The New York Giants have won four of the 49 Super Bowls that have been played. During his introductory press conference on Friday new head coach Ben McAdoo talked bravely about adding to the team's collection of championship hardware.
"The vision for this football team goes into winning and putting that fifth Lombardi trophy in the case. That is our goal and that is the vision," McAdoo said.
Nothing less should have been expected from McAdoo. Winning, after all, is the goal. The Giants are an organization that expects to, at least, be in the Super Bowl conversation.
How far away from being in that conversation are the Giants, and how long might it take them to get back there? It's unfair and unrealistic to expect it to happen overnight. The Giants have missed the playoffs four years running. They need to fix a roster that doesn't have enough difference-making players. They need to expect growing pains as McAdoo begins a job he has never had before, and McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese settle into a new working relationship.
Co-owner John Mara said on Friday that "it tears me up" to have the team record three straight losing seasons.
"It's been three and a half awful years and the last Super Bowl is a distant memory at this point. We long ago lost the benefit of the doubt with our fans and stuff," Mara said. "That's what happens when you have three losing seasons. Really it's been three and a half, it goes back to the second half of the 2012 season, and then the following three years have been miserable. It's time to start on a new course."
The Giants have, at least, recognized that they needed to try something different. Have they made enough change? Was letting Tom Coughlin leave while keeping GM Jerry Reese and not as of yet shuffling the personnel department the right move? Today, just days after the promotion of McAdoo was announced, no one has that answer.
Let's wait and see how the Giants structure their coaching staff. More importantly, let's see how they reshape the roster. Let's see how different things are with McAdoo running the show instead of Coughlin.
Let's not expect miracles from McAdoo right out of the gate.
The Giants have seen too many assistants leave and go on to great careers coaching in other places. They didn't want to see that happen with McAdoo and used the template laid out by the Pittsburgh Steelers as their justification. The Steelers hired Mike Tomlin to replace Bill Cowher after the 2006 season.
Tomlin, who had just one year of experience as a coordinator before taking over the top job, got the Steelers to the playoffs in 2007 and then won a Super Bowl in 2008. Two years later, Tomlin and the Steelers lost in the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh has never finished worse than 8-8 (which it has done three times) in Tomlin's 10 seasons.
"We won't know that until he starts coaching but, believe me, I thought about the Mike Tomlin scenario quite a bit," Mara said. "He came out of nowhere and now he's one of the best coaches out there. Let's face it more of them fail than not but I think this guy has everything that you need to be a successful head coach. Now we have to help him and get him better personnel."
Could McAdoo be similarly successful? Could he get the Giants back to the Super Bowl in two years? Perhaps, but let's remember that Tomlin took over a team in far better shape that the Giants appear to be. Pittsburgh went 15-1 in 2004, 11-5 and won the Super Bowl in 2005 and 8-8 in 2006. The Giants have, as fans know, missed the playoffs four straight years and gone 19-29 over the past three seasons.
McAdoo, Reese, and the Giants face a far bigger task than Tomlin's Steelers did a decade ago.
"We're not looking to rebuild, we're looking to reload," McAdoo said on Friday.
Maybe so, but there are an awful lot of chambers to reload. There is a defense that has, well, almost nothing. There is an offense that need more linemen and playmakers. There is a locker room that needs players to emerge as leaders -- or, at least, one to emerge as THE leader.
"This is the capital of the world and this is the football capital of the world and with that comes a certain amount of pressure, a pressure that I look forward to, our staff and our players will look forward too," McAdoo said. "This job is not for the faint of heart and I'm the right man for the job."
McAdoo, at 38 the second-youngest coach in the NFL, is a man in a hurry. He made that clear when asked if he thought his rise to becoming a head coach had been a fast one.
"No. I think it took too long," he said matter-of-factly.
In a hurry or not, Giants' fans shouldn't expect this to be an overnight fix. It took an accumulation of several years worth of mistakes to get the Giants into this situation. The drafts of the past couple of years have helped them begin to shovel their way out of the mess, but with the league's worst defense in 2015, there is much work to be done.
What will it take for you to feel like 2016 is successful for the Giants? Do you feel like it's already successful because the Giants have a new coach? Will 8-8 or 9-7 be enough, whether the Giants make the playoffs or not? A wild-card berth? An NFC East title? Winning a playoff game? Going to the Super Bowl? Winning the Super Bowl?
I say look for signs. Look for progress. Hope for a miracle, but don't expect one. Be happy if it feels like the team is moving in the right direction, whatever the end result.
Let us know what you are looking for from the Giants in McAdoo's rookie season as head coach.