John Mara: Giants Didn’t Want to Lose Ben McAdoo

New York Giants co-owner John Mara remembers how one-time assistant coaches like Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, John Fox, Bill Belichick, and Sean Payton all left the organization to become successful head coaches elsewhere.

“If he had left and gone somewhere else we probably would have been very upset about that,” Mara said following McAdoo’s introductory press conference.

That possibility almost came to fruition, as according to reports, the Philadelphia Eagles, who also met with Coughlin about their vacancy (since filled by Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson), were said to be ready to make McAdoo an offer to succeed Chip Kelly.

That factor, combined with Hue Jackson’s accepting a chance to interview with the Giants, convinced Mara, Tisch and general manager Jerry Reese to make their move.

“I’ll tell you what it did change, once the Hue Jackson interview was cancelled I said to Jerry, ‘Let’s bring Ben back Thursday morning for a second interview and move this process along,” Mara said. “I guess he called Ben and we found out he was going to be with the Eagles on Thursday morning.”

“I think the Eagles situation did accelerate our decision, but at the same time, at the end of the meeting with Ben on Wednesday, we knew we were going to make the move and contact Ben’s representative’s right after he left the office,” added Tisch.

Both Mara and Tisch feel that the 38-year-old McAdoo is the right man for the job, despite his lack of experience as a head coach.

“I think what really gave me the edge was the familiarity,” Mara said. “I loved what he said—he had a really good grasp of what we had on our team, what we needed to improve on, and a great vision going forward.

“The first thing that came to mind two years ago was that this guy is a teacher and he’s got an edge to him. He’s not afraid to lose his temper out there and bark at guys and I happen to like that.”

“I think Ben is confident and not arrogant,” added Tisch. “I think his confidence is going to be very, very valuable as he begins to lead this team.

“I thought he handled himself very, very well in his first time in front of the press, specifically the New York press. Also, his sincerity I think came through very, very clearly. Whatever is in the water in western Pennsylvania, I think it sort of leads to a lot of great leadership qualities.”

Still, Mara was honest when asked if McAdoo was a risk because of the lack of head coaching experience.

“The concern was that he’s never done it before. You can say whatever you want but you just don’t know until he’s out there as the head coach but I feel good about him. I think he’s got everything it takes to be a successful head coach,” he said.

McAdoo will also have the full support of the front office behind him to ensure he’s successful, according to Tisch.

“We’re going to be extremely supportive. A lot has been brought up about his age; I don’t think his age is a factor. I think his age, in my opinion, is a positive factor,” Tisch said.

“He’s young, he’s in the best sense of the word, ambitious, he’s got a vision, he seems appropriately fearless.

“If John Mara, Jerry, and I start to feel that, in the first couple games of the season, that he’s getting it right and he’s doing it right and we’re putting some W’s on the board the first few games, he’s going to be very, very supported. It all depends; this is all prologue in my opinion. It all starts when the season starts.”

photo by P. Traina

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