The NFL is a next-man-up business. The Giants now have to figure out who theirs will be.
Tom Coughlin had barely stepped off the stage from his fiery farewell address on Tuesday when team president and co-owner John Mara was being peppered with questions about what qualities he will look for in replacing the coach of the past 12 years.
“There’s no specific timetable,” Mara said. “Obviously you want to do it sooner than later. Obviously staffs get filled. There are other teams out there looking for coaches. We need to get moving on it and that starts right away.”
It will start, Mara said, with a pair of in-house candidates. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo interviewed on Tuesday and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will interview for the job this week. The Giants also would reportedly like to meet with Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former Bills head coach Doug Marrone, who now works for the Jaguars.
“The search will be extensive,” Mara said. “There will be a number of other candidates, as well.”
The process will be similar to the way the Giants found Coughlin 12 years ago. Mara and general manager Jerry Reese will conduct the initial interviews, and then when they whittle the list down to finalists co-owner Steve Tisch and others will get involved. In 2004, it was general manager Ernie Accorsi who accompanied Mara in the early rounds of talks.
For Reese, this will be his first coach search.
“I’m not trying to be stamped in any kind of a way,” Reese said. “I’m trying to do a service to the New York Giants who afforded me a great opportunity to be here. I don’t have ego in it at all. I just want the next guy to come in and be able to communicate with our players and be a good teacher, those type things, the qualities we like in a head coach.”
Mara and Reese seemed to be open to just about anyone at this point.
Mara said having someone who has worked for the Giants previously is “not a requirement.” Reese said he’d be open to hiring someone with only college and no NFL experience. Mara even left the door open to trading a draft pick for a coach who might already be under contract with another team, which is the case with the Saints’ Sean Payton.
“I wouldn’t completely rule that out,” Mara said. “There are a lot of good candidates out there.”
Mara said keeping McAdoo on as offensive coordinator — assuming he is not named head coach here or elsewhere — would be a discussion with whoever takes the job. Eli Manning has stumped for that to be the case.
“We would certainly make recommendations to [the hire],” Mara said. “But at the end of the day you have to let the head coach determine who is going to be on his staff.”
And Mara determines whose staff it will be.
Reminded that former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver once said his biggest regret was firing Coughlin in 2002, Mara admitted that he “could very well be saying that” several years from now. And despite his flowery praise for the man who walked away from the job, Mara said he is not necessarily looking for Coughlin II.
“At the end of the day you have to get the right man for the job,” he said. “All coaches have their own philosophies. There’s not one philosophy that’s the correct one. I mean, there are a lot of different ways you can win. Certainly we were comfortable with Tom’s style and his philosophy. Does the next guy have to be exactly the same? No, he does not. He just has to be somebody we’re comfortable with and someone we can win with.”