It’s not in his nature to stick his chest out in self-congratulatory posturing. He won’t mention the nine Super Bowl teams he’s been a part of or throw the three Super Bowl rings in your face. At the same time, Gettleman will tell you in no uncertain terms he knows what he’s doing while recognizing his own shortcomings…and the need to adapt at this stage of his life and career.
“There are times where my bedside manner hasn’t been the best. People will tell you that millennials want honesty,” Gettleman said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “Sometimes I’ve been a little too abrupt and to the point. And I think it’s because I’ve never been a pussyfooter. I’ve never dallied around…maybe there has to be a softer, kinder Dave Gettleman. Yeah, I’m 68, but I’m not an old man falling down. I’d like to think that I can learn, that I’m agile can still learn.”
Gettleman is a known detractor of analytics. He selected Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick by using the good ol’ fashioned eye test, sparking criticism from analysts and fans alike. The biggest question he’s faced is what will be done with 38-year-old Eli Manning. He has heard questions about what has been referred to as the Kansas City model for quarterbacks. The Chiefs had the veteran Alex Smith on the roster when they drafted current league MVP Patrick Mahomes.
Gettleman is sick of the quarterback questions, offering a different take.
Although Saquon Barkley demonstrated otherworldly skills in his rookie season, Gettleman was chastised for using the 2018 NFL Draft’s second overall pick on a running back. In spite of all the criticism, Gettleman doesn’t give a damn.
“If that makes me a hater of analytics, because the analytic people say (you can insert anyone at running back), you can’t! If that’s the reasoning, that I’ve become a doddering old fool that hates analytics…that’s OK,” Gettleman said.
Before Gettleman was a general manager, he was a Buffalo Bills scout. During his time with the team, they went to three consecutive Super Bowls. He was part of the Denver Broncos front office when they won Super Bowl XXXII. He became the Giants director of pro personnel in 1999. Two years later, the team made an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV. The Giants won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI during his tenure.
As Carolina Panthers general manager, Gettleman assisted in developing a team that won 15 games in 2015 with an appearance in Super Bowl 50. He also ruffled feathers when he released Steve Smith, the franchise’s all-time receiving leader. Gettleman also rescinded Josh Norman’s franchise tag and didn’t budge an inch when it was time for Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen to negotiate new deals.
Gettleman’s M.O. left a bitter taste in the mouths of the aforementioned players, each of whom has nothing remotely close to favorable to say about him. His time with the Panthers ended after a disagreement with then-owner Jerry Richardson. During this past offseason, former Giants Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins also called out Gettleman for what they feel are underhanded tactics in the ways they left the team.
Nonetheless, Gettleman is keeping it moving. He was diagnosed with lymphoma last summer and immediately began treatment. The chemotherapy was successful and his cancer is in remission. There is nothing a television analyst, news reporter, or angry fan can say to offend a man who has come face-to-face with his own mortality.
Regardless of what the future holds, Gettleman is satisfied with his career in its entirety and his current job specifically.
“I’ve had a special career, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Gettleman said. “I want to say this right…no matter what happens moving forward, I’ve had a great career. No matter what happens. And to now be the general manager of the New York Football Giants. Are you kidding me? There are guys who would blow my head off to sit in my chair even for a week. Don’t think for one moment that I don’t realize how fortunate I am and how big a job this is.”