OAKLAND, Calif. — The Giants finally are going to fire Ben McAdoo, perhaps as soon as Monday.
That’s what ESPN reported definitively in the morning hours ahead of the Giants’ visit to the Raiders on Sunday — that McAdoo is definitely out — citing sources that called the mishandling of Eli Manning’s benching the final straw.
The report also called GM Jerry Reese’s job security “highly tenuous,” but let’s face it: if the Giants don’t fire Reese after this season on his ninth life to put a respectable product on the field — with a defining draft upcoming — they will remain just as lost.
The Giants would not comment on the report on McAdoo when reached by the Daily News, and co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch had yet to respond to emails early Sunday. But Mara’s Wednesday statement on McAdoo continues to speak volumes.
Mara was asked if he could guarantee McAdoo were safe for the final games of this season, and Mara dramatically changed his tone from ownership’s Nov. 13 statement which had stressed they wouldn’t make a decision until “the end of the year:”
“There’s no guarantees in life,” Mara said Wednesday of McAdoo’s job security. “(We) made (our) statement on that a couple of weeks ago, but there’s no guarantees in life.”
The Giants have not fired a coach mid-season since 1976 when Bill Arnsparger was let go seven games into his third season with a 7-28 (.200) record. McAdoo is 13-15 (.464) but has lost 10 of his last 13 games and has not only lost swaths of the team but now ownership, too.
LeRoy Andrews in 1930 was the only other Giants coach released in season. Jim Fassel announced his own firing with two games left in 2003 but coached the last two games.
Mara is to blame for the bungling of Manning’s benching above all, but the Giants co-owner was visibly shaken by even the mentioning of McAdoo’s name on Wednesday, given the Giants’ 2-9 record and McAdoo’s poor proposal to Manning that did not align with Mara’s plan for transition.
“I’m not gonna… We’re 2-9, ya know?” an exasperated Mara said when asked of McAdoo’s job performance. “We’re 2-9, OK? I’m embarrassed about that. Nobody’s doing a good job.”
Mara said he simply wanted to see the other quarterbacks in game action and thought the Giants would be informing Manning that in games going south, they would want to see the other guys plays.
But McAdoo called Manning into his office and told him he’d be playing Sunday’s first half against the Raiders and then would come out no matter what for Geno Smith. And McAdoo basically said Manning only would be starting to keep his start streak alive.
Manning slept on it and on Tuesday told McAdoo to shove his plan and just start Smith since the plan would “tarnish” Manning’s 210-game start streak and do a disservice to Smith if the Giants really wanted to play him at QB instead.
Ben McAdoo could be fired as soon as Monday.
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
To make matters worse, after Mara clearly depicted a miscommunication with the head coach and a mistake on McAdoo’s part, the coach came back to the podium on Friday and doubled down that he was “on the same page” with Mara and that: “I was honest, I was upfront with Eli and I don’t have any regrets with the way it was handled.”
It’s amazing that a 31-13 loss to the previously-winless San Francisco 49ers didn’t cause Mara and Tisch to fire McAdoo back on Nov. 13 — after anonymous players had ripped the coach and said the team was tuning him out — and that this is now the final straw.
But it goes to show even owners showing extreme patience couldn’t let McAdoo’s constant inability to deal with people continue to demean the Giant brand that has taken a major hit the past two years, due to Mara’s actions, too.
Mara dropped hints throughout Wednesday’s press conference.
Asked if McAdoo could have handled the Manning situation more delicately, he acknowledged: “I don’t think that’s necessarily his strength, but I suppose he could have.”
Mara also said of McAdoo’s proposal: “Well it was presented the way Ben thought it ought to be presented. And could we have done it differently? I guess you argue that we could’ve, yes.”
This entire season has been building to this, a remarkable turnaround from McAdoo’s 11-5 rookie record and playoff berth in 2016.
A major crescendo happened after the Giants’ loss in Santa Clara, after which Mara and Tisch released an unprecedented type of statement that began: “Issued in response to media inquiries about the team’s 1-8 record, the team’s performance of the past two weeks in losses to the Rams and 49ers, and regarding status of head coach Ben McAdoo:”
The statement that followed expressed some patience but also frustration and indicated the owners saw exactly what the fans were seeing and weren’t going to sit on their hands.
“Ben McAdoo is our head coach and has our support. We are in the midst of an extremely disappointing season,” they said then. “Our performance this year, particularly the past two weeks, is inexcusable and frustrating. While we appreciate that our fans are unhappy with what has occurred, nobody is more upset than we are.
“Our plan is to do what we have always done, which is to not offer a running commentary on the season. It is our responsibility to determine the reasons for our poor performance and at the end of the year, we will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety and make a determination on how we move forward,” it concluded.
Sunday’s report made clear they have made their decision, though, and now it’s just a question if McAdoo gets back to New Jersey before he gets canned.