PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
President & Chief Executive Officer John Mara
Thank you all for being here this morning. I am very pleased to be here formally to introduce Ben McAdoo, our new head coach. When we started this process about 10 days ago, we started to find a new leader for our football team. We wanted to find somebody who had the intelligence and the determination and the work ethic and the leadership skills to be a successful head coach in the National Football League. We believe we have that in Ben McAdoo.
Jerry Reese and I interviewed six excellent candidates for this position. Contrary to what I’ve read even a few places about this being an uninspiring group, nothing could be further from the truth. We felt all six were excellent and quite frankly I could’ve been happy with any one.
We brought Ben back in this past Wednesday and he sat with Jerry, myself, Steve and John Tisch and at the end of that session, we agreed that he is the man for the job. This is an exciting day for us. It begins a new era of Giants football and I would like to now introduce the man who’s going to lead us into that new era, our new head coach, Ben McAdoo.
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Thank you all for coming today. I am honored here to stand in front of you as the 17th coach in New York Giants history. I’d like to take the time now to thank the Mara family, the Tisch family and Jerry Reese for this opportunity and I’d also like to thank you for the way you conducted this search; very detailed, very organized and with class as always. Thank you.
There are some excited people back in Southwestern Pennsylvania. A lot of you have done your research, Homer City. My parents, Tim and Tina, I’d like to thank them, my sister, Jody, and my brother, Tim, as well as my in-laws, Dave and Renee. Thank you. I have my two children and my beautiful wife here with me. Could you stand up please? (laughs) My wife, Toni, my daughter, Larkin, seven, and my son, B.J., he’s three. Wouldn’t be here without them.
I’ve been very fortunate in my career there’s been a lot of coaches, a lot of players, a lot of administrators that have taken interest in me and my career. I wouldn’t be here without them and I am going to read you a list of names so bear with me there. Rick Foust, Rob Nymick, Jim Mill, the late Mark Hess, Scott Mossgrove, Paul Schager, Sal Sunseri, Walt Harris, Jim Haslett, Jack Henry, Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packer family, Joe Philbin, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Donald Lee, Jermichael Finley, Bob and Lynn LaMonte, Mark Schiefelbein, Matt Baldwin, excuse me, Eli Manning and the Giants locker room, Tom Coughlin and the New York Giant family and staff. Thank you.
It’s been a privilege and an honor the last two years to serve under Tom. 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.’ (laughs) 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 TC time, that’s a part of Giants culture now.
My next message is to Giants fans, Giants fans everywhere. I realize that this fan base is tough, it’s passionate and deserves a winner. This is the capital of the world and this is the football capital of the world and with that comes a certain amount of pressure, a pressure that I look forward to, our staff and our players will look forward too. This job is not for the faint of heart and I’m the right man for the job. I’m hardened, battle tested and I’ve been groomed for this opportunity by Super Bowl winning coaches, players and organizations. We’re going to assemble a staff and a locker room that the fans can rally around. We’re going to set our jaw and we’re going to get to work.
The vision for this football team goes in to winning and putting that fifth Lombardi trophy in the case. That is our goal and that is the vision. To accomplish that four things need to take place, four elements. The first is strong leadership, the second is we need to surround that leadership with talented men and women of integrity, the third is a positive working environment needs to be created starting and maintaining with myself and it needs to inspire teaching, learning and accountability. The last point—the last element, excuse me, is comprehensive structure and function. We will have a value system in place. Football is a people business and it starts with relationships. Three value system, excuse me, three values what we will incorporate are respect, humility and dedication. Dedication, obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated. We will be dedicated in our football.
Lastly is our team identity. What do we want our tape to look like? It’s about the film. When you turn a film on, what do we look like on film? Our offense, our defense, our special teams must play as one and our identity will be sound, smart and tough – committed to discipline and poise. With that I’ll open it up to questions.
Q: What’s the challenge of being the head coach? What are the things that make the transition from assistant coach to head coach that you’re really concerned about?
A: It’s large-scale leadership. When you’re coaching a position whether it’s tight ends or quarterbacks, you’re the head coach of that position room. When you broaden out and you have the opportunity to get in front of an offense, you’re the head coach of the offense and now I have a chance to get my hands on the whole team and I look forward to it.
Q: One thing John Mara said was he wanted a coach that had something to prove. He said you had something to prove in the statement yesterday. What do you think you have to prove?
A: I hold myself to a very high standard, I’m my biggest critic. Every night, I take pride in being able to look in the mirror and know that I did my best to get the job done.
