Doug Wald has owned Giants season tickets for 33 years, and he likes his current view at MetLife Stadium, sitting along the top of the upper bowl, in line with the 50-yard line. But the view of his beloved Big Blue has mostly been hard on his and all his fellow fans’ eyes this season.
There were some empty seats on this chilly Sunday, but many more were filled than not, especially in the first half, including several red-clad Chiefs fans.
There was a reprieve from the usual disappointment for Giants fans among the announced paid crowd of 76,363. Their favorite team won, 12-9, in overtime. But the Giants are 2-8 overall and 1-4 at home.
“This team on paper, on salary, should be among the elites in the league, were expected to be among the elites in the league, and unfortunately fell short of expectations with execution and resolve,” said Wald, a 52-year-old headhunter and Riverhead resident. “But I still love them . . . I have faith in ownership that they’ll do the pragmatic thing, that they’ll do the right thing.”
The right thing, according to Wald and a handful of other Long Island fans who were faces in the crowd, is to fire Ben McAdoo.
“I liked Ben a lot going in,” Wald said before the game. “I think Ben focused too much on X’s and O’s instead of the temperature in the locker room and the different personalities, and the leeway that he gave certain players and not others. Unfortunately, I think it’s the vulnerability of being a young coach.”
And general manager Jerry Reese? Said Wald: “It’s hard to change one without the other. Personnel has been a problem for quite some time. Jerry has made some great drafts, but also Jerry’s missed the boat on a number of different drafts. He’s had a great run, but time for new blood up and down.”
But that doesn’t go for Eli Manning, according to Wald and John Noonan.
“You don’t have a running game,” said Noonan, 48, a liquor store owner and Hampton Bays resident. “You don’t have an offensive line that can protect the quarterback. What do you want him to do? Everybody’s hurt. He’s got two Super Bowl MVP rings. He’s your quarterback forever.”
That also was said beforehand. Then the 14th-year pro guided the winning 77-yard drive, including a 34-yard pass to Roger Lewis Jr. that set up Aldrick Rosas’ 23-yard field goal with 1:54 left in overtime.
Much of the crowd had left well before that.
Noonan’s son, Sean, 16, thinks the Giants should use their expected high first-round pick on Manning’s eventual successor. He said this season “hurts,” adding, “I really thought we had a chance to go pretty far in the playoffs this year, but we got decimated by injuries.”
Max Cherwinski admitted being “pretty disappointed” and blamed bad drafting. The next step? As the 18-year-old from Center Moriches put it, “We’ve got to start from scratch.”