Ben McAdoo is the new head coach of the Giants. But is he the 17th or 18th coach in franchise history?
The discrepancy is due to the 1930 season, the fifth in Giants history. With two games remaining that season, the Giants fired LeRoy Andrews as head coach and replaced him with co-coaches. One of them was quarterback Benny Friedman, the other was Steve Owen.
Friedman coached those final two games of 1930 — both wins — and that was it for him as Giants coach. Owen wasn’t finished, though. He completed the 1930 season and remained the Giants’ head coach until 1953.
Friedman went on to coach the Brooklyn Dodgers of the NFL in 1932 and coached at Brandeis University from 1951-59. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, 23 years after his death.
Friedman was considered one of the first great passing quarterbacks in professional football history, and George Halas once said he “forced the defenses out of the dark ages.” He was such a good player that after the 1928 season, Giants founder and owner Tim Mara bought his entire team — the Detroit Wolverines — just so he could have the rights to Friedman and play him in New York.
In the official NFL stats, Friedman’s coaching record included those two Giants games with Owen. But when it comes to counting their head coaches, the Giants skip right past Friedman because he was never the head coach, only a co-head coach. That’s why they are calling McAdoo their 17th head coach, even though he is the 18th man to hold the job — or at least part of it.