The next general manager of the Giants will be one of the most powerful executives in franchise history, authorized to shape every aspect of the organization to his liking, able to hire the head coach of his choosing and charged with ushering in a new era of functionality and success for a team that has long been without either.
Soon we will find out who it is, with an offer, acceptance and announcement perhaps on Friday.
Giants ownership finished the third of their three in-person interviews with finalists on Thursday, hosting 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters. He followed Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen and Kansas City executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, each of whom, like Peters, had a full day to lay out his plan, tour the team’s facility and meet some of the current employees.
After more than a week of interviews — nine done virtually, three in person — co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch along with Chris Mara, the team’s senior vice president of player personnel, went into tight deliberations.
Upon their conclusion, ownership is expected to take a step back and allow their hire to move forward with his blueprint, ceding powers to the new general manager that traditionally had been held only at the very top of the organization.
The Mara and Tisch families still will own the team, have final say on big decisions that require big checks to be signed and represent the franchise in league matters. But according to those familiar with the tone of the interviews with the finalists, they will remove themselves from day-to-day operations and allow their new general manager to run the show.
"We are looking for a person who demonstrates exceptional leadership and communication abilities, somebody who will oversee all aspects of our football operations, including player personnel, college scouting and coaching," John Mara said last week when Dave Gettleman’s retirement was announced.
That statement wasn’t just a semantic exercise. It was a course correction.
The last time the Giants made such a drastic change in their power structure was in 1979 when Wellington Mara, after decades of managing everything from the roster to the coaching staff, handed the reins of the organization over to George Young. Then, like now, the decision to turn to an outsider came after a long and disappointing dry spell. Then, like now, the Mara name was tarnished by the perception of antiquated thinking and the reality of losing football.
John Mara said last week that he has never been more embarrassed by the product the Giants have put on the field than he was this season. He certainly had plenty of other options from which to choose.
As for his favorite memory, Mara once said it wasn’t hoisting a Lombardi Trophy or handing out rings to championship players or a parade through the Canyon of Heroes. It was in 1981 when the elevators at Giants Stadium were stuck and he escorted his father, Wellington, down from the press box and around the spiraling ramps. The Giants had just beaten the Cowboys and were about to clinch their first playoff berth since 1963, and the fans who once had reviled Wellington Mara cheered him, shook his hand and slapped him on the back as they left the building happy and optimistic.
It’s not just a scene, it’s a scenario. Wellington Mara gave up much of his authority and two years later found success and received adulation. It’s an image that has stuck with John Mara ever since.
Beginning with decisions made this week, it likely is one he hopes he can replicate for himself.