New York Giants ownership, specifically the Mara family, can tolerate a lot. The Maras have owned the Giants since they were formed in 1925 and have seen a lot, both good and bad.
Ownership is patient and loyal to the people it hires. That is one of the things that has long made the Giants a special organization and, at times, perhaps one of the things that has contributed to down periods in the franchise’s history.
The Giants as an organization have shown that losing, while unpleasant, can sometimes be tolerated. Losing games can at times be explained away — injury to a star wide receiver crippling the offense, a freak fumble by a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback, a 61-yard field goal by a rookie kicker no one ever heard of, critical dropped passes, unforeseen defensive regression.
What is not tolerable is being embarrassed.
Which brings us to head coach Ben McAdoo, GM Jerry Reese, the suspended Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the current sad state of the New York Football Giants.
Remember what finally caused the Giants ownership to boot Tom Coughlin — a man loved and admired within the walls of the Giants’ facility at 1925 Giants Drive? It was the realization that the product had become an embarrassment.
“We lost some credibility as an organization.”
That was one of the reasons, maybe the biggest one John Mara gave, when Coughlin was removed.
The Giants consider themselves to be an NFL standard-bearer. They are an original NFL franchise. They consider themselves a model of consistency and respectability other organizations should want to copy. They believe they should be associated with the New England Patriots, not with lovable losers like the down-trodden Cleveland Browns.
Nor, and perhaps more important to this discussion, do they like making headlines for the wrong reasons. That’s what the New York Jets are supposed to do. They like consistency and respect. Anarchy is supposed to be associated with the Washington Redskins. The Dallas Cowboys. The Cincinnati Bengals. Not the Giants.
Yet, here we are.
What could be more embarrassing than what is currently going on with the Giants?
It’s bad enough that the Giants have been bad at football for most of the last six years — one playoff game in which they weren’t even competitive separating them from complete failure. Now they are in chaos.
You have players — Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins — bolting the sidelines during games. You have at least one player openly talking about culture. You have a star player who thinks it’s OK to pretend to urinate like a dog in front of 80,000 people. These are just the things that have broken into the open. Who knows what sort of turmoil is boiling behind the scenes?
What all of that means is that you have a roster showing a lack of respect for the head coach.
You have a head coach who says he takes responsibility for the losing, but whose actions — throwing his quarterback under the bus for his own mistakes and refusing to acknowledge his own culpability in the team’s offensive issues — make you realize he doesn’t really believe that. Those are hollow words said because they have to be said.
It’s no wonder that the head coach appears to be losing his players. He’s so busy with his nose stuck in his play card that he really doesn’t have control of his sideline. He didn’t even take his face out of the play card long enough Sunday to go out on the field and console Odell Beckham Jr. when his star player was writhing in pain from a broken ankle. That made him look oblivious. Personally, I also find it interesting that the problems we know about are with defensive players.
You have a general manager who has largely wasted the last half-dozen years of the career of the best quarterback the franchise has ever had. One who seems more interested in justifying his decisions than in recognizing and fixing his mistakes. On the field, the Giants are a train-wreck heading toward the worst 16-game season in franchise history.
The Giants, right now, are an embarrassment.
The other day I opined that the fans wanted changes at the top, but might not get them. What we are seeing this week, though, could change that.
Can McAdoo regain — or gain — control of this mess? Suspending DRC shows that he is trying. Giving up the play-calling and getting in touch with the rest of his team would also help. It might, though, already be too late.
If that’s the case, the sweeping changes many in the fan base want could be on the horizon. Whether ownership really wants to go down that path or not.