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Coach Ben McAdoo, GM Jerry Reese both fired: Giants clean house

Disastrous season leads to stunning shake-up

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ben McAdoo has been fired as coach of the New York Giants, ending a tumultuous and largely unfortunate period in franchise history. The Giants are also firing general manager Jerry Reese in a stunning, sweeping shake-up for a normally conservative franchise. On the Internet, it has already been dubbed the “Monday Massacre.”

Steve Spagnuolo will reportedly take over as interim head coach. Spagnuolo, in his second tour of duty as Giants’ defensive coordinator, has three years of head-coaching experience with the St. Louis Rams. He went 10-38 over that three-year span. Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reports that Kevin Abrams will take over as interim GM. Abrams has been the team’s assistant GM for the past 16 years.

McAdoo is the first Giants’ head coach fired in-season since Bill Arnsparger in 1976. He was replaced by John McVay with the team 0-7. LeRoy Andrews in 1930 was the only other coach the Giants have released in-season. Jim Fassel was fired with two games left in the 2003 season, but was allowed to coach those final two games.

McAdoo’s in-season firing makes his tenure as head coach even shorter than the disastrous two-year reign of Ray Handley, who went 14-18 in 1991 and 1992 after taking over a team that had won the 1990 Super Bowl.

The final straw for McAdoo and the Giants in what has been an embarrassing season, was the now ex-coach’s treatment of two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning last week.

McAdoo finishes his career as Giants’ head coach with a record of 13-15.

After two years as Giants’ offensive coordinator, McAdoo replaced Tom Coughlin as head coach. The Giants went 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons during McAdoo’s rookie season, but did so on the backs of a dominant defense.

The offense McAdoo was brought to the Giants to fix and that got him promoted to head coach has been a dismal failure. The Giants never scored 30 points during McAdoo’s 29 games as head coach.

After finishing sixth in the league in points scored in 2015, the Giants averaged 19.4 points per game, 26th in the league, last season. This season has been worse, with the Giants 31st in the league entering Sunday with an average of 15.6 points per game.

Injuries, especially a preseason ankle injury that forced Odell Beckham Jr. to miss the season opener and a fractured ankle that ended Beckham’s season in Week 5, have been part of the problem for the Giants.

Dysfunction and lack of discipline, though, have been evident all season.

  • The Giants began the season 0-5. GM Jerry Reese, at his midseason press conference, hinted the team had “bought into the hype” from last year and hadn’t prepared properly.
  • McAdoo had a weak response to the celebration penalty Beckham received in Philadelphia.
  • Eli Apple has been benched for disciplinary reasons earlier in the season and now appears to to have been benched again. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended for leaving the team following what was framed as a “misunderstanding” with the head coach. Janoris Jenkins was suspended for a game.
  • Two players anonymously went to the media to rip McAdoo, saying he had lost the team.
  • Before benching Eli Manning, McAdoo was critical of the quarterback on several occasions. At the same time, he chose not to be critical of other players/position groups.
  • The mess of last week. While McAdoo insisted he and John Mara were “on the same page” when it came to the Manning situation, it was obvious they weren’t.

The Giants are home Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. The firing of McAdoo likely avoids what could have been a truly ugly scene Sunday at MetLife Stadium, with Giants fans angry over the season and McAdoo’s treatment of Manning.

Reese has been general manager since taking over for Ernie Accorsi prior to the 2007 season. The Giants won two Super Bowl titles with Reese as GM, but have missed the playoffs in five of the past six seasons. Reese survived after the 2015 season when the Giants replaced Tom Coughlin but not this time. His ouster now is perhaps more surprising than that of McAdoo. He had been part of the Giants’ organization since joining the team as a college scout in 1994, and is the first GM ever fired by the franchise.

The Giants will now finish out a disappointing, lost season. What will happen after these final four games is anyone’s guess, but the move to replace McAdoo is likely just the first of what will be many changes to the Giants before next season.