The dog days of July, the time between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp when players go on vacation and there (hopefully) isn't much to talk about in the football world. It's a time of lists and rankings, retrospectives and prognostications to fill the void left by the absence of any actual football to talk about.
In a break from the mind-numbing coverage of Jason Pierre-Paul, let's take a look at one of those lists: MMQB's 'Top 100 Most Influential People For 2015.'
In their summer list, the Monday Morning Quarterback Crew is trying to determine which one-hundred people will have the biggest impact on football, on the field, in 2015, or as they explain it:
When the staff of The MMQB bounced around ideas for a ranking of the most influential people in pro football, we spent a good chunk of time arguing not just about who should be on such a list, but about what it means to be "influential" in the NFL. Wouldn't Roger Goodell, as commissioner, always top such a ranking? That would be dull. To differentiate our list, we focused on the 2015 season, weighting qualification heavily toward what happens on the field. So players and coaches predominate on The MMQB 100. And each year this list will change, maybe dramatically; people who wouldn't normally be thought of as influential make the cut in 2015 because of their significance to the upcoming season.
The list is ongoing, and won't be finished until July 17th, but so far they pegged three members of the New York Giants as being among the top 100 most influential people in pro football for 2015.
No. 81: Eli Manning
In the context of relatively short NFL careers, every season is critical, but 2015 may be an especially important one for Eli Manning. It will be the quarterback's second season in Ben McAdoo's offense; the sixth (and final) year of the contract extension he signed back in 2009; and he's trying to ensure it's not the fourth straight year he misses the playoffs. The two-time Super Bowl champion has been the face of the franchise since he arrived in 2004, but the team has not rushed to give him an extension before his contract expires (like the Steelers did in giving Ben Roethlisberger a $99 million extension earlier this offseason). With a strong 2015, the Giants would gladly pay a hefty price tag for their quarterback, but even Manning would admit that despite two rings and 167 straight regular-season starts, he has something to prove.
—Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas)
No. 77: Tom Coughlin
The 68-year-old Giants coach signed a one-year contract extension in March, running through 2016. But while the organization's policy has been not to send their head coach into a season as a lame duck, it's no secret that Tom Coughlin's future depends on success in 2015. "He knows that his legacy is kind of on the line here," co-owner John Mara said in December, after the Giants finished 6-10, their second straight losing season. Coughlin has won two Super Bowls over the past eight seasons, but his teams have also missed the playoffs five of the past six years, an awkward paradox for both him and the team. The NFL's oldest head coach has long been reluctant to put a timetable on his career, but what is for certain is that he wants to retire on his own terms. His ability to do that depends on this season.
—Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas)
No. 31: Odell Beckham Jr.
Throughout the offseason, Beckham has maintained the stance — part bulletin board material, part truth — that opponents would be foolish to double-team him, calling it a "slap in the face to the rest of our offense" and a strategy that's "not going to work."
"What I see within this team..." Beckham says, smiling as he inches forward in his chair. "It kind of feels like that championship year. Everybody has that same mentality, that same demeanor, and last year it wasn't like that. Seeing Victor [Cruz] working out, knowing we have Rueben [Randle], and myself, we've picked up Shane Vereen... it seems like the weapons are here."
-Emily Kaplan (Full Long Form Essay)
I can't say I disagree with any of these choices, or where they were positioned. I might have put Eli and Beckham closer together. Beckham can't do what he does without Eli getting them into the right play and putting the ball where it needs to be, and Eli can't have the kind of season the Giants need him to have without a true No. 1 receiver to help dictate the flow of the game to the defense. Their impact on the game is tied to one another.
I might also include John Mara in this list because of his influence in so many of the inner workings of the NFL that ultimately determine how the game is played on the field.
So now I put it to Big Blue View: Which Giants, be it players, coaches, or executives, do you think deserve to be among the top 100 most influential people in the NFL?