It sounds like Mike Francesa and the Giants are on the road to reconciliation.
The WFAN legend dropped an interesting nugget on his latest BetRivers podcast: He had “a long discussion” with Giants vice president of player evaluation and fellow racehorse owner Chris Mara at the Belmont Stakes. Francesa’s audience with co-owner John Mara’s brother is notable given the falling-out between the organization and the big guy during former general manager Dave Gettleman’s failed tenure. Francesa has said the ex-GM “basically banned” him from the team.
Francesa reports Giants fans have “reason for optimism” with new GM Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll running the show. But he believes it should be “a very guarded optimism.” And Francesa said the key is to stop acting like a bunch of “losers.”
“They (Giants ownership) are thrilled with the new hierarchy. They are thrilled with the new general manager,” Francesa said. “They know now they made a big mistake with Gettleman, going as far with him as they did. I don’t think they want to get into it, but I think they would admit that.”
Francesa said he likes what Daboll and Schoen did in the draft, but he still has plenty of concerns. He is curious if Daboll can cure what has become a rotten culture.
“I think the Giants have lost their way to such a point that this general manager and this head coach have to instill a new direction and a new pride in this team,” he said.
“Whether it’s with new players or the existing guys who are here. The Giants have become losers, and they act like losers. And under Gettleman, they acted like losers. Under the coaches (Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge) they brought in, they acted like losers. The Giants have to go back to acting like Giants. What they learned under (Bill) Parcells and continued under (Tom) Coughlin. That has to be found again. Let’s see if these guys can do that.”
A refresher on the Francesa-Giants feud:
Francesa went nuclear on Gettleman after he took quarterback Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, arguing Gettleman screwed Eli Manning. Francesa called the Giants “losers” and Gettleman a “liar”while contending should have either moved on from Manning or used the pick to get him help for one last run. Francesa then made controversial comments about late-round pick Corey Ballentine being the victim of a shooting during the draft weekend, drawing further ire from the Giants.
The situation boiled over when Francesa skipped out on his annual pilgrimage to Giants training camp because Gettleman refused to make himself available for an interview, drawing fire from team PR czar Pat Hanlon. The Giants said at the time they were willing to give Francesa access to everyone else in the organization. But he declined to show and accused Gettleman of “hiding.”
Francesa retired from his drivetime show near the end of the 2019 season. He was off WFAN and its digital platforms for good by July 2020. But he continued to tee off on Gettleman and the Giants on Twitter and in various media appearances until Gettleman “retired” at the end of the 2021 season. And has now dragged him twice more with his new podcast venture.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]