No one in the Giants’ organization is happier about Ben McAdoo’s promotion than Eli Manning. Although Manning’s pleas to keep Tom Coughlin at least one more season fell on deaf ears, McAdoo clearly is the next-best thing for the 35-year-old quarterback.
With at least a few good years left in his arm, he can continue to perform in an offense that suits his talents and puts him among the league’s very best quarterbacks.
“I’m excited. I’m excited for the Giants’ organization and for the team,” Manning said Thursday when the Giants made the McAdoo hiring official. “I think coach McAdoo is a great coach, a great teacher, and will be a great leader of this team.”
Manning said largely the same things about Coughlin, and he would have been delighted to see the 69-year-old return. But John Mara and Steve Tisch thought the Giants needed to move on, that a dozen years was enough for a coach in a league in which the general rule of thumb is 10 years and out. And that’s for the good coaches.
Some last longer. Bill Belichick is in his 16th season with the Patriots and likely will stay as long as Tom Brady is his quarterback.
But the co-owners saw enough in McAdoo during his two seasons as offensive coordinator to give him the chance to prove himself, even though at 38, he is the NFL’s second-youngest coach.
He’s making a quantum leap, and there will be a steep learning curve for McAdoo, now the face of one of the NFL’s flagship franchises. His responsibilities will grow exponentially.
But McAdoo commanded and received respect from his offense, particularly Manning, and he undoubtedly will be well received by the entire locker room because of his skill as a strategist and relentless work ethic.
None of this guarantees success, and only time and performance can measure how good McAdoo will be. But when you’re trying to project whether a young coach can succeed, you see the right traits in McAdoo.
Knowing what he wants his team to be. A no-nonsense, straightforward style, with Coughlin and Packers coach Mike McCarthy as mentors and excellent role models. And a personality that can withstand the highs and lows of an NFL season and the pressure of an unrelentingly demanding market.
McAdoo would do well to take some of the lessons Coughlin taught and made them his own. He is not media-savvy and will not win the press conference, as McCarthy likes to say. But that’s not who you want to run your football team. You want a guy who’s more Coughlin than Rex Ryan. McAdoo will make his news on the field, not at the podium.
Manning is the biggest beneficiary of McAdoo’s ascension, and he should do as well or even better than his last two seasons, the best statistical stretch of his career. He had 65 touchdown passes and 28 interceptions in that span, and although he made some costly mistakes, he dramatically reduced his turnovers.
“I’m excited to work with him and grow within this offense and get this organization back where it needs to be,” Manning said.
Mara and Tisch know this decision is about more than just making Manning comfortable. They hope McAdoo will be here long enough to groom the quarterback’s heir apparent, whoever that may be. But the confluence of factors that led to McAdoo’s getting the job worked out perfectly for the greatest quarterback in franchise history.
If you can maintain continuity and believe in your next coach, the McAdoo hire makes sense. It doesn’t guarantee this will be as good as the Coughlin-Manning era, which produced two Super Bowl championships. But it’s certainly a promising start for the quarterback and his new coach.