In the past six years, John Mara has stood up at four different news conferences and, with great optimism and enthusiasm, introduced the new head coach or general manager he was hiring.
Within that same timeframe, all have been fired.
He knows it’s as much an indictment of him as president and co-owner of the Giants as it is of the men he brought in to run his team. It’s why Mara now seems to regret one thing more than the people he has hired in the past few years, and that is the way in which he selected them.
"We haven’t necessarily made the right choices," he conceded on Wednesday. "I think looking back on our process, I wish it had been a little more extensive, that we had seen more people and maybe taken our time a little bit more with it.
"We’re going to try not to make that mistake this time."
This time already is different in a lot of ways.
The retirement of general manager Dave Gettleman and the firing of head coach Joe Judge this week seem to mark the first realization by Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch that wholesale changes, not just in names but in philosophies and ways of doing business, are necessary for the Giants to return to some level of competitive competence.
They are not choosing candidates from among in-house employees past or present the way they have in the past. In these interviews, they are not asking almost rhetorical questions that produce answers everyone knows they want to hear.
And most of all, they are going to take their time.
"I want to go through a complete process here, interview as many people as possible," Mara said. "I don’t want to rush into anything. We made that mistake in the past. I want to make sure we get to see as many candidates as possible."
Their list of potential general managers currently is at nine, with two of them — Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen and Cardinals vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson — meeting with ownership in virtual first-round interviews on Wednesday. The Giants are scheduled to meet with Cardinals vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris and Kansas City executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles on Thursday.
At such a pace, the Giants likely will hold in-person interviews with finalists at some point early next week and potentially come to a decision by the end of next week. But again, Mara does not want to rush it.
From there they’ll move on to finding a head coach, with the new general manager leading that search.
Even that part will have no predispositions.
"There are no package deals," Mara said.
The Giants have long been an organization that prided itself on stability and tried — sometimes even with a level of success — to refurbish rather than rebuild. Things have gotten so bad in recent years, though, that Mara said the only recourse was a clean slate.
"We just got to a point where I thought we had dug ourselves a hole so deep that I didn’t see a clear path to getting out of it unless we completely blew it up and started all over again," Mara said of pressing "ctrl-alt-delete" on the franchise.
Blowing it up doesn’t mean just getting rid of coaches and general managers. It means blowing up stale thinking and antiquated practices too.
Each generation of Maras has faced this kind of overhaul, starting with John’s grandfather, Tim, who founded the team in 1925. In 1979, John's father, Wellington, oversaw a dramatic restructuring of the organization that ended a long stretch of failure. Now John Mara says he is bringing the franchise back to square one for just the third time in its near-century of existence.
In the coming weeks, Mara again will stand in front of a microphone and introduce two more people shiny with potential and dripping with ideas. He’ll be just as excited and optimistic about hiring them as he was the past four times he’s done so.
He’ll say he believes they are the men for the job.
And he’ll hope this time he got the process, and the hires, right.