OAKLAND — The Giants need to fire Ben McAdoo on Monday and get it over with. There is no other way.
Just as McAdoo couldn’t turn back from botching the benching of Eli Manning, Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch can’t continue this charade of waiting for New Year’s Day after Sunday morning’s leak that McAdoo is finished, clearly timed to sabotage what likely was McAdoo’s final game as head coach, a 24-17 loss to the Raiders.
Mara and Tisch both dodged accountability on Sunday and wouldn’t answer questions, but they talked at length on the sideline before McAdoo’s fifth loss in six games for their 2-10 team. And everyone knows what’s coming.
It’s simply time to stop talking and act. Let the Giants’ plane land in New Jersey overnight, call McAdoo into your office on Monday morning, and do it.
Appropriately, McAdoo’s likely final press conference as Giants head coach took place in the Oakland Athletics’ weight room at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum late Sunday afternoon. The coach from Western, Pa., who preaches physical and “heavy-handed” football quite literally was going out as he came in: salt-of-the-earth, no frills, with barbells and machines and a musty smell and a mirror behind McAdoo that reflected the end of the road.
“I’m going to coach this team as long as my key card works,” McAdoo said at the podium, digging in at the end of the line. “I’m going to coach this team until I’m told I’m not coaching this team. I’m going to show up tomorrow (Monday) morning ready to go to work … I’m not asking (ownership) and I haven’t heard a thing. So I’m going to keep my head down and keep doing my job until I hear otherwise.”
Ben McAdoo is likely to be fired in the near future.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
McAdoo did admit that he was aware before the Giants played of the ESPN report that McAdoo was definitely out as head coach and could be fired as soon as Monday. “A little birdie told me that something was out there, but again that’s not something I’m worried about it,” McAdoo said.
But McAdoo fired perhaps his final shot at those who take pleasure in his misfortune when asked if the news had distracted his preparation for the game. “Maybe for weak-minded individuals it may be a distraction, but I had a job to do,” McAdoo said.
He probably won’t have that job on Monday, though. He shouldn’t anyway. McAdoo’s potential final game as Giants head coach, appropriately, was a loss. Geno Smith played better than most expected with a benched Eli Manning awkwardly looking on from the sideline, with his white glove on his left hand as Manning clearly was staying ready to go in at a moment’s notice. And the Giants (2-10) played with effort most of the day.
Still, the Giants’ game didn’t really matter. The only game that mattered was the San Francisco 49ers’ 15-14 win over the Chicago Bears in Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start to improve to 2-10, which helped the Giants in the race of futility for a higher draft pick come April.
The Giants’ impending top-five pick, meanwhile, also is one of several reasons why GM Jerry Reese needs to be canned along with McAdoo. The ESPN report cited sources that called McAdoo’s mishandling of Manning’s benching as the final straw but said Reese’s job security is only “highly tenuous.” And if the Giants don’t fire Reese with a defining draft upcoming, the franchise will remain just as lost.
John Mara (pictured above) and Steve Tisch avoided answering questions about Ben McAdoo’s uncertain future.
Reese sneaked around the stadium on Sunday and no-commented as he always does, and as McAdoo takes the fall on Monday just remember that Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and likely McAdoo all have lost their jobs while the guy whose team is missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years skates by with a free pass.
The Giants’ pre- and postgame, though, truly were much more interesting and more important than the football itself.
Mara and Tisch had their chat on the sidelines before the game and hustled out after the team’s loss, avoiding an easy opportunity to simply step up to a microphone and say the report isn’t true and they aren’t firing Ben. They didn’t do that. Tisch, asked if he had a minute to talk before the game, responded: “I’ll have a minute after the game.” Mara would not comment. And the strange and unusual nature of the situation was highlighted by a group of Giants fans chanting “Eli Manning! That’s our quarterback!” as Manning warmed up as the backup to Smith.
Another Giants fan held up a “Fire McAdoo” custom jersey while another held a sign that read: “Hey, Ben! Play No. 10!”
Mara’s Wednesday statement on McAdoo, therefore, continues to speak volumes. He was asked if he could guarantee McAdoo were safe the rest of the 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:”
A Giants fan displays his “Fire Ben McAdoo” jersey.
(Gary Myers / New York Daily News)
“There’s no guarantees in life,” Mara said 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 resignation 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, and Reese is culpable for the roster. But the Giants co-owner was visibly shaken by even the mentioning of McAdoo’s name on Wednesday, given the Giants’ 2-9 record (now 2-10) and McAdoo’s poor proposal to Manning that did not align with Mara’s plan for transition. “We’re 2-9, OK? I’m embarrassed about that. Nobody’s doing a good job,” an exasperated Mara said.
During Sunday’s telecast, Fox play-by-play man Kenny Albert said Raiders coach Jack del Rio had said of the Manning benching: “Eli Manning is the better quarterback. We were glad the Giants chose to do it.” No matter that Smith played pretty well on Sunday. It’s not about Geno; it’s about the franchise.
Everyone in the NFL is piling on the Giants for their poor management and treatment of Manning. They are a laughingstock.
And so when McAdoo walked toward the tunnel at the end of warmups and said he couldn’t talk because “I’ve got a game to coach,” he likely was talking about the game that will be his last.