One familiar face stood out when the Giants officially announced the three coordinators working under new head coach Brian Daboll - special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey.
McGaughey is entering his fifth season leading the Giants' special teams. After working as the assistant special teams coordinator from 2007-2010 under Tom Coughlin, McGaughey was brought back in 2018 to lead the unit under Pat Shurmur. He was retained on Joe Judge's staff for the past two seasons, and will now work with Daboll for the first time.
Although he received a couple of interviews with other teams for their open special teams coordinator positions, McGaughey ultimately was thrilled to return to the Giants for what will be his ninth overall season with the franchise.
"First things first, this organization has been really good to me and my family. I'm a Giant for life," McGaughey told Giants.com. "It's been great to me. I couldn't wait for the opportunity. I interviewed other places, but I couldn't wait for the opportunity to come back and try to build something special here with Coach."
McGaughey's first stint with the Giants was from 2007-10. The Giants won Super Bowl XLII in his first year with the team. The following season, kicker John Carney, punter/holder Jeff Feagles and long snapper Zak DeOssie each made the Pro Bowl as the Giants won the NFC East. Carney set a then-team record by converting on 92.1 percent (35 of 38) of his field goal attempts.
McGaughey, 48, knows what is needed to build a winner and he's more than ready to help the Giants get back to that level of play.
"This franchise has been here for a long time and it's had a lot of success," he said. "You have a lot of pride when you walk in that lobby and you see those trophies. Just to know that your name is on one of them, you really understand what it takes- the commitment, the pride that the city takes in the organization. It's exciting to be a part of it.
"It's one of those things where every morning when you get up, it's not a 'I got to,' it's 'I get to.' Everybody doesn't have that opportunity when they get up and go to work, to be a part of something special. This place is special. It's been special to me and my family, and I'm super excited about being able to come back and continue to try to help this football team get back to the heights that it's been to before."
The 2021 season did not go as the Giants would have hoped, however, the special teams unit performed well. Big Blue was one of just four teams that did not give up any negative plays (blocked kicks, turnovers or touchdown returns) on special teams. This feat helped the team finish 10th in Rick Gosselin’s 2021 Special Teams Rankings.
The Giants ranked No. 1 in kickoff coverage after allowing a league-low 17.8 yards per return, which also helped lead to the unit ranking third in opponent's starting field position (23.8-yard line). McGaughey's unit also put up strong numbers against opponents' punts, coming in at fifth in opponent's net punting (39.0 avg.).
Perhaps the most impressive part of the special teams was the dominance shown by Graham Gano, who extended his franchise record to 37 consecutive successful FG attempts. He finished the season making 29 of 33 tries. He kicked a Giants-record seven field goals of 50+ yards and after just two years with the team, holds the franchise mark with 12 field goals of 50+ yards. Since joining the team in 2020, Gano has made 60 of 65 field goal attempts, a .923 percentage and a team record (min. 50 attempts).
The relationship between McGaughey and Gano goes back to when "TMac" served as special teams coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in 2016-17.
"Graham is experienced. He's a seasoned vet," McGaughey said. "What makes him special is his consistency and his work ethic. Every day he comes out and he's always working to get himself better, on and off the field. He's constantly stretching and finding new ways to where he can help recover and preserve his body. The operation with Riley (Dixon) and Casey (Kreiter), they've done a great job. He doesn't do it by himself. Riley is an excellent holder and Casey is a heck of a snapper. That battery has been pretty good for us over the last couple of years."
One of the most important aspects of coaching special teams is the ability to work with players from both sides of the ball. Quite often players will get shuffled in and out of kicking units based on the personnel available to the team each given week.
McGaughey is entering his ninth season as an NFL special teams coordinator and his 14th overall year leading a special teams unit when counting his five NCAA seasons (Houston, 2003-04 and LSU, 2011-13). He takes pride in both his ability to create personal relationships with every player and being able to make quick adjustments when necessary.
"It's just relationships for me," said the special teams coordinator. "I try to create individual relationships with every guy in the room. Then when guys are shuffled during the course of the week, I tell the media all of the time when I speak out there, I make gumbo every week. Me and Blev (assistant special teams coach Anthony Blevins), that's what we're going to do. We make the gumbo. It might be chicken gumbo, it might be shrimp gumbo, it might just be soup for that week. But it has to taste good. That part of it, I take pride in that part, being able to make adjustments on the fly and to be able to succeed and make things work to help us win games."
View photos of the 2022 New York Giants coaching staff, led by Head Coach Brian Daboll.