EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ben McAdoo is the head coach, but the Giants will continue to operate on Tom Coughlin time.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor the last two years to serve under Tom,” McAdoo said today at his introductory news conference. “He’s made a big impact in my life as a coach and as a person, and his discipline, punctuality and success are obviously legendary. Thinking of a way to honor Tom, there are so many ways we can do it. But I figure the best way would be when I first walked into the building, he looked at me and said, ‘Don’t mess with the clock.’ When you look to the right here, we have our digital clocks, they’re all five minutes fast, and we’re going to stick with that. That’s T.C. time, that’s a part of Giants culture now.”
Moments later, McAdoo was asked about that initial encounter with Coughlin.
“It was ‘Don’t mess with the clocks,’ and there may have been an adjective or two in there,” McAdoo said. “But it was great learning through Tom. Being five minutes ahead of schedule is very valuable.”
Team president John Mara has heard the anecdote, and he’s all for keeping the Giants on Coughlin time.
“It was one of the first things that Ben said,” Mara said. “Ben said that he wasn’t going to change them anyway, which I think is good. I think it’s a good philosophy, it’s a good thing to have, and it’s a good concept.”
• McAdoo was first among the six candidates interviewed to replace Coughlin, but the Philadelphia Eagles’ interest in the former offensive coordinator likely hastened the process that resulted in his appointment. Like the Giants, Philadelphia also interviewed McAdoo last week. The Giants were going to interview Hue Jackson yesterday, the same day the Eagles hoped to sit down again with McAdoo. When Jackson took the Cleveland Browns’ job on Wednesday, the Giants immediately scheduled a second interview with McAdoo.
“Once the Hue Jackson interview was cancelled, I said to Jerry (Reese, the general manager), ‘Let’s bring Ben back Thursday morning for a second interview and move this process along.’” Mara said. “I guess he called Ben and we found out he was going to be with the Eagles on Thursday morning, so I said, ‘Let’s bring him back in this afternoon then.’ That was Wednesday, and we did that and had Jon and Steve Tisch present. We went over some things that we needed to talk to him about, and I think we all got a little more comfortable with him after that. It did accelerate the process, no question about it.”
• Reese said the process of the personnel departments working with the head coach and his staff will remain as it was when Coughlin was coach. The general manager also emphasized he is primarily accountable for personnel decisions, a point that apparently was not conveyed to his satisfaction when Coughlin stepped down last week.
“I’ve been here for 21 years,” said Reese, who is entering his 10th season as general manager. “Ever since I’ve been here, our coaches, our head coach and our personnel people have always been part of the process with personnel. That won’t change. They’re always a part of it. At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility. If somebody doesn’t get it right, if somebody doesn’t pan out, it’s the G.M.’s responsibility, okay? It seems like we got that confused the last time. But it’s my responsibility if somebody doesn’t work out.”
• At 38, McAdoo is the NFL’s second-youngest active head coach behind Miami’s Adam Gase, who is 37. Gase interviewed for the Giants job before joining the Dolphins. Coughlin was the league’s oldest coach at 69.
“I like how Ben told us this morning that he is his biggest critic. I’m not sure every head coach in the league would say that about himself. I think that’s a very strong comment, I think that’s a very honest comment. His standards are very high. He’s going to get tremendous support from ownership. I think the working relationship over the next few months that he and Jerry develop, I’m optimistic that it’s going to a very functional, very successful working relationship.”
• Although McAdoo is just 38, he is not one of the five youngest coaches in Giants history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. If the Giants open their season on Sunday, Sept. 11, McAdoo will be 39 years, 66 days old when he makes his regular-season debut. The last time someone younger than McAdoo coached the Giants was on Dec. 21, 1980, when Ray Perkins was 39 years, 15 days old the day he concluded the second of his four seasons as the team’s coach.
• One of the assumptions prior to McAdoo’s hiring was that he had an advantage, because the Giants wanted to retain the offense in which Eli Manning has been so productive. Mara did talk to Manning, who endorsed McAdoo. But the line from that discussion to McAdoo’s promotion is not straight.
“That was part of it, but I think that’s been overblown, to tell you the truth,” Mara said. “I did talk to Eli right after the last press conference we had, and I talked to him about some of the candidates, and he obviously liked Ben. But he liked some of the other guys, too. I was aware of that, but that was not the factor that a lot of you make it out to be.”
“That was part of the process,” Reese said. “That wasn’t the only thing. There were a lot of things about Ben we liked. But having the quarterback to stay in the same system, that played a little bit into it. That wasn’t the only thing; a lot of things played into him being the head coach.”