Phil Simms remembers the first meeting Dan Reeves had with his players after he was named the Giants head coach before the 1993 season.
They had just finished a difficult two-year reign under Ray Handley where discipline had slacked after the Super Bowl years of Bill Parcells.
Reeves was ready to set a more rigid tone and wasted no time.
Sit up straight, put your feet on the floor and take your hats off, Reeves barked.
Simms whispered into the ear of his center Bart Oates: Were back.
The Giants went 11-5 that season and reached the playoff as a wild-card entry. Simms credits that to the respect and discipline Reeves demanded upon his arrival. Its the kind of respect former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur must instill as the new head coach of the Giants.
When the coach walks in the room theres got to be a little fear, Simms said during an appearance Sunday at Empire City Casino. And that line is never crossed.
You dont have to create fear by screaming. Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy instilled fear because of his persona.
His players didnt want to let him down, Simms said.
The Giants need to respect Shurmur.
Im a big believer you have to be under pressure to learn what you need to learn during practices and take it on the field, Simms said.
The Super Bowl XXI MVP signed autographs and teamed with former Giant Dhani Jones on a chalk-talk discussion before Super Bowl LII. Asked the chances of the Giants reaching Super Bowl LIII, Simms put it at about 20 percent.
Theres just so many good teams in the NFC and the NFC East, Simms said. The Eagles are in the Super Bowl, Washington was ravaged [by injuries] and the Dallas Cowboys defense was as good as any at the end of the year and is only going to get better. Thats enough to fight through.
Shurmurs ability to lead will be critical to the Giants chances.
Youve got to have great leadership, Simms said. Its everything in the NFL. Football more than anything is about coaches. Coaching can take good players and make them great and it can take really good players and make them superstars.
What Simms does like is the hiring of James Bettcher as defensive coordinator.
I thought hed be considered as a head-coaching candidate, Simms said. He runs a defense thats complicated but organized.
Simms likes the offense Shurmur brings with him from Minnesota.
Its universal, he said. There are 32 starting quarterbacks in the league and 32 can run his offense. I could have run that offense when I was 40 and when I was 20. Its awesome.
But the tone must be set during that first meeting during OTAs.