Firing Pat Shurmur as the Giants head coach after two forgettable seasons was not news on Monday. Hard to have a reaction about him losing his job with a 9-23 record in his Giants coaching tenure.
The Giants retaining Dave Gettleman as their general manager did not turn out to be newsworthy since they never had the intention of firing him, but the decision raised a hot topic on Twitter, sports radio and blogs. Everyone had an opinion, and that included the local media that covered the Giants.
Gettleman deserves credit for conning Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch into staying on the job just like he did in getting the job just two years ago. He survived office politics by kissing up to Mara and Tisch the way failed Knicks president of basketball operations Isiah Thomas used to do with the incompetent James Dolan. This should be his legacy when people remember his Giants tenure one day.
It takes a special talent for Gettleman to display that slick salesman personality. He put that on display in a press conference on Tuesday to defend the job he is doing.
He started off by saying the Giants install computers to show they are committed to analytics. Then, he tried hard to validate his decision to give up the draft picks for that stiff Leonard Williams. He also came off emphatic about Shurmur taking abuse by the media and fans all season, which is comically amusing since he behaved like a coward for hiding from the media all season. He smugly shook up the suggestion that no coach would want to work for him and why people wouldn’t trust him. Finally, he lauded himself for saying the Giants are going to be in a good place by referring to Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, even though those two yet to show they won anything.
Surprisingly, Gettleman did not campaign for the Nobel Peace Prize or demand the Giants to erect a statue for him in that presser.
No matter. He made his point in conning Giants fans into thinking he is the solution, not the problem. It was also comically amusing to see an emperor with no clothes just defending himself for the job he did in his two seasons.
On a day the Giants fans wanted answers, Gettleman decided to take a bow for his work rather than offer an apology for the last few seasons. It takes a special kind of hubris to display that kind of arrogance. The last general manager that pulled it off in these parts was then-Rangers general manager Glen Sather when the Rangers missed the playoffs in his first few years on the job.
Who can blame Gettleman for behaving that way? The Giants enable this behavior. The arrogance starts all the way to the ownership group. Mara and Tisch like everyone to think the Giants are a model franchise that wins even though they haven’t won a playoff game since they last won the Super Bowl.
Here’s the beauty of Gettleman’s act: If the Giants win seven or more games next season, he can offer this bull that the franchise made progress. He set the bar so low that anything would be an improvement, even if the Giants miss the playoffs. He can’t lose. Being the smug general manager he is, he will no doubt blow this out of proportion next season if the Giants do well.
This is his modus operandi. Remember he is the same guy that once said he was responsible in making the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos as Super Bowl contenders when he worked for them.
How does Gettleman suffer the rest of his NFL contemporaries? How does he live with himself? Does he even have a conscious?
Gettleman’s apologists will cite Jones as why he is the right guy for the job, even though his rookie quarterback turns the ball over and did so much losing. He threw 12 interceptions and committed six fumbles. Sure, he throws garbage time touchdowns, but that’s good enough for fantasy football, not NFL football. The best can be said about Jones is that he is a poor man’s version of Jameis Winston.
Gettleman’s bootlickers will gush about Barkley, but let’s not confuse him with Gale Sayers, Walter Payton or Barry Sanders yet.
Even if Gettleman got those two right, guess what? Any general manager is bound to get one or two right with the draft picks. We call it luck. What’s the point of getting one or two right when he gets everything wrong? If a general manager can get a good quarterback or running back and not build around either one, then it’s useless. It makes it much worse that he couldn’t get it done.
Gettleman comes off as an incredibly self-absorbed egomaniac, and that’s not changing. It’s what made him stay in the industry all these years. He let everyone know that in a stunning press conference.
He does this because he has to put on a brave front in a sense he is not really the general manager of the Giants. He basically does what Mara tells him to do. We all know Mara is Jerry Jones lite without the bombastic personality. He is just part of the committee that makes decisions for the Giants. How else would he stay on the job? How else was he qualified over other outsiders that was qualified?
We can answer this question by saying Gettleman is willing to be the fool that covers for Mara.