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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press The New York Giants on Monday fired coach Ben McAdoo, right, and general manager Jerry Reese. The Giants are 2-10 after Sunday's loss to Oakland with Eli Manning on the bench.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017 1:00 am

Giants fire coach McAdoo, GM

Team 'spiraling out of control,' co-owner says

TOM CANAVAN | Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Believing the team was spiraling out of control, the New York Giants went out of character by making two major in-season moves, firing coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.

With the team reeling at 2-10 in a season where most felt it was capable of challenging for a Super Bowl, co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch reached the decision Monday morning. It came less than a day after the Giants lost in Oakland, with quarterback Eli Manning benched and the offensively inept team performing poorly again.

“We agreed that wholesale changes to this organization needed to be made to get us back to the team we expect it to be,” Mara said at a hastily called news conference. “We also agreed it was pointless to wait any longer to make these changes.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will take over as interim coach for the final four games. He coached the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

Mara did not know whether Manning will return as the starter this weekend against Dallas, saying the decision will be made by Spagnuolo.

In a radio interview on WFAN, Manning said he told Spagnuolo that he wants to start the last four games.

“I want to be out there and help us go win these four games,” Manning said. “I hope I'm out there on Sunday playing against the Cowboys.”

Mara said neither McAdoo nor Reese was surprised by the decision, saying they were both professionals. He said his meeting with Reese was more emotional because the two had worked together since 1994.

“I don't think there was any one final straw,” Mara said. “I just think that where we are as a franchise right now, you know, we're 2-10. We've kind of been spiraling out of control.

“I just felt like we needed a complete overhaul. I don't think there was any one event or one final act to precipitate that.”

Many felt the benching of the well-like Manning, the face of the franchise and a two-time Super Bowl MVP, for Sunday's game against the Raiders was the deciding factor. Manning didn't start for the first time in 13 years.

McAdoo also would have been subjected to howls from fans with three of the final four games at home, starting this weekend.

The moves come less than a year after McAdoo, 40, ended a four-year Giants playoff drought in his first season, going 11-6. That record was aided in large part by Reese's work in the free agent market that rebuilt the defense.

Although the 2016 season ended in a loss to Green Bay in the wild-card game, this year was supposed to be better. Much better.

The offense was bolstered by signing free agent wide receiver Brandon Marshall and drafting tight end Evan Engram in the first round. The defense was back with the major exception of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

A fifth Super Bowl was in everyone's sights if the offensive line could improve.

Assistant general manager Kevin Abrams will take over on an interim basis for Reese, who became GM in 2007 and had two Super Bowl wins on his résumé. But the Giants missed the playoffs four times in the last five years, and his failure to address those offensive line problems this past offseason played a major role in a horrible season.

McAdoo had a 13-16 record, and his firing is the first midseason head coaching move by the Giants since Bill Arnsparger was replaced seven games into the 1976 season by John McVay.

The 2-10 mark is the Giants' worst since they were 2-10 in 1976, and their worst since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.

“Our team is not good enough,” Mara said.