Though it’s a done deal with Tom Coughlin out and Ben McAdoo in, John Mara and the New York Giants continue to make one phenomenal mistake.
By Robby Sabo
It all started with one very un-Giant-like decision two years ago.
Following a disappointing 7-9 season in 2013 – their second straight campaign with no tournament action – John Mara and the powers that be of the New York Giants decided they wanted a change.
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Out was Kevin Gilbride, the only offensive mind two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning knew, and in was Ben McAdoo.
Gilbride resided over a Giants offense who finished 28th in the league in total offense in 2013. But it was the same offense who finished sixth the year prior.
No matter though. Giants ownership was so smitten with the Mike McCarthy disciple that they were willing to completely change the entire philosophy on the offensive side of the ball. The familiar “stretch the field” strategy Manning won two championships with would be replaced by a West Coast feel.
This was OK. There was nothing wrong with wanting to “modernize” the offense. It was even OK that Gilbride – while he took one for the team – was forced out.
What wasn’t OK was how ownership cut the legs out from underneath Tom Coughlin.
Gilbride was a Coughlin guy. And once ownership started to meddle in the hiring of assistants under a two-time Super Bowl winning coach, is when the New York Giants started to resemble the franchise fans saw for two long decades during the 1960s and 70s, not the organization spearheaded by Bill Parcells in the 1980s.
This is not the so-called “Giants way.” The Giants usually do things right. They hire a head coach to run the team and stay out of his way completely.
Many questions have lingered since the McAdoo hiring two seasons ago. How “in control” was Coughlin of the offense? Did he actually have final say over certain offensive philosophies? Was the veteran, eventual Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach just holding the bag until ownership felt McAdoo was ready to assume the big job?
Recent days have answered a few of these issues.
McAdoo, of course, was recently dubbed the 17th coach in the history of the New York Football Giants at the ripe old age of 38. New York acted swiftly in their decision to hire the man. At the first sign the Philadelphia Eagles were poking their nose in contacting the offensive mind, the Giants erased any doubt.
More alarming about the entire situation was how Coughlin and Jerry Reese handled themselves at the final goodbye press conference.
After speaking for the final time as boss of Big Blue, the famous disciplinarian walked right past Mara in a snub-like fashion:
Tom Coughlin walking RIGHT by Giants President and CEO John Mara after his exit presser pic.twitter.com/cSGVXByf3e
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) January 5, 2016
If there’s anybody who thinks Coughlin actually resigned on his own, please stop reading this article immediately. Your attention would be better served elsewhere.
Then there’s general manager Jerry Reese.
One could just envision it now: Reese campaigning to ownership that it’s not the talent that’s the issue, but the coaching. After all, he could point to all of those tough, last-minute losses earlier in the season and say “hey, my talent was in position to win these games until coaching got in the way.”
Ah, but there’s another side to that story.
What if the coaching actually put the talent in that position to win, even though it had no business being there? What if this Giants roster is so void of skill they should’ve been a 3-13 squad, and not 6-10?
His words at that final press conference spoke volumes about where this franchise currently resides and who they’re entrusting.
Instead of admitting failures and accepting the challenge to move forward in a furious way, he took the defensive route and indirectly pointed the finger elsewhere.
It didn’t go unnoticed:
Honestly stunned J Reese that out of touch. It’s simply not what you say, ESPECIALLY AS YOUR HALL OF FAME COACH IS RIGHT FREAKIN THERE!!!!
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 5, 2016
I’m even angrier bc Reese’s statement took me away from the fun I was havin w Urlacher’s hair today. Deep breath… ok I’m back on BU’s hair
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 5, 2016
There’s no reason to actually get into the lack of talent on the team. Just understanding the team is equipped with a borderline Hall of Fame quarterback and one of the best weapons in the league in Odell Beckham Jr., and still cannot get over .500 tells you everything you need to know.
What this situation comes down to is lack of accountability. Granted, the idea that Coughlin wasn’t ready to leave at such a seasoned age did make it difficult for ownership. That’s never an easy thing to deal with.
At the same time, by cutting Coughlin’s legs out from underneath him before he was truly gone – as they did with McAdoo – allows a serious chink in the armor to be exposed.
The franchise had a plan in place in replacing Tom before he was even replaced. This is not a good thing. It creates tension and an atmosphere of mistrust.
Solid franchises in the NFL abide by this one very strong sentiment: You win as a team, you lose a team. Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin both lost as a team. Neither guy won.
Both should’ve been replaced and John Mara should’ve taken this opportunity to clean house and start all over again.
Look no further than what Woody Johnson did in keeping Rex Ryan and firing Mike Tannenbaum. Instead of cleaning house and bringing in an entirely new regime, he brought in the joke that eventually turned into the John Idzik two-year run and things became even worse.
Now, Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles entered as a team, tied at the hip for the New York Jets in 2015.
Instead of doing what great organizations do, John Mara “halfwayed” the operation and things became extremely messy. This is a sign of terrible things to come.
This circus is no longer in Florham Park, NJ, it’s in East Rutherford.