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Volume 24 No. 155
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Giants' John Mara Has Long Road Ahead In Restoring Faith, Trust Of Team's Fans

It is now on NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara to "get his next two hires right and get his franchise back on track after an incredibly swift fall from grace," according to Bob Glauber of NEWSDAY. The Giants are "at the bottom again, and the decisions Mara makes in the coming weeks ultimately will define his team" (NEWSDAY, 12/5). In Newark, Steve Politi wrote the Giants' dismissal of GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo "won't be a success unless Mara hires a new pair of leaders with fresh ideas and a different perspective instead of falling back on the safe familiarity within his organization." It was "not the least bit surprising" that former GM Ernie Accorsi was brought in as a consultant for the GM search. Accorsi has helped other clubs with GM searches, but is "intimately familiar" with the Giants more than any other team. The coming weeks will determine if Mara "can kick the dirt off his own reputation." As owners go, over the last few months he has "inched closer" to Redskins Owner Dan Snyder than late Steelers Owner Dan Rooney in the "eyes of his fan base" (NJ.com, 12/4). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton writes whoever the Giants "tap to take over for the long haul will face no shortage of issues" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/5). ESPN's Adam Schefter said the Giants are "at a crossroads right now because they’re in a state of disrepair" ("OTL," ESPN, 12/4).

TRUST ISSUES: In N.Y., Pat Leonard writes Mara has a "long way to go to regain the Giants community’s trust." While both Reese and McAdoo "deserved to be fired for their mismanagement" of the team, Mara "somehow came out of this" looking worse than both the GM and coach he canned." The firings "don’t solve the real problem here: Mara’s errs in judgment and leadership contributed to some of the franchise’s all-time lowest moments this season." Both Mara and Giants Chair Steve Tisch "understood that they couldn’t put McAdoo back on the sideline" given the "hostility McAdoo grew to engender in a disenfranchised fan base." Mara said, “I’m very conscious of the fact that three of our last four games are at home. I’m conscious, having lived through it before, of what the reaction was going to be” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/5). Also in N.Y., Steve Serby writes Mara "better find" the right GM to find the right coach to "usher in the next era" of Giants football. He needs to "restore the franchise to credibility and respectability." The team now stands on "wobbly legs" and is "no longer at the intersection of Stability and Continuity" (N.Y. POST, 12/5).

FRESH START NEEDED: SNY's Ralph Vacchiano said Mara "needed to wipe the slate clean and start over and at least now it looks like the arrow is pointed in the right direction and maybe the talk is a little more positive” (“Loud Mouths,” SNY, 12/4). The Washington Post's Kevin Blackistone said the Giants were "fearful of becoming the Knicks, that they were becoming an NFL laughingstock, and they went out to save the day" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/4). ESPN's Louis Riddick said of Mara, "He's human. He knew the franchise was changing course. ... But you have to handle that better. He's kind of admitting that. One thing I've always liked about some ownership, and how John Mara is handling this, you can tell he realizes some of the mistakes he's made as far as communication." Riddick: "These are the kind of things you don’t expect out of the Giants and that’s why it’s a big story" ("NFL Primetime," ESPN, 12/4).

TOUGH CALL: SI.com's Conor Orr wrote while some owners "have perfected the faux outrage they need to show in order to pacify their fan base amid a losing season," the decision to fire McAdoo and Reese mid-season, "especially a homegrown scout like Reese, legitimately seemed to gnaw" at Mara (SI.com, 12/4). Mara said the dismissal of Reese was "as difficult a meeting as I've ever had." But Mara said that it "will not take long" for Reese to "land a similar job with another franchise." ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan noted Reese has "been with the Giants in various roles" since '94 (ESPN.com, 12/4). SNY's Jon Hein said of firing McAdoo and Reese, "Mara, respecting the Giants legacy, didn't want to let him go during the year and didn't want to let Jerry Reese go, because that's not the way they have done business. Well guess what? This is the worst season in Giants history. You have to do things a little bit differently when things are falling apart" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 12/4).

HISTORY LESSON: In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes this is the "lowest point" for the Giants in 40 years, with "as disappointing and occasionally as embarrassing a team as there has been in franchise history." Mara "doesn’t get a pass here, not by a long shot, even if he took responsibility" for doing nothing when QB Eli Manning was "benched the way he was benched" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/5). In New Jersey, Art Stapleton writes under the header, "John Mara's Legacy Now Rests On Making Things Right Again With The Giants." Mara has a "perpetual fear of failure to live up to the legacy" of his late father, Wellington, and his late grandfather, Tim, both of whom are enshrined in the Pro Football HOF. But "considering the circumstances of the past week," firing McAdoo and Reese was "not just the right move -- it was the only move" (Bergen RECORD, 12/5).