Ben McAdoo’s tenure as New York Giants head coach was almost certainly reaching an inevitable end. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Giants won’t wait until the end of the regular season to make a decision on McAdoo’s job status.
Schefter reports that the team could fire McAdoo within the 24 hours following Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. That could make for a very tense, awkward flight for the Giants players and coaches back from Oakland. Will McAdoo be left on the tarmac, as USC did to Lane Kiffin four years ago? Perhaps he’ll be forced to make his own travel arrangements back home, as Gerard Gallant was when the Florida Panthers fired him as their head coach.
If the Giants have already decided to fire McAdoo, the natural question to ask is why the team bothered letting him fly out to Oakland with the team. Perhaps that would’ve been too disruptive with coaches and players already in preparations and game planning for their Week 13 matchup. But McAdoo’s fate was likely confirmed with his decision to bench quarterback Eli Manning and replace him with Geno Smith (and probably give Davis Webb a look during the season’s final weeks).
Sources: Some members of the #Giants ownership did not agree with how Eli Manning was handled this week and there was intense and serious internal debate. They are trying to figure out the fallout, leading to John Mara not guaranteeing Ben McAdoo would finish the season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 3, 2017
Embarrassing the quarterback who led the team to two Super Bowl victories and had compiled a streak of 210 consecutive games was an unnecessary public relations debacle punctuating what’s been a miserable season for the Giants. Team owner John Mara publicly acknowledged that the situation was handled badly, trying to take responsibility and admitting that he was surprised Manning agreed to the benching.
But perhaps Mara was also trying to avoid pinning the decision on McAdoo. One of the knocks against the coach has been his poor communication with players and this situation only made those shortcomings more apparent.
The Giants are slogging through a 2-9 season which places them second-to-last in the NFC (and third-worst in the league). For a team that was viewed by many as a potential playoff team and NFC East winner, the team’s performance is obviously a huge disappointment. The Eagles have arguably exceeded expectations in compiling the best record in the NFL at 10-1, led by Carson Wentz’s MVP-caliber play at quarterback. But with both the Cowboys and Redskins sliding from last season’s success, there was an opening for the Giants in the NFC East and the team wasn’t even close to capitalizing.
Another reason the Giants may be ready to dismiss McAdoo now is that three of the team’s remaining four games will be played at home, and ownership may have wanted to spare the coach and players from incessant booing, signs and demonstrations . If McAdoo is already fired, that’s at least one less thing for fans to complain about in front of cameras.
As the New York Daily News‘ Gary Myers points out, McAdoo would be the first Giants coach to not finish two full seasons if he is dismissed. Ray Handley was fired after coaching the 1991 and 1992 seasons. The question now will become whether or not general manager Jerry Reese eventually follows McAdoo out the door.