I desperately wanted the Giants to get rid of Kevin Gilbride for a long time because I couldn’t stand to watch another third-and-7 draw to the third-string running back for a two-yard gain. I couldn’t take an unnecessary amount of drives created by passing stall in the red zone thanks to an awful running game. So I welcomed the hiring of Ben McAdoo as the Giants’ new offensive coordinator before the 2014 season because I thought change was needed even if Gilbride has been the offensive coordinator for Super Bowl XLII and XLVI.
Eli Manning quickly became a more accurate passer with McAdoo as the offensive coordinator, though the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. could be the reason for that and McAdoo’s entire tenure with the Giants might be one big smoke-and-mirrors act built solely on having the best wide receiver in football on his team. (Let’s hope this isn’t the case.) McAdoo wasn’t exactly the coordinator I thought he would be after being the quarterbacks coach for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, and, if anything, he was more Gilbride than not.
I have spent the last two seasons wondering why third downs were going through Preston Parker and why Andre Williams was asked to get a critical yard or why a four-man running back rotation became a thing. I made jokes about McAdoo’s facial hair and questioned whether or not he used a four-restaurant chain rotation to eat at every night between T.G.I Friday’s, Applebee’s, Chili’s and Ruby Tuesdays similar to the running back rotation he created with Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa.
The minute Tom Coughlin was fired and it became more and more apparent that McAdoo would be the next Giants head coach, which seemed like the exact plan ownership had instilled when they hired him two years ago, I got sick. The Giants are going to hand over the franchise to a 38-year-old with zero head coaching experience and a goatee that instantly takes away some of his credibility? How did we get here? (Well, I actually I know how we got here and it started in the final minute in Dallas in Week 1.)
The more I thought about it, I actually talked myself into Ben McAdoo being the next head coach of the New York Football Giants. It’s half because I know the Giants are going to make him the next head coach and half because there isn’t a better option out there. There are three reasons ownership is going to pick McAdoo and the rest of these interviews are all for show.
1. Eli Manning
In the two seasons with Ben McAdoo as his offensive coordinator, Eli Manning has thrown for 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, completing 62.8 percent of his passes for the best two seasons of his career. Unfortunately, the two seasons were all for nothing thanks to the Giants’ defense.
Eli spent the first 10 seasons of his career under the same offense before Kevin Gilbride “resigned” (the same way Tom Coughlin resigned) and the Giants brought in the Packers’ quarterback coach, McAdoo. Eli struggled through the beginning of the 2014 season under the new offense before the debut of Odell Beckham Jr. mainly because he was the only player on the offense who seemed to fully grasp the complexities of the new system and the intricate hand signals. Last week, Eli told Mike Francesa on WFAN that he could see McAdoo being the next head coach and has enjoyed playing in his system. Now I don’t expect Eli to say on the biggest sports radio program in the country that he doesn’t like McAdoo if he really doesn’t, but I also don’t think he would go out of his way to say the things he did say if he didn’t actually like him. And if Eli didn’t actually like McAdoo, he would have already been fired because the franchise quarterback gets to pick who his coordinator is.
After spending a decade in basically the same offense followed by two years learning a new one, which produced the best two years of his career, there’s no way the front office wants Eli to learn yet another offense at 35 years old having the success he had with McAdoo. If McAdoo is the head coach then he’s like also the offensive coordinator calling the playoffs. If he’s not the coach or Steve Spagnuolo isn’t the coach, then the new coach is going to have the opportunity to pick his own staff and it’s more than likely that McAdoo won’t be part of it. No new head coach is going to want ownership’s Golden Boy on his staff always lurking in the background as a replacement at any time.
2. The Giants’ Family Tree
The Giants aren’t going to hire a head coach that doesn’t have some sort of connection to the Giants. Once upon a time, Tom Coughlin was the Giants’ wide receivers coach (1988-90) and also happened to be the head coach of John Mara’s alma mater (Boston College). Jim Fassel had been the Giants’ quarterbacks’ coach and offensive coordinator (1991-92). Ray Handley had been part of the Giants’ staff, including as offensive coordinator (1984-90). Bill Parcells had been the Giants’ defensive coordinator (1979 and 1981-82). The only exception since the Parcells era, which began in 1983, was Dan Reeves, who was the Giants’ third choice and only hired after the coach they wanted decided to stay with his college team. That coach was Tom Coughlin.
McAdoo has now been part of the Giants’ family for two seasons and that gives him a leg up on any outsiders like Adam Gase (no, thank you), Lovie Smith (please, no) or Mike Smith (NOOOOOOOOOO!). The only person who matches him here is Steve Spagnuolo, but McAdoo is younger (38) than Spagnuolo (56) and Spagnuolo’s stint as Rams head coach and the Giants’ defensive performance this season has to hurt him head-to-head against McAdoo even with McAdoo having no head coaching experience.
The Giants were 6-10 this season, but could have been 12-4 if they had finished off the Cowboys, Falcons, Saints, Patriots, Jets and Eagles, and even 9-7 if they finish off half of those teams, and that would have given them a postseason berth and Tom Coughlin would still be the head coach. The Giants aren’t as bad as their record suggests (sorry, Bill Parcells) and aren’t in need of a complete overhaul.
The Giants got their out to get rid of Coughlin, but it makes no sense to retain Jerry Reese if they’re then going to risk losing McAdoo and Spagnuolo by going outside the organization for a new head coach. The Giants were in playoff contention until Week 16 and should have been a playoff team. They will return the core of their offense in 2016, will get back injured players on defense and have a lot of salary cap space to fix some holes through free agency. The Giants are going to be a contender again in 2016 and there’s no way the front office wants to push the team in a completely new direction.
Tom Coughlin should still be the Giants’ head coach. Unfortunately, he’s not. But just because ownership wanted him out doesn’t mean they want what to destroy what they built.