he handles the drills, that was invaluable to me."
In his three seasons here, Bicknell coached Pro Bowlers Chris Snee, David Diehl, Shaun O'Hara and other outstanding players like Kareem McKenzie, Rich Seubert, David Baas and Kevin Boothe. He does not relish the prospect of leaving them.
"That's probably the hardest thing of all," Bicknell said. "You're in there what seems like 24 hours a day sometimes. You're around them more than your own kids or wife or anybody else. They're just fantastic people - great character, great friends. That's the thing I've really enjoyed about the NFL. In college, it's more the coach and the players. Here you have man-to-man relationships, which have been great. They've been great to me. You learn a lot from them also by what it takes to prepare at this level. What kind of edge you have to have. Every one of those guys, David, Chris, Richie, Shaun, Kareem - don't let me leave anybody out - but the guys that have been here for quite some time all have an edge about them in the way they prepare. That's something that's been really good for me to learn. You learn a lot from them. Talking to them about technique, what they think works, those kinds of things. When you play the game at this level for that amount of time you start to realize what it takes to win."
That knowledge will now benefit Bicknell with the Kansas City Chiefs.