Head coach Brian Daboll of the Giants looks on in the...

Head coach Brian Daboll of the Giants looks on in the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Feel free to angst about a lower draft position if you wish, but to the man whose opinion about Giants games matters as much as any other, Sunday was all good.

“Any win’s a good win, especially this one,” team president John Mara told three reporters after a shocking 27-10 rout of the rival Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

Mara was smiling and en route to a winning locker room that still was celebrating loudly when reporters entered about 15 minutes later.

“I’m just happy for the guys right now,” coach Brian Daboll said.

None of the above changes the bottom line, which is that the Giants finished 6-11 and far out of playoff contention a year after making the divisional playoff round. But the victory at least helped Mara feel a little better about the fact that the Giants plan to run it back with general manager Joe Schoen and Daboll next season.

That might seem like a modest achievement for Daboll, given that he has been here for only two seasons, one of which ended with his being named NFL Coach of the Year. Not so! Sunday was regular-season game No. 34 for him, a milestone no Giants coach since Tom Coughlin has reached.

(OK, technically, Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge did not have the benefit of two 17-game seasons, so maybe that’s a little misleading.)

The bigger accomplishment is that Daboll is not getting fired despite his 15-18-1 record, a muddy quarterback situation and general fan grumpiness.

And that’s fine. It is the right move for the Giants, whose ownership had zero appetite for a fourth consecutive two-seasons-and-done coaching change.

That would have been an embarrassment, and it would have been a mistake.

Daboll never did figure out how to keep the Giants in contention, and he needed an unlikely three-game winning streak behind rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito just to keep the ship from sinking entirely.

But even down the stretch, Daboll never gave off the vibe of a doomed figure the way McAdoo, Shurmur and Judge did at the end.

All you needed to see was Sunday’s blowout, in which Tyrod Taylor looked like a Pro Bowler, Saquon Barkley scored two touchdowns and set up a third, Wink Martindale’s defense suffocated the visitors and the Giants drove the Eagles’ starters out of the game by taking a 24-0 halftime lead.

It was a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable start to the calendar year for the Giants, who now will seek to pick up where they left off come September.

“Very satisfying, very fulfilling, and gives us a lot of momentum for next season,” linebacker Bobby Okereke said.

Again, there has been none of that dead-coach-walking feel from 2017, ’19 and ’21 — that stench everyone from owners to players to fans to journalists can smell a mile away and is impossible to wash off.

Daboll avoided that fate behind the scenes — and on the sidelines — with a fiery manner that endeared him to players and fans, and he avoided it in front of microphones and notepads with a relentless blandness. His public messaging always is as consistent as it is boring, helping him never say the wrong thing at the wrong time, thus avoiding the drama that befalls many a New York coach or manager, especially in bad times.

(In real life, Daboll has plenty of personality, even in front of reporters. But when the cameras go on, the personality turns off.)

The victory over the Eagles — a playoff-bound team that still was in contention for the NFC East title when the day began — was a final testament to his command of the locker room. And it was a grand finale for a dud of a football season in New York, with the Jets and Giants each taking down their biggest division obstacles in the Patriots and Eagles on the final Sunday.

Now the trick for Daboll will be doing in large part what he was brought here to do: develop the Giants’ next franchise quarterback, be it Daniel Jones or a draft pick.

Daboll’s final words in his final postgame news conference of the season were in response to a question about what the next few days will bring. “Lotta meetings,” he said.

The Giants hurt their position in the draft by beating the Eagles, but that’s OK. A performance like that should pay for itself in goodwill.

Here’s hoping Daboll and Martindale settle whatever issues there are between them and run this thing back in 2024. They are a potentially winning combination, as they showed last season and at times in this one, including Sunday.

Of course, if the Giants are anywhere near 6-11 at this time next year, the conversation will be far different.

But there is a long road from here to there. Daboll deserves another shot. He’s got it. Better not miss.


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