Q: You said you had a conversation with Tom Coughlin saying don’t touch the clock. When did you have that conversation and what was the conversation about?
A: It was ‘don’t mess with the clocks,’ and there may have been an adjective or two in there (laughs). But it was great learning through Tom. Being five minutes ahead of schedule is very valuable.
Q: When was that?
A: Being five minutes ahead of schedule is very valuable.
Q: But when was that conversation?
A: When was it?
A: First day. First day.
Q: Have you talked to him since you agreed to take this job?
A: Yes, I just talked to him.
Q: And did he impart any particular wisdom on you?
A: Good luck.
Q: Ben when you first got here I remember you saying everybody is going to have a clean slate as far as players. Is that the same for coaches you’re going to take as you go through the evaluation period?
A: Our theme moving forward this year is evolution, not revolution. We’re going to have an opportunity to carry something over, some things we won’t. We know more about each other now than we had when I got here and we’re going to build off things we do well and work on fixing the things we don’t do well.
Q: Ben it’s usual for a coordinator to become a head coach but he does it at a different team. Is there a challenge you see going into the same locker room that you had been a coordinator and now you’re the head coach? You’re looked at differently maybe by other guys?
A: I think in any job it’s important to set up boundaries, you want to build relationships, but I think it’s important whether it’s with the staff or in the locker room that I establish those healthy boundaries right away.
Q: Have you finished building your staff?
A: No. With this happening so quickly, the staff is very fluid at this point and we had a chance to talk to a bunch of different guys, but nothing is set in stone. There’s nothing to report at this time.
Q: Will Steve Spagnuolo be back?
A: The discussions are fluid and ongoing. There’s nothing I want to report. When we have something definite, we will report.
Q: Will you continue to call the plays, Ben?
A: It goes back to the question about the staff. When our staff is complete and we feel comfortable releasing that, we’ll talk more about it. I feel that’s a competitive advantage for the opponent so that’s not something we need to necessarily talk about.
Q: Aaron Rodgers praised you for keeping things fresh and challenging him. As you expand that role and, like you said, build boundaries from focus of quarterback to coordinator now head coach, how important is keeping things fresh and new message become?
A: I think it’s always good to shake things up, especially from a scheduling perspective. Not always having the same schedule, changing whether it’s each quarter of the season or each week in the offseason, but we’re going to do some things to shake it up and keep it fresh. But at the same point and time, the fundamentals are called fundamentals for a reason, they’re the foundation and we’re not going to waiver there. We’re going to keep pounding those home.
Q: How would it feel to have a trusted confidant like Joe Philbin back with you? You guys won a Super Bowl together so how’s it going to feel to be reunited here in New York?
A: How’s it going to feel to have…
Q: To be reunited?
A: He’s coming?
Q: Assistant head coach?
A: Joe Philbin I think the world of. I think he’s a talented man, talented coach, one of the best I’ve been around, think the world of him, but, like I said, the staff is fluid and there’s nothing to report at this time.
Q: When you talk about fixing the locker room and what went wrong, how important is it to you to understand why this team in the final minutes of games last season failed so often?
A: We’re going to go back and a big part of what we’re going to do here coming up and moving forward is taking a look back at last season, studying each game and going back and studying each situation, taking a look at what we can do better in all three phases to fix the problem. And once we do fix the problem, we’ll address it in the practice schedule, we’ll practice those situations and we’ll take that rearview mirror we’ll rip it off, throw it in the back seat and look out the windshield.
Q: How important is it to you, if you at all, make changes to this staff so it’s not the same environment or is that a concern to you at all or is that something you don’t particularly worry about?
A: Like I said, we’re right now evolution not revolution. There are a lot of good coaches around the league and we’re going to sit down and talk to some different people and not rush into anything and take our time.
Q: Obviously you had a good look at the roster these last two years and you know the record. Now that you take over, do you have a sense of how long you think it will be for this team can get back to being that championship contender again?
A: We’re not looking to rebuild, we’re looking to reload and we’re going to start in a couple of minutes.
Q: Having been the offensive coordinator the last two years, you’ve been with Eli, how does that help your transition to being the offensive coordinator to now head coach?
A: Anytime you have an opportunity to work at a great organization like the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers and work with great players like Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers and sit in the same room as Brett Favre, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow and you really see what it’s supposed to look like and feel what it’s supposed to feel like. When you have your chance, when you have your opportunity, you need to jump in with both feet and make it happen.
Q: What did it mean to you that Eli was so vocal about wanting you to stay here?
