Giants President & CEO John Mara is doing what he must, going outside his comfort zone in correctly casting a wide net in the GM searchGETTY IMAGES
Giants President & CEO John Mara and Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch have to "embark on their finest hour" as team co-owners, as the next few weeks "must yield a general manager with vision and a coach to implement that foresight," according to Mike Vaccaro of the N.Y. POST. The coming months "must produce a bountiful draft and an offseason acquisition strategy that builds a competent and strong foundation." It is clear that the Giants’ late-season transformation from a "standard lousy football team to a league-wide embarrassment played at least a part in the owners’ thinking" to fire coach Joe Judge, though he was a "young coach who had actually shown promise as a rookie." For a team that "hates to be looked at as a revolving door of instability," firing a third straight coach (after Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur) after two years on the job was a "dyspeptic option." But Judge gave Mara and Tisch "little choice in the matter," and his "11-minute filibuster after the Giants got their doors blown off in Week 17 in Chicago only made that more clear" (N.Y. POST, 1/12). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes Mara is at the "most important crossroads of his stewardship." He is about to make a decision that will either "set the team on a better course in the years ahead or continue the maelstrom the past decade has become." Mara hoped that former GM Dave Gettleman would "right the ship after the ill-fated tenure" of McAdoo. Mara is "doing what he must, going outside his comfort zone in correctly casting a wide net for his next football chief executive" (NEWSDAY, 1/12).
FRANCHISE LOSING ITS WAY: In N.Y., Pat Leonard writes the firing of Judge was "inevitable," because the Giants are a "rudderless franchise that doesn’t know up from down." It is "hard to believe" Mara and Tisch "really intend to hire an outside GM and give him autonomy to run a fully aligned franchise, though, because they’ll never take their thumbs off of the scale." They "don’t understand what it takes to build a winner." The "cloak-and-dagger manner in which the Giants dragged out Judge’s firing was shady." That the team "honored" Gettleman (who had a 19-46 record) with on-field photos and "protected him with a sneaky 'retirement' press release -- only to then blow Judge out the door -- is indicative of who the Giants are." They are an "arrogant franchise with friends in high places that always manages to convince fans to trust the team shield over their own eyes" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/12). However, also in N.Y., Steve Serby writes under the header, "Joe Judge gave the Giants no choice." If Mara and Tisch had saddled their next GM with Judge, they would have "indeed exposed the Giants as a clown show organization." They sure "scared holy hell out of their disgusted, disillusioned, disenchanted fan base" by not firing Judge on Black Monday, but "Black Tuesday came better late than never." Giants fans now will "keep their fingers crossed that Mara and Tisch can do a better job this time" (N.Y. POST, 1/12). ESPN’s Marcus Spears: “We focus on these coaches and we focus on these general managers. But John Mara has got to be in the line, too. He's got to be in the line of fire with the decision-making that he's had” (“First Take,” ESPN, 1/12).
JUDGE DID HIMSELF NO FAVORS: SI.com's Conor Orr wrote under the header, "Joe Judge Quickly Burned Through His Benefit of the Doubt." For a coach that Giants ownership "wanted so badly to succeed," Judge's performances in public over the final few weeks of the season "only had to be adequate for him to make it to a third year." That "obviously did not happen," and behind the scenes, there was "absolutely unhappiness" (SI.com, 1/11). ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan wrote if the Giants had "simply lost respectably late this season," Judge "probably would still have a job." But they "not only couldn't score," they could "barely even drop back to pass like a functioning NFL team." Judge also "incited the masses by rambling for 11 minutes" following the 29-3 loss to the Bears in Week 17 and made the organization a "punchline when he ran back-to-back quarterback sneaks this past Sunday inside his own 5-yard line in order to make more room to punt in the second quarter" (ESPN.com, 1/11). WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti noted Judge "inherited a lot of the mistakes from Dave Gettleman and couldn't survive a GM change, because there's nobody out there who’s going to come and take this job to take a lame duck coach and then set himself back an entire year when he's trying to remake the organization” (“Boomer and Gio,” WFAN, 1/12).