Just days after helping Super Bowl XXXVIII MVP Tom Brady and the Patriots to their second world championship in three seasons, quarterbacks coach John Hufnagel has taken the job of offensive coordinator on new head coach Tom Coughlin's staff with the New York Giants. Hufnagel had previously worked under Coughlin as the head coach's quarterbacks coach with the Jaguars in 2002.
"John has earned his stripes," Coughlin told Giants.com. "He is prepared to accept this responsibility. He is an outstanding leader, and he will be very good on game day."
Hufnagel is a 15-year coaching veteran, five of which came in the NFL. The coordinator job is clear promotion as Hufnagel spent his first five seasons in the NFL as a quarterbacks coach with the Browns, Colts, Jaguars and Patriots working with such quarterbacks as Tim Couch, Peyton Manning, Mark Brunell and Brady. Before entering the NFL Hufnagel had coached for 10 seasons in the CFL and Arena leagues.
"John has worked with some outstanding players," Coughlin said. "Before I hired John in Jacksonville, I talked to Peyton Manning about him, and he gave him a solid recommendation. He is an outstanding football coach. He has an old-fashioned work ethic. He goes to work and does his job. He's not a hype guy. He is meticulous and detailed."
Hufnagel was an All-American quarterback at Penn State and still ranks among the top 10 in most major passing categories at the school. He was drafted in the 14th round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos in 1973 and played three seasons in Denver before moving north of the border for a 12-year CFL career that concluded in 1987.
Between playing in both college and the pros and his coaching experience, Hufnagel has spent the past 35 seasons working with quarterbacks and offensive football players.
The loss of Hufnagel marks the second assistant the Patriots have lost this week as volunteer assistant Steve Szabo joined the Bills coaching staff as the team's defensive backs coach earlier in the week. Szabo spent last season working with New England's defensive linemen. There are also published reports that the Oakland Raiders have interest in current New England defensive backs coach Eric Mangini for the team's defensive coordinator position under new head coach Norv Turner. Mangini's contract with the Patriots expires later this month.