A: I haven’t really sat down and thought about it. I respect Eli’s opinion. I’m appreciative of the endorsement.
Q: Was there a point in this process you thought you might be the new Eagles head coach?
A: Did I think I would be the new Eagles head coach? I’m very happy to be a New York Giant. This is home for me and my family and we look forward to the challenge here.
Q: You moved around a lot in your career. How important was to this whole process that you’re going to stay here now for a while?
A: Before Green Bay I had eight jobs in six years bouncing around quite a bit. Being here for two now and having a chance to put down roots and establish some success and build a winner, like we said, it’s all about putting the fifth trophy in the case. We want to put that fifth Lombardi trophy in the case that’s what we’re working for and that’s just as important as anything.
Q: You say you’ve been groomed for this and you talk about how the program in Green Bay prepared you to be a play caller. What kind of things specifically do they do there that groom someone to be a head coach?
A: I think it’s the openness and the dialog with which business is conducted whether it’s the quarterbacks coach to the coordinator to the head coach to the quarterback and all being a part of the process there in front of the process of scheduling and doing the research and you put your time and effort in there. We’ve gone through some things here the last couple years and we’ve made some progress and I’m excited about the future, I’m excited about the changes we made last year and some of the scheduling changes that will be done and taking those a step further and moving forward.
Q: This is your first head coaching job. Was there one piece of advice you received along the way from someone that sticks with you?
A: Keep the main thing the main thing and that’s the football.
Q: Who told you that?
A: I’m going to keep that in wraps.
Q: Being the head coach is one thing, becoming the head coach of football Giants, it has a ring to it and it comes with pressure. How do you expect to embrace that pressure?
A: I like the pressure. This is what you live for. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s the capital of the world, it’s the football capital of the world. What could be better than this type of opportunity and this type of pressure? You prepare for it and I’ve been a guy that’s always been baptized by fire and I’m comfortable with it.
Q: It was only 14 years ago that you were an assistant coach at high school. Have you thought at all about how, I mean it’s kind of a quick rise to the ranks from starting at a pretty low spot, have you had a chance to think back on that journey about how quickly it’s gone?
A: You don’t have time to reflect quite like that. You know what, I probably lived some dog years, for a while. I thought people were trying to kill me in some of the jobs I’ve had, but all it does is make you stronger, you get to learn a lot more and it’s been an interesting journey.
Q: Does this feel at all like a quick rise?
A: No. I think it took too long.
Q: How much saying are you going to have on personnel?
A: No, Jerry and the personnel side will do personnel. I’ll coach the team that’s my responsibility. We’ll have open dialog back and forth and we’ll communicate on what we feel our needs are and how we can get better and improve, but at the end of the day it’s about the coaches and the personnel and the locker room all pulling in the same direction. We all have to be in this thing together.
Q: When you came in a couple years ago, Tom and Eli were both talking about learning from you, learning your offense, even Tom said he had to learn and he felt uncomfortable but it was good. Do you think that helped your credibility in here that people who were already established here were looking to you to teach them things, teach them something new?
A: I’ve been very fortunate that going from New Orleans to San Francisco I was one of the few guys on the staff that had to teach a new offense to some older, grizzly vet coaches and I had to do the same thing in Green Bay. Coming here I felt comfortable doing it. Being the third time going through it helped me and it worked out fairly well, not as well as we would’ve liked. We felt we could’ve carried things a little bit better this year than we did, but you live and you learn and new opportunities come along.
Q: This franchise has had a history of great defense. What’s the challenge there to get back to it?
A: It goes back to our identity and what we want our film to look like and the way we want to train our guys and it goes to fundamentals. The first part of the identity that we talked about, we have to be sound fundamentally and we have to be smart and we talk about being smart, the best players are always the smartest players. They always have been, always will be and that’s the responsibility of the player and head coach to be in position to be successful. So that’s a good place to start for our identity.
Q: One of the main themes the last few years has been injuries. Do you have any theories about why those numbers have been so high and do you have any plans?
A: That’s something we’re going to dive into that here shortly. That’s a part of a lot of the things that we’re talking about right here. We’re going to take a look at everything and examine it, not rush into any decisions, be smart about it, but that’s something that we’re looking into.
Q: Have you had any discussions with Coach Spagnuolo for the progression of this defense?
