Giants coach Ben McAdoo was already on the hot seat when he decided to bench franchise quarterback Eli Manning before Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders
Less than a year after reaching the playoffs with an 11-5 record and only one week after benching franchise quarterback Eli Manning, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was fired on Monday along with general manager Jerry Reese amidst a disastrous 2-10 campaign.
McAdoo and Reese will be replaced on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams, respectively, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made an official announcement.
This marks the first time since 1976 that the Giants have ever fired a coach in the middle of the season, but it’s certainly not a surprise given the team’s record and the public scorn after Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts was ended in Sunday’s loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Even Giants co-owner John Mara acknowledged that the decision to bench Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, and evaluate backup quarterbacks Geno Smith and Davis Webb could have been handled better.
It was reported on Monday that the New York Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo (right) and general manager Jerry Reese in the midst of a 2-10 season. McAdoo recently benched longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning (left). General manager Jerry Reese was also fired
Fans hold up signs for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and head coach Ben McAdoo during the first half of an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Giants
Manning was given the option of starting the Giants’ remaining games and extending his streak – the most among active quarterbacks – but last Tuesday, a tearful Manning said it would be too difficult to start a game in which he knew he’d be removed. Also, he explained, such a scenario ‘tarnishes the streak.’
Mara agreed on Wednesday.
‘I think if he’s playing well in the first half, we’re winning the game, it looks like we’ve got a chance, the offense is clicking, I would argue then keep him in the game,’ Mara said. ‘But having him definitively come out at the end of the first half, I can understand why he would object to that.
ELI MANNING FACTS
- Drafted first overall in 2004
- Named to four Pro Bowls
- A two-time Super Bowl MVP
- Guided the Giants to upset wins over the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI
- Started every Giants game since November 21, 2004 when he replaced Kurt Warner in Week 10 of his rookie season
- Sits as the Giants’ all-time leader in in passing yards (50,625), touchdown passes (334) and interceptions (222)
- Father Archie Manning also played at Ole Miss and was a first-round pick. He would go on to be named to two Pro Bowls over a 14-year career with the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, and Minnesota Vikings
- Older brother Peyton Manning was also a first-round pick who went on guide the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos to Super Bowl victories
- Once hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’
‘It was presented the way Ben thought it ought to be presented,’ Mara continued. ‘And could we have done it differently? I guess you argue that we could’ve, yes.’
Mara was asked about Reese and McAdoo last week, but did not want to comment.
‘I’m not going to address their job status,’ he said. ‘We obviously have some decisions to make in the offseason.’
Obviously Mara did not wait until the off-season, and instead named defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo the team’s interim coach while the team searches for Reese and McAdoo’s replacements.
Fan reaction to Manning’s benching was immediate, with many calling for Reese and McAdoo to be fired – something that happened less than a week later. The Giants were already been eliminated from playoff contention and currently have 19 players on injured reserve.
Was Mara surprised by the outpouring of support for Manning, who many felt deserved better treatment?
‘Yes and no,’ Mara said Wednesday. ‘I expected there was going to be an emotional reaction from fans. I would say it’s been a little in excess of maybe what I had expected, but given what he has meant to our franchise and to so many people for so long, it’s understandable.’
McAdoo posted a 13-16 record since being promoted to head coach from offensive coordinator in 2016. His firing is the first mid-season head coaching move by the Giants since Bill Arnsparger was replaced seven games into the 1976 season by John McVay.
After serving as offensive coordinator for the Giants in 2014, McAdoo replaced longtime Giants coach Tom Coughlin in 2016.
Coughlin won a pair of Super Bowl titles with Manning and Reese, the latter of whom worked as the Giants’ director of player personnel before being named general manager in 2007.
Eli Manning (center in a blazer) alongside other members of the Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants including (from the left) left guard Kevin Boothe, right guard Chris Snee, defensive end Dave Tollefson, long snapper Zak DeOssie, co-owner Steve Tisch, and running back Brandon Jacobs. The win was the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl victory
Giants general manager Jerry Reese (left) was fired with the Giants at just 2-10 on the year
Team co-owner and CEO John Mara (left) and the New York Giants might be looking at a future without Eli Manning (right) for the first time since before they acquired him in 2004
Although he’s credited with two of the Giants’ four Super Bowl titles, Reese’s tenure with the team was marred by his decision to re-sign kicker Josh Brown in 2015 even though the team was aware that Brown had admitted to physically abusing his now-former wife.
Reese refused to speak about the decision after Brown was suspended for a game in August of 2016 despite the fact that Manning, Mara, and even McAdoo – who was not even with the Giants when Brown was re-signed – addressed the issue.
Mara would ultimately call the decision to re-sign Brown ‘misguided’ after the team released him in October of 2016.
‘He certainly admitted to us that he abused his wife in the past,’ Mara told WFAN in 2016. ‘What’s a little unclear is the extent of that.’
Brown was never charged with a crime, but according to the incident report compiled by the sheriff’s office in King County, Wash., Brown’s then-wife, Molly, accused him of around 20 incidents of physical abuse dating back to 2009.
Manning has started every Giants game since November 21, 2004 when he replaced Kurt Warner in Week 10 of his rookie season.
The former Ole Miss star has guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories and is the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards (50,625), touchdown passes (334) and interceptions (222).
Despite the 2-9 record, Manning played relatively well for the Giants in 2017. He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also posted a respectable quarterback rating of 84.1. Besides a host of injuries along the offensive line, Manning also lost top wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall for the season, which limited his options significantly.