A Giant Issue
As we approached the 2017 NFL draft, the Giants were a franchise at a pivotal stage. They had just gone 11-5 under McAdoo in his rookie season as a head coach. They surprised many in that season with their strong defence, and up until the infamous boat trip to Miami, looked like they could make a run in the post season. Ah yes, the Miami boat trip.
If you’re not familiar, see above. A mere few days before the Giants’ playoff game in Green Bay, New York’s receivers decided to head off to Miami for a bit of craic on a boat with Trey Songz and some friends. Harmless right? Wrong. This kick-started a series of undisciplined events that would put Coach McAdoo in a positon to make big decisions.
As it so happened, McAdoo didn’t make an example of any of his receivers, in spite of the national outcry about the trip. In truth, the situation wasn’t worthy of a fine or suspension, but OBJ’s general touchline antics accumulated with this, and it did appear that their star WR was untouchable. It set a precedent.
OBJ is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in the league, and has set more records than most. He is the focal point of the Giants’ offense and rightly so with the current state of the team. However, that does create a blatant imbalance. It’s detrimental to rely so heavily on one player, especially in that position. The Giants can’t score more than 24 points, and a lot of that is due to a poor OL, no running game and an aging QB. They could have addressed that in the draft, but they didn’t.
The draft came and went. The Giants’ ignored their glaring need to improve their OL, but did recruit a star tight-end in Evan Engram. As the pre-season progressed, many media outlets were discussing the Giants’ potential run for a Superbowl. They were touted among the top five in power rankings around the web, and we all bought into the hype.
It’s easy to say in hindsight, but how wrong they were not to address these positional issues. We’ve seen the success of a good OL in Dallas last season, and how the next man up works in Philly on defense. That has to hurt the Giants organisation. And so, they fell back to relying on Beckham to save the day.
The fact of the matter is that OBJ is who he is. He’s good enough to warrant the media frenzy that surrounds his every move. Teammates talk about how good he is in the dressing room, and we know how dedicated he is. Constantly striving toward self-actualization, OBJ is as determined as it gets. He seeks greatness to a point where he references Drake lyrics in everyday life to keep him on track.
Here’s the thing about Maslow’s theory of motivation and self-actualization; these people accept their flaws and enjoy the journey. OBJ might talk about winning being the only thing that matters, but he’s having a fun time on the way. McAdoo has embraced that too. When he took over, he allowed music to blare in training camp as everyone got their reps in. He’s not the same disciplinarian as his predecessor, Tom Coughlin. He tried to relate to OBJ and this young roster.
That seemingly worked in 2016. The team had relative success and OBJ lead the way as the standout player. The defense also stepped up. Guys like Landon Collins, DRC, JPP and Jackrabbit Jenkins made the Giants’ defense formidable. Until the boat trip.
Since the boat trip, the Giants have won two games. Their HC returned this season with a new slicked-back, Gordon Bombay-esque haircut for his second year in charge. To be honest, the haircut didn’t bother me or any Giants’ fans until the losses started to pile up. The lack of discipline didn’t bother us either. However, when OBJ went down injured against the Chargers, we knew the season was over (if it wasn’t already). Another note on discipline. If you let your best player get away with his antics, then suspend other players when team morale is already down, you risk losing the locker room.
Suspensions started to pile up. DRC, Eli Apple, and Jenkins all felt the wrath of Coach Bomba..er..McAdoo. The man who tried to galvanise the Giants’ organisation with his relatable methods and free spirited training camps is now a man on the hot seat. At 2-8, the Giants fan base are largely more interested in who Eli’s successor is than winning games. Mara and Tisch don’t make knee-jerk decisions. It’s the reason McAdoo is still in the job.
Players have anonymously said that their HC has lost the team and that the season is all but done. The franchise are openly scouting Rosen and Darnold. The team has pretty much hit rock bottom, but just like Coach Bombay did at the Junior Goodwill Games for the Mighty Ducks, McAdoo can still save his job. He needs to get back to basics and get his team onside. The questions is, is it too late?
If Mcadoo has truly lost the locker room, then his job is gone. If he can salvage that, then don’t be surprised to see the Giants give him one more season to get things right. After all, he got the team to their first playoffs since 2012 in his first season. But if Eli’s replacement comes in from the Giants’ high draft pick and Reese gets chopped, it might make sense to clean house altogether.
This OTI piece was written by Matt Carolan. Matt is a New York Football Giants fan from Co Wicklow, and is currently working in marketing. Matt can be found on twitter at