A: Spags and I have had some conversations and, again, the staff is fluid at this point, but we did have some conversations on some things and being the second year in the system is going to help some guys. It’s going to help them with the foundation being set, it will let them play faster, they’ll be able to anticipate things and install. Again, we want to chase that identity and be fundamentally sound and smart, tough and committed to discipline and poise and when you can put those things together and it shows up on the film and we play complimentary football, not all the defense, offense, the defense and the special teams need to play as one and that’s my responsibility.
Q: You’re following a coach that was here for 12 years and won two Super Bowls, what is the challenge with if there’s a shadow or differentiating yourself and making it your own, especially following someone like Tom?
A: The most important thing when we talk about leadership is you got to be yourself. Everybody else is already taken, including Tom, so I can’t worry about being in Tom’s shadow, I got to be comfortable in my own skin and I am that.
Q: How do you view yourself being different than him in your estimation?
A: I’m just going to be myself, I’m not going to worry about it.
Q: You are the second youngest coach in the league right now. You mentioned several times you feel ready, you said before it took too long to get here, but I would imagine, can you understand that some Giants fans are looking and saying, the guy is 38 years old, he’s a young coach, there’s no proof?
A: Yeah, I understand that completely and the fans look at a lot of things through a critical lens and it’s my job to get the staff and the players and get them rallied around each other, put good product on the field, and until we play that first Sunday of the season, they have the right to look at everything through a critical eye. Follow what your film looks like.
Q: Over the past 10 days in radio interviews John Mara has mentioned he wasn’t comfortable with the sideline how it reacted during the Panthers game with Odell. I’m just wondering did you address that with him during your interview and would you look at the situation as a head coach and handle it differently than it was handled?
A: Football is a people business and it’s about relationships. After what happened on the sideline in Carolina game, I should’ve been better and I take full responsibility for that. Odell feels as bad as anybody about it and it’s my job to pull him out of that when we go down that road.
Q: Do you have a time table for when your staff becomes not fluid and is real?
A: No. We don’t want to rush into anything and things have happened quickly over the last couple of days so we’re just in the beginning stages of it right now. When we know, you’ll know.
Q: You’ve spoken a lot about your journey in coaching and getting to a certain point. When you started this during this journey, did you have a destination in mind?
A: The way I was brought up in this business is you keep your head down and you keep working and that’s what I’ve done and that’s what I will continue to do. I just make myself available to the whole team.
Q: The draft is over 100 days away and you mentioned you’re going to let Jerry handle these type of things, but how much of a role will you play in those proceedings?
A: We’ll support Jerry any way we can. We want to get the coaches and personnel department pulling in the same direction and do whatever we can to help evaluate a guy and move in that direction.
Q: Being with this team for a couple years now, is there any position that you’re focusing on?
A: Well it goes back to we’re just ready to go down that road. We’ll start that here tomorrow and start the process of evaluation and cut-ups and looking at personnel. Personnel side already has, they’re knee-deep into the study at this point, but the coaching staff needs to start with the comb and begin that way.
President & Chief Executive Officer John Mara (With Reporters)
Q: When you went into this process, did you identify Ben as a favorite?
A: I don’t want to say a favorite but obviously I watched him for two years, had a certain familiarity with him, so I guess you could say he was the favorite going in. We talked to six guys and I meant what I said before, I was really taken aback at how impressive they all were. This notion that it’s an uninspiring group, it may have been uninspiring to people on the outside, but not when you sat down and talked to these guys and looked at their credentials, heard about their ideas. It really was an excellent group as far as I was concerned.
Q: What set Ben apart?
A: I think what really gave me the edge was the familiarity. I’ve been able to watch him for two years, I loved what he said, he had a really good grasp of what we had on our team, what we needed to improve on, and a great vision going forward. It’s just something about having watching him on the field with the quarterbacks and with the offense. The first thing that came to mind two years ago was that this guy is a teacher and he’s got an edge to him. He’s not afraid to lose his temper out there and bark at guys and I happen to like that. Plenty of times I wanted to bark at the last couple of years so there were all those things. The concern as it always is was that he’s never done it before. You can say whatever you want but you just don’t know until he’s out there as the head coach but I feel good about him. I think he’s got everything it takes to be a successful head coach.
Q: Was that familiarity or relationship with Eli [Manning] the thing that put him over the top?
A: That was part of it but I think that’s been overblown to tell you the truth. I did talk to Eli right after the last press conference we did, and I talked to him about some of the candidates, and he obviously liked Ben but he liked some of the other guys to. I was aware of that but that was not the factor that a lot of you make it out to be.
Q: If you felt a conviction about someone who wasn’t Ben and even though Eli might not have been comfortable, you would have gone in that way?
