John Mara: As long as Eli's here, we have a chance to win
Related mediaGiants 2012 schedule and results Notable NFL free agents Giants: Keep 'em or dump 'em? Giants blog
"He's  years old. He's got a lot of years left," Mara told reporters Thursday at a news conference unveiling plans for next year's New York-based Super Bowl. "I think our window is still pretty wide. I think as long as he's under center, we have a chance to win."
Mara said the Giants "certainly don't need to tear the whole thing down" after failing to make the postseason for the third time in the last four years. Still, the sting of losing control of the 2012 season after having a firm grip on the division lingers.
"Obviously, we were very disappointed not being in the postseason," he said. "I haven't quite gotten over that yet, particularly back-to-back games in Atlanta and Baltimore [lost by a combined score of 67-14]," Mara said. "Sometimes you go through things like that, and it just strengthens our resolve to put a better team on the field next year."
As for next season -- a year in which the Giants could have a chance to be the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its home stadium -- Mara said the franchise will not make any drastic changes and that he has faith in the team.
"You have to have patience," he said. "You can't get too high when you are winning and too low when you are losing. You just have to have some confidence in your organization, and I have confidence in our organization. We have a franchise quarterback, and we've got a lot of good players on defense, but obviously a couple parts were missing, and that's something we need to look at."
One change that figures to take place is the loss of Osi Umenyiora in free agency. When the season ended, the defensive end seemed confident that he would not be returning to the Giants for 2013. But Mara isn't so quick to say goodbye.
"I don't know about that," he said. "We'll see what happens. I'd love to have him back. He's been a great player for us. He's a great guy. He's a huge part of our two Super Bowl wins. But there are economic considerations, and we'll just have to see it out. Obviously, we'd love to have him back."