Is Giants assistant the 'dream candidate' for Northwestern?
New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Is Giants assistant the 'dream candidate' for Northwestern?

College football insider Bruce Feldman of The Athletic named New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka as a potential replacement for recently-fired Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

"The dream candidate for the school probably would be Kafka, a 35-year-old former Wildcat QB who grew up in Chicago and has risen fast up the NFL ranks," Feldman wrote. "Northwestern has been terrible on offense for awhile; Kafka seems like he could fix that pretty quickly, but he’s not far from becoming an NFL head coach at this point." 

Kafka played under Fitzgerald as a quarterback from 2006-09 before the now-coordinator impressed members of the NFL community while serving as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs. Giants head coach Brian Daboll made Kafka his offensive play-caller ahead of their first season with the organization, and the two ultimately guided Big Blue to a playoff berth and a postseason win at the Minnesota Vikings. 

In the spring of 2022, the Giants' front office understandably declined the fifth-year option attached to the rookie contract for quarterback Daniel Jones. After just a single campaign of playing under Daboll and Kafka, Jones signed a four-year deal this past March that could be worth up to $160M to stay with the club.

As Giants beat writer Paul Schwartz of the New York Post mentioned in February, the Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers interviewed Kafka regarding head-coach openings this past winter. Kafka earned second interviews with the Cardinals and Texans before those clubs went in other directions. 

"He interviewed for a bunch of jobs last winter, so why jump into the craziness of the college game at a place that just canned someone he learned under?" Feldman added about Kafka. 

Andy Staples of On3 may have provided an answer to that question when he noted Tuesday that "coaches will covet the Northwestern job" and that "there likely won’t be a shortage of interested coaches," in part because of the Big Ten's multi-billion dollar media rights distribution agreements. 

Staples added that Northwestern's search to find Fitzgerald's replacement "probably won’t begin in earnest until the fall," so the Giants theoretically should keep Kafka through at least the upcoming NFL season. 

Fitzgerald went 110-101 with five bowl wins across 17 seasons as Northwestern head coach until his firing, which was confirmed on Monday amid disturbing allegations of hazing within the program.

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