The notion of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese getting fired in the middle of the season was absurd at the start of training camp.
The New York Giants were coming off an 11-5 campaign in 2016 that ended with the team’s first playoff berth since winning Super Bowl XLVI. Some pundits believed the Giants were in a position to win the NFC East and make a serious run come January,
McAdoo wasn’t your prototypical NFL head coach. He didn’t look the part but he got results. The Giants were 11-5 in his first season. Reese, who had been with the team since 1994, won two Super Bowls during his tenure as general manager.
McAdoo and Reese were fired Monday. They managed to leave the Giants a disheveled shell of itself since the end of last season.
McAdoo looked in over his head as the Giants were decimated by injury and the struggles of quarterback Eli Manning. He was anonymously ripped by players after the team’s loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers.
The Giants are 2-10 and officially eliminated from postseason contention. It is one thing to lose. It’s another thing to lose in embarrassing ways (i.e. the Los Angeles Rams putting up 51 points, allowing the 49ers to run up and down catching anything thrown at them or looking offensively impotent against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving night).
It’s another thing to lose in embarrassing ways and bring negative attention to the team (i.e. the Odell Beckham Jr. dog urination touchdown celebration in Philadelphia). Ownership was reportedly “very unhappy” and put pressure on McAdoo despite his first season of success.
That touchdown celebration was only the beginning. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended for the Week 6 win against the Denver Broncos for a violation of team rules. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was suspended for not returning to the team on time after the bye week. Eli Apple was also benched during this season.
McAdoo received a vote of confidence from ownership as recent as November 13. They said at that time they would evaluate the season as a whole after the season ends. All faith in McAdoo (and Reese by extension) evaporated after the way they handled the benching of Manning.
We may never find out whose brilliant idea it was to have Manning start in the Giants’ remaining games only to have Geno Smith and Davis Webb come in to replace him. Manning rejected the idea, even though we’ll also never found out how this was presented to him. It’s hard to believe that they didn’t think benching the franchise’s all-time leading everything at quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion for Smith wouldn’t come with backlash.
That backlash was swift and furious. Fans and former players took to social media to vent their frustrations about Manning’s benching and the manner in which it played out. It got so bad co-owner John Mara was forced to concede that the situation should have been handled more diplomatically.
McAdoo also wasn’t getting it done on the field either. In his first two seasons with the Giants as offensive coordinator, he worked with Manning after a couple of down years. The Giants offense averaged more than 25 points during McAdoo’s offensive coordinator tenure. Last season, McAdoo’s first as head coach, the Giants scored 19.4 points per game. This season, without Beckham, the Giants are only putting up 15.6 points per game.
Offense is supposed to McAdoo’s forte but the Giants failed to score 30 points in any of his 28 games as head coach.
McAdoo is the first Giants head coach to be fired in the middle of a season since Bill Arnsparger in 1976. Arnsparger was fired after starting the season 0-7, culminating with a 27-0 loss to the then-Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the second regular season game ever played at Giants stadium.
McAdoo’s record as head coach is 13-15 regular season, 0-1 postseason. In the end, the team’s ills came back to bite him in the posterior. The notion of this was absurd just four months ago. It’s amazing how fast a season can spiral out of control, especially after expectations were so high after last season’s success.