A: Absolutely. Players adapt, particularly somebody as smart as he [Eli] is, he would have adapted to that.
Q: We spent a lot of time at your press conference asking about the personnel and you admitted that there were some issues there. After talking to Ben and hearing what he thinks of the guys here, are you any more encouraged by what’s here and obviously there future?
A: One of the things I was encouraged about, I mean he’s on the same page in terms of what we need, I don’t think his view is as maybe as dim as mine has been but he knows where we need to improve and he knows what we need to do. I think he’ll work very well with our personnel department, he already has. He’s been in our draft room, even as a coordinator was not the least bit afraid to voice his opinion and be firm about it, but he did it in a respectful matter and I think he’s going to be very helpful to that process. He minimized the input that he’s going to have. Our head coaches here going back to 1979 have always had significant input into the personnel decisions. No players were ever forced upon them and that’s going to continue to be the case.
Q: Was there any sense that if you didn’t make Ben the head coach this time then you were going to lose him to another team?
A: I think there was a good possibility that could have happened but if I didn’t believe he was the right guy, if we didn’t believe he was the right guy that would have been the difference.
Q: What stood out mostly about Ben that you liked about him?
A: I think the opportunity to observe him on the field the last couple of years, particularly at practice and the way he handles the team, the way he handled the offense, the way he just looked like a teacher, a fundamentalist. The presence that he has, the toughness that he has, I think all those things helped us make this decision.
Q: People when people renovate a house they gut it or they just make changes, is there any concern? You haven’t gutted this, he’s [McAdoo] here, the defensive coordinator [Steve Spagnuolo] could be here, some guys on your staff could be here. It’s not a full renovation job.
A: It depends on how you characterize it. There are going to be some changes on the staff there’s no question about that. We’re looking at what we’ve done personnel wise, where we have made the mistakes in the draft, and why we have missed on guys. Are our standards too rigid or are they not rigid enough, let’s look at that and figure out what we need to improve, and do we need some additional people down there or do we need to make some changes. That continues to be the discussion we’ll have going forward. I know what our roster looks like and I know it has to get a heck of a lot better if we’re going to put the fifth trophy in the case.
Q: You’ve talked about the pressures in order to make 10 year, 15 years decisions, do you see these two last weeks as sort of shaping what your legacy might be as an owner?
A: Yeah, I hope so. I accept my share of the blame for what has gone on. I got a lot of love letters recently from our fans; one of them wrote me and said that, “The problem with the organization is sitting right in your chair”. Another one put it a little more succinctly and he said, “The fish stinks from the head down”. I take that personally and I accept my share, this is all under my watch, and I know we need to get better as an organization. What gives me confidence is that I know we’ve done it before and I believe we have the right people here to do it again. I believe we can do it under this head coach.
Q: A couple hours before word got out that you were about to hire Ben, word was that the Eagles were about to hire him, did that change your timetable at all?
A: I’ll tell you what it did change, once the Hue Jackson interview was cancelled I said to Jerry [Reese] let’s bring Ben back Thursday morning for a second interview and move this process along. I guess he called Ben and we found out well 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 John 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.
Q: Does his age give you any pause? I mean the fact that he’s so young.
A: It’s not so much the age. The only thing is he’s been a coordinator for two years. Ideally he would have been a coordinator for longer than that but my instincts feel as if he’s the right guy. You’re never going to be in a perfect situation and even if he’s been a coordinator for 20 years it’s a different job becoming the head coach. I learned that in 1974 when we hired Bill Arnsparger who’s the defensive genius of all time and it didn’t work out for us back then. Guys can be great coordinators, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be great head coaches, but I think he has something in him that’s going to allow him to be a terrific NFL head coach.
Q: What advice did you give him about being a head coach, about making that transition?
A: I said you need to surround yourself with experienced people. I don’t think that you fully understand everything that you have to do as a head coach. It’s a lot more than just drawing up the offensive game plan, you have to be worried about the defensive side, you’re going to have to deal with the media, you’re going to have to deal with personnel issues that arise on a day-by-day basis, players off the field issues, a lot goes into that. He’s smart enough to understand and I think he will surround himself with the right people and he’s got a great resource in Steve Spagnuolo here who’s been a head coach. I’m sure Steve will help him a little bit.
Q: Do you know yet of one of those resources will be Tom [Coughlin]?
A: I hope so. We haven’t discussed that recently because he was interviewing for other jobs but I know that it seems to gone in a different direction hopefully we’ll have that discussion again.
Q: I know you were prepared for him to be working somewhere else, but the thought of him working for the Eagles bother you?
