Former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo broke his silence last week with his first public comments since being fired on Dec. 4. On Monday, he finally talked about the one topic on everyone’s mind: the benching of quarterback Eli Manning.
McAdoo benched Manning for last season’s Week 13 loss at the Oakland Raiders. The benching ended the second-longest consecutive start streak by a quarterback in NFL history at 210 regular season games (222 regular and postseason games). The Giants took the field at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with Geno Smith behind center.
McAdoo said he is “at peace with how I handled the decision” in an interview that appeared in Peter King’s NBCSports.com column that debuted Monday. He also insisted that benching Manning was the best thing for the team and appealed to Giants fans.
“If there’s one I want fans of the Giants to know, it’s that I made this call to try and make the Giants stronger for the future,” McAdoo said. “It probably got me fired, but I believe I did the right thing for the right reasons.”
McAdoo also contends that his purpose was not push Manning away. He wanted to start Manning to keep the streak going with the intention to bring in Smith and/or Davis Webb in crunch time. Manning refused.
“I was not ending Eli’s career with the Giants; I was making sure we knew what we had behind him with a high draft choice prior to a big quarterback draft,” McAdoo said. “I gave him the option to start the games to keep his streak alive. I understand why he said no and he was a true pro about it.
“My bedside manner hurt me that week. I’m working on that. I do think it was special how his former teammates and the fans rallied around him that week.”
McAdoo still doesn’t understand that the Giants were in position to have a high draft choice, in part, because of his ineptitude as a head coach. The Giants were 2-10 when McAdoo was fired. That record certainly doesn’t qualify for postseason consideration. In addition, thinking Geno Smith (who didn’t exactly inspire confidence with the New York Jets) could save the Giants’ season and his job is laughable.
Still, not all is bad in McAdoo’s world. He will continue to be paid by the Giants this season though he will more than likely not be on an NFL coaching staff. He is also preparing for his next gig.
“From the moment I got fired last December, I started compiling a book on myself,” he said. “I’ve asked lots of people—coaches, former coaches, smart football people—how I could improve. It’s my manifesto. It’s up to 209 pages now.”
McAdoo also talked about dealing with his very public firing while trying to put everything in its proper perspective.
“I was at a family wedding in Washington last month, and one of the guests said to me: ‘I feel so sorry for you’,” he said. “I see how it’s hard to find the right words. But don’t feel sorry for me. I’m blessed. I’m the son of a coal miner from southwestern Pennsylvania, and growing up, I’d thought I’d probably be a coal miner too. But I ascended in the football business to be the head coach of the New York Football Giants!”
Although McAdoo’s tenure with the Giants ended on a bad note, his coaching future is yet to be determined. He just turned 41 seven days ago and will probably emerge as a candidate due to his coordinator and head coaching experience next offseason. Regardless, his goal remains the same.
“I believe my best days are ahead of me,” McAdoo said. “My vision hasn’t changed one bit: I still see myself standing on stage on Super Bowl Sunday, handing the Lombardi Trophy to a proud owner of a team.”
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.