Giants co-owner Steve Tish broke a two-year silence with a loud statement following Monday’s ouster of CEO Dave Gettleman.
“Say that John [Mara] and I am disappointed with the lack of success we have achieved on the pitch, ”Tisch said in a statement released by the team. “We are united in our quest to find a general manager who will give us the direction we need to achieve the results on the pitch that we all expect.”
In a press release, the Giants tried to portray Gettleman’s departure as a retirement, but it is essentially a four-year firing of a malpractice record with a record 19-46 and a win rate of .292.
In a statement, Mara said that Gettleman’s replacement will be “someone with exceptional leadership and communication skills, someone who will oversee all aspects of our football activities, including player staff, college scouting and coaching.”
But above all, the Giants must hire a CEO from outside the family — someone with fresh ideas and a modern approach to building a stable winner.
It was time for a modern version of Wellington Mara’s whisper to NFL Commissioner Pete Rosell in 1979, asking him to recommend George Young as a neutral party solution, since Wellington and his nephew Tim Mara did not accept each other’s candidates.
This is what it took over 40 years ago, and now it will require something radical.
This franchise isn’t just damaged. It’s broken.
The Giants’ record of 22-59 over the past five years is considered the worst in the league with the Jets. Coaching is not the reason. Poor decision making by owners has led them to be misplaced, misled, putting loyalty ahead of any willingness to grow.
On December 4, 2017, Mara and Tish memorably fired coach Ben McAdoo and two-time GM Super Bowl winner Jerry Reese after Eli Manning sat down on a bench that Mara approved.
The Giants then interviewed four general manager candidates, three of whom were family members at the time: longtime Giants employee Gettleman, assistant general manager Kevin Abrams, and vice president of player evaluations Mark Ross. Only former Eagles HR manager Louis Riddick was an outsider.
Gettleman, as you might expect, was hired. The owner wanted him to return to Manning. The CEO agreed, with dramatic consequences, burying the franchise in disgrace.
Years of bad draft, bad free agent contracts, and bad contracts have piled up to drown the giants in the NFC East basement. And the kicker came in January 2020, when the Giants fired coach Pat Schurmur but retained Gettleman out of loyalty, collapsing another head coach, Joe Judge, under the veil of the franchise’s dark recent past.
Now the only recourse is to solicit new ideas from the outside – even if the building has the likes of Tim McDonnell, Mara’s nephew and the players’ co-director, who are respected and promise to continue to have some sort of voice.
This is why dropping Abrams from the Gettlemann replacement, as one source did on Monday, was a necessary starting point for this search.
The Giants qualified for the first round of interview requests by fielding Joe Sean (Bills), according to the source, as well as reportedly Ryan Pole (Chiefs), Ryan Cowden (Titans) and Monty Ossenforth (Titans).
It’s amazing the giants were so prepared with their roster when the team said the owner learned of Gettleman’s intentions to retire “within the last few days,” isn’t it?
Mare and Tisha would also be wise to check out Will McClay (Cowboys), Ed Dodds (Colts) and Dave Ziegler (Patriots) and others.
They need to act quickly and efficiently because they are now competing with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, who fired general managers Ryan Pace and Rick Spielman, respectively.
The Giants also need to do this in a timely manner, because there is no time to waste in the offseason. Senior Bowl and Combine are coming. Their new front office is to conduct reconnaissance and complete an assessment. They need to refit their current coaching staff or hire a completely new one.
Gettleman, at least, will not be involved in the other recruitment process. He walks away with a legacy of ignorant and poor asset management and a lack of the ability to value his own team, let alone the players he added to it.
He used 2018’s second overall pick on the often injured running Sakuon Barkley, refusing to return calls about a possible deal cancellation. In the first round of 2019, he traded for DeAndre Baker’s poor-seeded draft.
He vengefully dispatched Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland in 2019, cutting off the Giants’ nose to spite her face. And he pledged to fix the offensive line only to leave the Giants with only one capable player in the five-spot starting line-up four years later in 2022.
His only remaining hope for the Giants’ future fortunes lies in the health of Daniel Jones and his ability to take the next step as the franchise quarterback. Gettleman chose Jones as the 6th overall in 2019 and was ridiculed for the achievement.
The jury remains on the squad, but Jones is suspended for a neck injury in his fourth year as a rookie. And it is doubtful that the Giants will even choose his version for the fifth year for 2023 this spring.
Even Gettleman aptly described his results as “disappointing” in Monday’s statement. But, as you’d expect, the Giants let loyalty take over on Sunday again.
They had family and friends of the outgoing GM on the sideline of MetLife stadium for pre-game photos, regardless of what that meant compared to their cold firing of Reese in the middle of a four-game season before the game in 2017.
Hopefully this was not a sign that the Giants continue to ignore any objective barometer in favor of their own.