A: I’m not going to lie it would have been like watching Bill Parcells walk out with the star on his shoulder. It was tough to see at the time and that would have bothered me. I want him to be happy but I certainly didn’t want to see him happy in green.
Q: Had you heard the “Don’t change the clocks” antidote before?
A: I had heard it. It was one of the first things that Ben 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.
Q: You know something about following in some footsteps; I know yours were family, but just that part of the challenge for Ben sort of establishing his own identity, do you think that’s a legitimate concern?
A: It’s a concern but he’s smart enough and tough enough to deal with that I think and I’m not really worried about that.
Q: What made you believe that this was the guy to go after the 5th Lombardi trophy?
A: Again just having observed him for the last two years, observed how he handled the team on the field, how he acted like a teacher, the presence that he had, the kind of edge that he had on the practice field if things weren’t going particularly well, and the players responded to him and I could see that for myself. I know our quarterback is a big fan of his and so there were a lot of factors that went into it. He’s a smart guys, a tough guy, he’s had some great training under Mike McCarthy and then under Tom Coughlin. I think all those factors led us to believe that he was the right guy for the job.
Q: Were you worried about the lack of coaching experience?
A: Sure, you always worry about that. Until a guy has done it you just never know but again we think he has what he takes.
Q: John your father saw [Vince] Lombardi and [Tom] Landry leave for whatever circumstances, you saw John Fox leave, I know you were high on Fox.
A: And Sean Payton.
Q: Sean Payton, right. If you didn’t hire McAdoo now did you think you might have regretted it?
A: Yeah, because he obviously was our first choice, so yeah. If he had left and gone somewhere else we probably would have been very upset about that. Again the fact that he was a candidate for the Philadelphia job just accelerated the timing of the second interview. After the initial round of talking to six guys he was still my favorite at that point, and Jerry, so all the Philadelphia interview did was accelerate the timing of the second interview.
Q: John when you look at a guy like Mike Tomlin, no one really knew him before he got that job and became an outstanding pro coach. Do you think you found a diamond in the rough here?
A: Well we’ll find out. We won’t know that until he starts coaching but believe me I thought about the Mike Tomlin scenario quite a bit. He came out of nowhere and now he’s one of the best coaches out there. Let’s face it more of them fail than not but I think this guy has everything that you need to be a successful head coach. Now we have to help him and get him better personnel.
Q: Is he the guy to help restore the integrity and the stuff that you were talking about?
A: That’s why we hired him. We want him to bring back the pride to this team. It’s been a rough three and a half years.
Q: For you to say that this franchise has lost some of its credibility, how much did that eat at you?
A: Of course it tears me up. It’s been three and a half awful years and the last Super Bowl is a distant memory at this point. We long ago lost the benefit of the doubt with our fans and stuff. That’s what happens when you have three losing seasons. Really it’s been three and a half, it goes back to the second half of the 2012 season, and then the following three years have been miserable. It’s time to start on a new course.
Q: Did you discuss specifically the growth and maturity of Odell [Beckham Jr.] and was that an important question for you to hear from him?
A: Sure, absolutely.
Q: What did he have to say?
A: Pretty much what he said was what he said up here on the podium. He was upset at the way that it transpired, he put a lot of the blame on himself, and he realizes that he should have stepped in and done something. When you’re an offensive coordinator and you got that play sheet in front you, you’re not always focused specifically on what’s going on in situations like that. He’ll be the head coach now, depending on who he ends up with as his offensive coordinator, it’s possible somebody else will be calling the plays. I think he understands that you can’t let a situation like that linger.
Q: Was that important for you to hear?
A: Sure it was. To me it was unacceptable and stuff like that happens sometimes, look at what happened at the end of the Cincinnati game. I just don’t want our players to conduct themselves like that.
Q: You promoted Ben, sounds like Steve is staying, what makes you confident that enough change is going to occur?
A: First thing we have to do is get them better players. That comes through the Draft and we got some room to do some things in free agency too. One of the things that I liked about Ben was that he realizes that free agency is not the, be all end all. It’s still the Draft and you can fill in some holes in free agency but it’s still about drafting the right way. He has everything I think it takes – intelligence, toughness, work ethic, and I believe he does feel like he has something to prove. Everybody is going to say, “Oh you’re too young, you don’t have enough experience”, and I think that’s going to motivate him.
Q: John you have said Tom hired Ben. When did you first say, “We may be on to something here?”
