The New York Giants are having to promote Kafka in order to keep him these days.
Mike Kafka has been on a "promising coaches list" for quite some time.
Even as far back as his days as the Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach, analysts in the know have pegged Kafka as a future head coach-in-waiting—a man with the sort of trajectory, intelligence, and demeanor to likely one day run his own NFL franchise if given the time and experience to grow into his readiness.
The New York Giants are trying to push that off for as long as possible.
On Wednesday, NFL reporter Ian Rapoport had word about several staff changes on behalf of the Giants under head coach Brian Daboll. Kafka, who is the team's offensive coordinator, was reportedly getting interest from other teams and, in response, New York promoted Kafka and gave him a raise.
"This is a guy who was in demand. I know Seattle had really strong interest in Kafka. Interviewed him for a head coaching job, but it did sound like they had strong interest in making him their offensive coordinator. One way for the Giants to block that: to promote Kafka, give him some more money, give him a new title. That is what he’s got and if all goes well for the Giants, I would expect him to be a strong head coach candidate next coaching cycle," said Rapoport.
The new title for Kafka is that of associate head coach which means the only way he's going to leave Daboll's side from now on will either require a meltdown in New York or a team to hire him away to the ultimate role.
Kafka has already earned such interviews in the past. This year, the Tennessee Titans came calling with an interview before going with Brian Callahan, former OC for the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers requested interviews as well after Kafka had only served in a coordinator role for a single season.
After retiring from the NFL following the 2015 season, Kafka began his coaching career as an assistant back at his alma mater of Northwestern in 2016. From there, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid offered Kafka a chance to be his QB coach from 2017-2021 where he worked with both Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes.