Saturday, May 21, 2022

Mike Lupica: Joe Sean’s success at Giants comes down to hiring the right coach

General managers matter in any sport. One of the great general managers that has ever been here, in any sport, was George Young, who came from Miami and changed the course of history with the Giants. Later, the guy who assisted him in Jersey for a long time, Ernie Accorsi, himself changed the course of Giants history by trading his draft pick for Eli Manning.

But the Giants won’t win two more Super Bowls with Eli if they don’t have the right coach. That coach was Tom Coughlin. Wellington Mara was the one who finally said yes to Coughlin, after John Mara and Accorsi actually hired him. You know what happened to Coughlin after that, even when he faced Bill Belichick in two Super Bowl games as big as any championship game the Giants have ever played.

And as great a footballer as George Young was, look at what the Giants did for him when the team was coached by someone other than Bill Parcells.

The Giants hired a new general manager in Joe Sean on Friday and it looks like he has an amazing resume. But you know what? Everyone has great resumes. The other eight guys that John Mara and Steve Tisch talked to also had cracker resumes. So did the other two finalists. They all sound amazing walking through the door and the owners always say the same thing about them.

The Jets were confident they had a winner when they hired their own Joe in Joe Douglas. He had a resume, you’re sure. He was with the Eagles when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. And for now, the Jets are where they are and may not yet have found the right coach in Robert Saleh.

General managers matter in football. They are still on the undercard. Coaches are the main event. Now it was up to Schoen to see if he could hire his own Purcells, his own Coughlin. If he can’t, then Sean’s mostly Buffalo Bills-related resume could end up turning into a paper airplane.

I have known Accorsi for a long time. He is one of the best and smartest people I have ever met in any sport. And he always said the same thing.

“It’s a coaching game.”

It will be an absolutely essential partnership between Sean and whoever he hires when he hires the next Giants coach, hopefully after that he won’t brag and sound as flippant as a schoolboy about how good a guy who has were interviewed. And it won’t always be an easy partnership, because that’s never been the case with George and Parcells. Nobody ever wins anything without players. Still coaching game in the end.

Is that a quarterback game too? You bet. We still don’t know if the Giants will ever have something similar in Daniel Jones. Just look at the guys who were still playing this weekend. Tom Brady. Aaron Rogers. Two of the best ever played this game. Patrick Mahomes, who was in the last two Super Bowls. Josh Allen. Matthew Stafford.

But even though Brady won without Belichick a year ago, do you really think Brady will win nine Super Bowls when he’s coached by everyone at Foxborough? Come on. Go back as far as you want. Terry Bradshaw needed Chuck Knoll. Both Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath needed Weeb Eubank. Bart Starr wanted Vince Lombardi. Joe Montana needed Bill Walsh.

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Eli needed Coughlin. Phil Simms needed Parcells. But when Simms got hurt one day, Parcells was a good enough coach – and never forget he’s one of the greatest of them all – to beat the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl with Jeff Hostetler as quarterback.

Joe Sean needs to hire this person right. If you don’t think coaches matter, see how the Giants are doing with coaches who aren’t named Coughlin. Ben McAdoo. Pat Shurmur. Joe Judge. Saleh may turn out to be a good player for the Jets, but for now, he’s just a guy at Metlife Stadium who has lost the same 13 games this season as Judge with the Giants. Saleh’s only hope is that the guy who hired him, Douglas, is going to post his resume here so we don’t have to keep hearing about what he did when he worked somewhere else.

Of course, the draft matters in professional football. Of course intelligence matters. And he trades. And the right free agents. But after you’ve drafted, made trades, and spent money on free agents, if you don’t put the right coach with the players, you’ll basically end up watching someone else’s coach hold the Lombardi trophy.

Coaching is not the only part. Doug Pederson, who is currently looking to get back in the game, beat Belichick in the Super Bowl when Brady fumbled the ball at the end of the Eagles vs. Patriots game when the whole world was confident that Brady would beat the Patriots and win a major tournament. game again.

But ask yourself another question about coaches: Do you think it was some fluke in Washington when Joe Gibbs won the Super Bowl with three different quarterbacks?

Here is part of what Sean had to say on Friday when he was named to replace Dave Gettleman:

“My immediate goal is to hire a head coach who I will work closely with to create a collaborative environment across our football operations,” Sean said. “We will be casting a wide net, it can be former head coaches, budding head coaches, but more importantly, it must be someone who has the ability to lead the organization and the ability to motivate and develop players. Our goal is to create a squad that is competitive, deep and, most importantly, wins football matches.”

Everything sounded exactly right. It always sounds right when the honeymoon is just getting started. Now the only two words that matter in sports are at moments like this:

Let’s see.

There’s no dispute about it: Sean is taking on one of the biggest jobs in Giants history for an organization, and that absolutely means top-down that has completely gone astray. It’s not just one thing. That’s pretty much all that’s happened in the last few years. He becomes as important to the Giants as Gene Michael was when he led the Yankees in the early 1990s when George Steinbrenner set a world record and became an owner suspended from the sport for the second time. He becomes as important as Dave Checketts when he took over the Knicks and changed the course of history at the Garden by hiring the right coach in Pat Riley.

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We know how much George Young meant to the Giants. George was a member of the Hall of Fame for Merit. Mostly because of what he did in Jersey.

Once he had the right coach.

One day he got to the Parcel.


By the way?

Over the past 50 years, the Jets and Giants have had 30 head coaches.

Three have won the Super Bowl.

I don’t think Kyrie Irving has high morals when it comes to vaccinations.

I don’t think his opinions on this – if you can follow them as he starts to wander around the gym, explaining himself over and over again – noble or exalted.

Or as deep as he seems to think.

I think he’s just being selfish and wildly misinformed.

And not much of a teammate, no matter what his teammates say in public.

I don’t care what talent he has for basketball or how fun he is to watch.

I think his opinions on this matter are as flippant as those of Aaron Rodgers or Novak Djokovic.

Knicks just don’t seem very good, do they?

Know something else?

When Julius Randle made a comment about Knicks fans and booed him not too long ago (and before he even apologized), you know what he might have been doing?

Punching his ticket out of town.

Yes, I believe the Lakers are so poorly put together and older than the Hollywood sign, Frank Vogel must be to blame.

If you haven’t read an Icelandic author named Ragnar Jonasson yet, you should.

Guy is a rock star.

In the craziness of last weekend when the Cowboys tried to play again against the 49ers, credit to Tony Romo for knowing the ball wouldn’t be snapped until it was touched by the referee.

I was ready to reboot the original Law & Order as soon as I found out that Sam Waterston would still be playing Jack McCoy.

I didn’t miss Antonio Brown as much as I thought.

Tom Brady.

Forty four.

And half.

Trying to play myself until the last week of January again.

I hope Nadal wins against the Aussie.

Finally today:

My dad, Ben Lupika, turns 98 this week.

I have already told you many times about him and the amazing American life he led and the things he did and the things he saw in his own American century.

Born when Calvin Coolidge was president, he was a B24 scorer in World War II at the age of 20.

He ran away to join the Army Air Force because he wanted to make this world a better and safer place.

Sometimes these days he wonders about our world.

But here is the feeling of surprise I have for him:

He still thinks that today will be the best day of his life.

* * *

Horsewoman by James Patterson and Mike Lupica debuts this week at number 4 on The New York Times Best Seller Hardcover Fiction List.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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