Giants need to figure out how to better weather bad seasons


The Giants, on three straight occasions, have hired a coach and fired him within two seasons. So the Giants are either making horrendously bad decisions when hiring coaches, or they’re not giving the decisions they’ve made enough time to bear fruit.

It could be the latter, at least in part. The evidence in support of that possibility goes back more than 30 years.

After Bill Parcells won Super Bowl XXV and retired (until he didn’t), the job fell to Ray Handley. After an 8-8 season and a 6-10 season, that was that. One sub-.500 season, and Handley was gone.

Enter Dan Reeves, who immediately took the team back to the playoffs, and nearly to the No. 1 seed, with an 11-5 record in 1993. He had another winning season in 1994 at 9-7. Then came a pair of losing seasons, and out went Reeves.

Enter Jim Fassel. 10-5-1, 8-8, 7-9. He was on the hot seat in 2000, his fourth season. They went 12-4 and made it to the Super Bowl. Then came 7-9, 10-6, and 4-12. That 4-12 year ended it for Fassel.

Next, Tom Coughlin. He started 6-10 before bumping to 11-5. After an 8-8 season in 2006, Coughlin was on the hot seat in 2007. He won the Super Bowl. Next, 12-4, 8-8, 10-6. In 2011, he was back on the hot seat. And he won the Super Bowl again.

Then came 9-7,  7-9, and a pair of 6-10 seasons — and there went Coughlin.

Ben McAdoo went 11-5 in his first year. That wasn’t enough to save him after going 3-13 in his second. Then came Pat Shurmer, 5-11 and 4-12 and see you later. Then came Joe Judge. He went 6-10 and 4-13 and he was safe until he wasn’t and now he’s gone.

The problem could be that the scrutiny of the team is so intense and withering in New York that the organization feels as if it has no choice but to make coaching changes in order to placate a hair-trigger fan base. One bad season isn’t forgiven and forgotten. It becomes the ammunition for a full-throated effort to agitate for change.

And it has worked. Ownership caves far too quickly, in lieu of standing firm and explaining loudly and clearly that they intend to give the current coach a full and fair chance to thrive. Maybe Judge, with time, would have improved. Maybe Shurmur would have. Maybe McAdoo would have. (Stop laughing.)

In fairness to those who clamored for change, none of those hires were inspired. That’s currently the challenge for the Giants. They need to bring in a G.M. and a head coach who will spark enough awe among the fan base to buy more than a couple of years.

It won’t be easy. The Giants are currently caught in quicksand. The harder they try to get out, the deeper they sink. It’s a blessing and a curse to be in America’s No. 1 media market. Currently for the Giants (and also for the Jets), it’s far more curse than blessing.

The blessing would be finding a strong G.M. and a strong head coach who perform well and, more importantly, can inspire patience when the going gets tough. Which it inevitably will. Fans and media in New York should be more willing to tolerate a periodic down year without calling for everyone to get fired. The challenge for the Giants becomes hiring people who have the communication skills to earn the benefit of the doubt that their predecessors have been unable to secure.

14 responses to “Giants need to figure out how to better weather bad seasons

  1. You know what’s worse than firing a coach after only two years? Refusing to admit you made a bad hire and keeping the coach around for another year just for the sake of not firing a coach after two years

  2. The scrutiny the Patriots, Packers, Cowboys and Steelers get is far greater and their fan bases far larger yet they don’t throw out coaches just because of a bad season.
    It took years for Jerry to fire the clapper in spite of fan anger.

  3. For how many years could someone underachieve in the private sector in the hope that they would improve? No one would wait beyond two years. There was no sign of growth or learning from Joe Judge.

  4. As an Eagles fan, I’m totally fine with how they operate. I’m still a little sad they let Judge go, and, wow, Gettleman will be missed. Keep on keepin’ on…

  5. Honestly the REAL problem is there is no real incentive for ownership to deal with an unhappy fan base. We live in a capitalist society so the real incentive is money and being left alone to enjoy it as you please.

    The NFL is a cash cow. You could field a peewee team led by a neighborhood dad the VAST majority of your profits (TV renew) is guaranteed no matter what your record is.

    As too the Mara’s how MANY championships have they banked over the decades (Hint kids it will be a century in a few years and the initial investment was $500) they have owned the Giants? If they weren’t inscribed with the year they probably couldn’t tell which season they were for.

    The reality is the Mara’s have been at this so long they know championships come and go. Winning seasons come and go. Stars come and go.

    Do they want to win? Yes they do, their egos are too big not to.

    But what is more important to them is being able to go to dinner, a round of golf or not have to see their names in the press with out being criticized.

    If “change” gets them peace it doesn’t matter if it is good change or bad, they get their peace.

  6. Or it could be that once ownership took the lead in hiring the coach, they hired crap coaches. Does anyone really think McAdoo, Shurmur or Judge would succeed with more time. Of course the personnel is terrible too, so hard to be a great coach with a terrible team.

  7. Considering John Mara hired the last 3 head coaches, it’s promising that he specifically stated the new GM will now do it.

  8. New York is probably the worst place for a brand new head coach. Lots of extra scrutiny and pressure. Joe Judge was a terrible choice for that reason and it just got worse as he decided he could impersonate BB despite never winning any games. That came across like a joke to players and fans alike.

  9. This is a problem across the league. The Bears consistently fire a coach who had just brought them to the playoffs.

  10. 27% “winning percentage” over the past 5 years. The only Constant is the horrible decision making of John Mara.

  11. And yet you speculate on why the Jets’ Joe Douglas isn’t being held accountable despite him only having 2 offseasons to address the roster.

  12. Dave Gettleman is the problem. He ran the team like its the 90’s. that worked in the 2000’s, but hasn’t worked since. Now that he’s gone, the Giants will have a chance to function like a normal team with a new modern GM and HC.

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