A: Watching him in practice from his first day here through training camp and through the season there was just something about him that I liked. The way he taught, the way he occasionally had a little bark to him when things were not going well and it just seemed like the players responded to him well and that is one of the reasons I go to practice is to watch for stuff like that and he definitely made an impression on me.
Q: Players seem very happy with this move. Does that matter to you?
A: That doesn’t mean anything. It really doesn’t mean anything. I learned that a long time ago. They are always happy at the beginning and their job is to make me happy at the end of the year.
Q: Can you say how long of a deal you gave him?
A: No, we don’t talk about that.
Q: You announced that you had offered Tom [Coughlin] a position. Now that he has withdrawn his name from the Philadelphia situation have you heard from him?
A: No, I understand --- someone told me that he was here working out this morning so I did not get a chance to see him but we would like to have that discussion with him assuming that he is not going to be coaching this year and I guess he won’t be but I don’t know if that is final yet.
Q: John with all of the continuity when we eventually learn about the staff, are you comfortable with the outside perception that this was all Tom Coughlin’s fault?
A: The outside perception is what it is and I can’t do much about that. This is not about blaming Tom. This was an organizational failure on our part starting with me and working its way down. We all have to take some blame for that and now it is up to us to turn it around.
Q: You talked about Ben’s edge and his bark. Does he have to change that at all as a head coach?
A: No, I think you need to have that and I don’t think his personality is going to change at all. I think he has the right stuff.
Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch (Conference Call)
Q: What impressed you most about Ben and what are you looking forward to with him as the coach?
A: I think the quality that impressed me the most this morning was, I think Ben is confident and not arrogant. I think his confidence is going to be very, very valuable as he begins to lead this team. There was not a trace of arrogance and I really appreciated that. I thought he handled himself very, very well in his first time in front of the press, specifically the New York press. Also, his sincerity I think came through very, very clearly. I’m not a west PA guy, I’m a southern Jersey guy. Whatever is in the water in west PA, I think it sort of leads to a lot of great leadership qualities.
Q: What separated Coach McAdoo from other candidates?
A: I think two years of being the Giants OC is very valuable. It’s kind of like, for us, it’s not a first date. We got to know Ben over two years. His experience working with not only the players, but working under Tom and with Tom and Spags and the other position coaches. That experience is extremely valuable. My sense of Ben is that he’s a great student. I think those two years are a game-changer. I think those two years did move the needle in a very positive way. He’s not coming into a system that’s going to be new to him. There’s a tremendous amount of continuity because he’s been with the team for two years. The team he’s been with and the players who will continue on the team going into this season he knows. He knows the locker room, he knows the strengths and weaknesses of not only the players, but the staff, the organization. So for me, that was a game-changer.
Q: After the last couple of years, do you think there’s too much continuity? Can there be too much continuity?
A: I think generically, I think I would say too much continuity could be an issue. But I think based on Ben’s personality, the goals he has set for himself—he outlined how he’s going to approach his new position, his sort of four points of leadership—made me very confident that his game plan is going to be very, very effective and hopefully, very successful.
Q: Based on the challenges that Ben’s going to be facing as a first year head coach, what kind of support can you, Mr. Mara, Jerry Reese loan to him?
A: We’re going to be extremely supportive. A lot has been brought up about his age. I don’t think his age is a factor. I think his age, in my opinion, is a positive factor. He’s young, he’s in the best sense of the word, ambitious, he’s got a vision, he seems appropriately fearless. If John Mara, Jerry, and I start to feel that, in the first couple games of the season, that he’s getting it right and he’s doing it right and we’re putting some W’s on the board the first few games, he’s going to be very, very supported. It all depends, this is all prologue in opinion. It all starts when the season starts. I think he’s going to be extremely prepared. 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 develops, I’m optimistic that it’s going to a very functional, very successful working relationship.
Q: What was your feeling about Tom interviewing with the Eagles and how relieved were you that he did not take that job?
A: I haven’t spoken to Tom since he spoke to the Eagles and since he went out and spoke to the 49ers. You all know that no one makes decisions for Tom except Tom. Jeff Lurie is a friend, he’s a very good owner. I was not in the room and you guys were not in the room. I’m sure he was a very serious candidate and I’m not sure why he took himself out of being considered.
Q: Would it have been hard to see Tom wearing green over there?
A: Yes, it would have because I see Tom in blue and red.
Q: In your personal opinion, did the fact that the Eagles went after Coach McAdoo speed up the process a bit?
