OAKLAND – John Mara and Steve Tisch, co-owners of the New York Football Titanics, the $ 3.3 billion disaster that keeps smashing into a bigger iceberg each week, couldn’t get the hell out of the Black Hole fast enough.
Mara and Tisch made a left turn after leaving the Giants locker room, walked up a tunnel, made another left and then a quick right down a hallway to a flight of stairs leading into the parking lot. They refused to even offer a “no comment,” to an ESPN report that Ben McAdoo could be fired as soon as Monday.
Thanks for coming. Drive home safely.
They did hold a 15-minute power summit with each other on the sideline in front of the Giants bench before the game in which they presumably decided whether they would fire McAdoo this week or wait another few weeks until after the season. Not offering even a statement increased the speculation a move could come very soon. GM Jerry Reese will likely be spared until the season ends.
The Giants are 2-10 after their 24-17 loss to the Raiders. They are headed to 2-14, which would be their worst record since 1-12-1 in 1966.
After sitting for the first time since the ninth game of his 2004 rookie season, Eli Manning cleared up some issues after the game.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP said he:
– Doesn’t want McAdoo to get fired.
Eli Manning has been embraced by fans and former teammates since his benching.
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
– Plans on playing in 2018, whether it’s with the Giants or another team.
– Wants to get through the last four games and then see what then happens before deciding if he can return to the Giants next season.
It’s only a matter of time for McAdoo after Mara said last week that “there’s no guarantees in life,” when asked if he would finish out the season. McAdoo could be gone this week in an attempt to pre-empt and defuse any protests by an angry crowd at Sunday’s home game against the Cowboys after McAdoo bungled the benching of Manning last week.
It was a strange sight to see Manning listening to the play calls with earplugs and pacing the sidelines with the offense on the field. His team has been taken away from him but he has been more emotional than bitter. The day officially became surreal when Geno Smith ran out with the first-team offense.
Smith celebrated by playing fairly well despite reminders he is still Geno Smith the turnover machine with two lost fumbles in Raiders territory, the second inside the 10.
Manning sat with Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan between series and stood expressionless when the offense was on the field. He didn’t intend to speak to the media after the game, but after seeing a crowd around his locker, he decided to hold court.
Even though Big Blue Nation is furious with McAdoo, it was not surprising Manning had his coach’s back amid the reports that his firing is imminent. “I don’t want that,” Manning said. “I don’t want anybody to get fired. When a coach gets fired, it’s usually because the team and the players and myself haven’t performed up to our duties. So I don’t want to see that. So I hope there’s no truth to it.”
Ben McAdoo is likely to be fired in the near future.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Smith earned another start next week, so Manning will continue to sit, unless a coaching change is made and interim coach Steve Spagnuolo or Sullivan switches back to him. If McAdoo remains, rookie Davis Webb will probably get into a game before Manning.
In any event, Manning is not going to retire after the season. Even though he’s made close to $ 200 million in his career and is healthy and has a wife and three young daughters, he does not want to call it quits.
I asked him if he plans to play, whether for the Giants or another team.
“I plan on playing next year, yes,” he said.
Have the events of the last week made him reassess whether he wants to finish his career with the Giants?
“No,” he said. “I’m going to finish out this season and see what happens.”
Manning’s benching has one unintended consequence: It has enhanced his standing with Giants fans. It’s disingenuous to now say Manning has been embraced for his entire 14-year career. In fact, he is loved for his two incredible Super Bowls runs, but he has not won a playoff game in any other season and taken a lot of criticism from fans over the years.
A Giants fan displays his “Fire Ben McAdoo” jersey.
(Gary Myers / New York Daily News)
But McAdoo’s clumsy execution of a plan Mara encouraged and endorsed to evaluate Smith and Webb has turned Manning into a sympathetic figure. He has received an incredible amount of support around the league and from ex-teammates.
It even sounded like his voice was about to crack talking about all those who have contacted him. “The fact the amount of people that reached out to me this week, the importance of being a teammate really kind of hit it home. Just through the fact that all the old teammates that have reached out to me, called, I appreciate their support,” he said. “I appreciate the things they say and it’s kind of helped me get through these tough days. But it reminded me I need to be a good teammate to everybody here and do my part.”
These were Manning’s first extensive comments since the benching. McAdoo approached Manning with the idea of his continuing to start, with Smith starting the second half against the Raiders. He wanted no part of it.
“I don’t blame anybody for the way it was handled. I think Coach McAdoo tried to do something right by me by saying he we’ll let you play but just knowing I was coming out of the game, I couldn’t play that way. I appreciated it,” Manning said. “I thought he was trying to do me a favor. But it’s just not the way I could go into a game, knowing I would be pulled out.”
No coach in the Giants’ 93-year history has lasted less than two full seasons. McAdoo is in his second season. Ray Handley was fired in 1992 after two seasons.
The Giants have not fired a coach mid-season since 1976 when Bill Arnsparger was let go seven games into his third year. The Giants were 0-7 and overall Arnsparger was 7-28. LeRoy Andrews, in 1930, was the only other coach the Giants have ever released during the season.
Jim Fassel pre-empted the Giants firing him in 2003 by announcing with two games remaining he would resign at the end of the season. The Giants were 4-10 and then lost their last two games.
McAdoo is not going to surrender like Fassel. “I’m going to coach this team as long as my card key works,” he said.
He may not know until he shows up for work Monday morning.