John Mara has never been this embarrassed to be the co-owner of the New York Giants as he sifts through the rubble of a 4-13 season that has resulted in the retirement of general manager Dave Gettleman and the firing of head coach Joe Judge.
“I kept thinking during the season that we hit rock bottom and each week, it got a little worse,” Mara said on Wednesday. “I’m not proud of saying this, but if I’m being 100% honest, I’d have to say the answer is yes [I’ve never been more embarrassed].
“We just got to a point where I thought we dug ourselves a hole so deep, that I didn’t see a clear path out of it unless we completely blew it up.”
Mara’s Giants have gone nowhere since winning their fourth Super Bowl in 2012. They’ve made the playoffs once in the last 10 years and have suffered double-digit losing seasons in seven of the last eight campaigns — including a current streak of five straight campaigns.
That’s not an impressive resume, and it certainly warrants the vitriol currently trickling its way down to one of the NFL’s most historic franchises.
Now the Giants need a second different general manager in four years and a fourth-different permanent head coach in seven. Given the track record of his recent decisions, even Mara understood why optimism might be low for the Giants to get this right.
“I haven’t given them any reason to believe that,” Mara admitted. “It’s up to me to make the right choices going forward to earn back their trust. That’s not going to be an overnight process. That’s going to take some time. It’s starting with getting the manager pick done correctly and then hiring the right head coach.”
“We’ve gone through this process far too often in recent years. It’s not a fun process at all.”
At this rate, though, almost anything could be a step up from what Gettleman and Judge had to offer the Giants. The former general manager failed to deliver on his promise to build the offensive line and whiffed on key free-agent signings that have put the team in salary-cap hell. New York was 19-46 under his watch.
Judge appeared to be all talk with no action. His team was undisciplined and they never showed improvements despite his constant attempt at persuading the football world that those on the outside simply can’t see all the good work that’s being done.
“We haven’t made the right choices,” Mara said. “I think looking back on our process, I wish it was a little bit more extensive, that we had seen more people, and maybe that we had taken our time a little bit more with it. We’ll try not to make the same mistake this time.”
The Giants have a number of interviews already set up with GM candidates, including one on Wednesday with Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen and Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Adrian Wilson. When the executive vacancy is filled, only then will the Giants make a head-coaching hire.