A day after the New York Giants lost their 10th game of the season Ben McAdoo told reporters that “I’m going to coach this team as long as my key card works.” The second-year head coach found out that his key card would no longer grant him access to the team’s facility.
The Giants fired McAdoo on Monday, along with general manager Jerry Reese, less than 24 hours after the team lost to the Oakland Raiders, dropping them to a record of 2-10.
Team president John Mara and chairman Steve Tisch held a press conference to officially announce the firings.
“I met this morning with Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, and they’ve been relieved of their duties,” Mara said. “Steve and I spoke after yesterday’s game in Oakland and agreed to talk again today. This morning, we decided in the best interest of the franchise that we would relieve Jerry and Ben of their duties, effective immediately. This season has been incredibly disappointing for the organization and our fans, and while it would be ideal to make these kinds of decisions at the conclusion of the season, we simply felt now is the time to prepare for a fresh start.
“I have great respect for both Jerry and Ben. Jerry has worked tirelessly for this franchise for 23 years. He has always communicated in a straight forward and honest manner. Ben, as a first time head coach, continued up until this morning to do everything in his power to give us a chance to win. I know the public perception of both these men is not positive, but within these walls, you could not ask for two better professionals.”
Added Tisch, “This has been an extremely difficult and disappointing season. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers or quick fixes. And John and I were confronted with making the tough decisions of today.
“We know how frustrated our fans are. They expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves. Our focus now is on developing and improving our football team so that our fans can enjoy the winning team they expect and deserve.”
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will step in as the team’s interim head coach and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams will take over on an interim basis for Reese.
McAdoo originally joined former head coach Tom Coughlin’s staff in 2014, serving as the Giants offensive coordinator for two seasons. After Coughlin stepped down, McAdoo was promoted to head coach in 2016.
McAdoo’s first season was exceptional. Led by a revived defense, the team won every close game in a season in which most of the players stayed healthy. The only problem was their 25th ranked offense, which struggled to score playing with a poor offensive line, no running back and a lack of receivers other than Odell Beckham Jr.
Any optimism for improvement from the receiving unit this season were dashed in early October, when Beckham and Brandon Marshall were placed on season-ending injured reserve. That was just the start of a disastrous season that was marred by other injuries and poor play.
McAdoo topped off his tumultuous second season with his decision to bench two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. The move led co-owner John Mara to admit he wished the decision had been handled better.
McAdoo announced last Tuesday that Manning would not start the team’s final five games. The Giants originally offered Manning the chance to extend his starting streak before giving way to Geno Smith and Davis Webb in the second half of games, but the veteran declined.
His streak ended Sunday at 210 games, trailing only Brett Favre’s run of 297 in NFL history, as the Giants fell 24-17 to the Raiders. Manning said after the game that he is “not mad at anybody” and did not want McAdoo to be fired, but he clarified that he intends to play next season.
The 2-10 mark is the Giants’ worst 12-game record since they were 2-10 in 1976, and their worst since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.
A team that traces its NFL origins to 1925, the Giants have been an organization that for decades rarely shakes things up until after the season. Coaches get fired, but it’s at the end of a bad run and usually they get an extra season to fix things.
The in-season firing is a rare move for the Giants, who had not cut ties with a coach before the end of a season since Bill Arnsparger’s dismissal in 1976. In a Nov. 13 statement, Mara and Tisch said that they did not plan to make any moves until the conclusion of the year. But asked last Wednesday about McAdoo’s job security, Mara said, “There are no guarantees in life.”
The Giants general manager’s job has been an orderly succession. The late George Young turned the team around in the 1980s and was replaced by Ernie Accorsi, who eventually gave way to Reese, who joined the team as a scout and worked his way to director of player personnel before getting the GM position.
Reese’s failure to address the line in the offseason was a major gaffe that led to McAdoo’s demise.
The line lost center Weston Richburg and guard D.J. Fluker to season-ending injuries and saw guard-tackle Justin Pugh’s time limited by back issues..
Going into this season, no one could have expected that the Giants would be replacing a coach before it finished. They came in with Super Bowl expectations coming off an 11-6 record in McAdoo’s first season.
Those expectations ended quickly. The Giants lost their first five games, the last three after the defense failed to hold fourth-quarter leads.
With the losses, word started to emerge that McAdoo was losing the team. His one-game suspensions of popular cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins heightened the problem. According to several reports, some players also griped anonymously about having workouts on Saturdays, something the team also did last season.