A: I think it was a bit of a catalyst to speed up the process. With the open head coach opportunities across the league and the number of candidates, it kind of becomes sort of a game of musical chairs. A couple of chairs were pulled, a couple of guys got jobs. John Mara, Jerry, and I were very focused on getting the right guy. When we first interviewed Ben we felt very, very positive for some of the reasons we all articulated last week and this morning. I think the Eagles situation did accelerate our decision, but at the same time, at the end of the meeting with Ben on Wednesday, we knew we were going to make the move and contact Ben’s representative’s right after he left the office. The Eagles situation, we weren’t totally aware of what it was Wednesday afternoon. We knew Ben was our guy. We’ve kind of learned more about the Eagles situation subsequent to reaching out to Ben’s representative’s than we did Wednesday afternoon.
Q: Just going back a little bit, why did you feel that at the end of the season that it was time to move on from Tom? Obviously you still a lot of respect for him and the job he’s able to do.
A: Look, after 12 years and getting to know not only a great head coach, but a fantastic human being, I felt it was time for the next chapter in New York Giants head coaching. Three or four disappointing were a factor. I like change when change is organic, not arbitrary. I felt John Mara felt in discussing this with me and Jerry that it was time for the next chapter. Because Tom Coughlin is such a gentleman and such a decent human being, the conversations were very, very—I don’t want to say easy because it’s not an easy topic—but Tom was a gentleman, a professional, and totally understood that his 12 years with the Giants were significant, appreciated that resulted in two Super Bowls. As the 16th head coach, it was a spectacular run. At the same time, time for a change.
Q: Obviously Ben was part of Tom’s staff the last two years. What makes you confident that this is enough of a change?
A: I think, as Ben articulated this morning, to quote him, this staff is fluid. He used that expression a couple of times this morning. I’m sure in the last 45 minutes, one of the things he’s been focusing on since the end of the press conference is staffing. I do believe that Ben understands how important staffing is, how important his relationship with Jerry Reese is going to be. When Ben said this morning that it’s going to be “evolution not revolution”—I get it. I think that’s a great phrase and I think it is going to be one of the qualities of how he approaches his head coaching position. He’s smart, he’s got a tremendous amount of experience for his age. One of the reporters brought up that 14 years ago he was coaching high school. He didn’t rise to the position he’s in today because of any of the jobs, starting when he a high school coach, were gifted to him. He earned those jobs, he’s earned the positions he’s had. He earned the position at the Packers and working with McCarthy. The arc of his career rise is, I think, something that should be acknowledged because it’s pretty remarkable. Every step along the way of his professional journey has been ascending, not descending. He’s really, in my opinion, earned the position we have given to him. I also think he’s humble. When he sort of mentioned a lot of people from his past who he wanted to thank, for me that was noteworthy that he mentioned players. I saw that as a man who is acknowledging not only coaches he’s worked with, but players who have had an impact on his career and who Ben has impacted their careers. There’s a real humanity to acknowledging players. I just find him to be everything we want in our head coach. I guess, starting today, I’m very excited about the reality that Ben is the New York Giants head coach.
General Manager Jerry Reese
Q: This is an exciting day in Giants history. How does it feel to have the coaching search over and you’ve hired the 17th head coach in Giants history?
A: Well we’re excited here, it’s a big deal for us. We feel like we got the right person for the job. Ben has a lot of work cut out trying to build his coaching staff. We’re going to do everything we can do to help him in the process.
Q: What was the process like for you in your first time being a key part of that process? What did you think of the process and what do you take from it?
A: It is what it is—it’s a process. We took our time, we were thorough, and we really interviewed some good candidates. We decided on Ben and we’re happy with that decision. We’re looking forward to getting started so we can build this football team back to be the New York Giants that our fans expect.
Q: What was it about Ben that stuck out to you the most?
A: Well all the guys were good, it was nothing in particular. We talked about it, we came to a consensus on who we wanted and Ben got the nod.
Q: How much did Eli Manning and his love for this system have to do this hiring?
A: Everything was part of the process. We took that into consideration and we took everything into consideration. There were some guys who have been head coaches before who really interviewed well. The entire process, all six candidates that we interviewed, they were terrific.
Q: What stood out most about Ben though?
A: Again, everybody was good. Again, he’s been here, we think he is the coach for the future for us. Everybody interviewed well. I don’t think anything stood out different from other guys. We came to the consensus about who we wanted to pick and Ben was the guy.
Q: What about the change? You worked with Coach Coughlin basically since you became the GM. Now new person, new identities and everything, how do you approach the change?
A: Well everybody is different. It’s important for us to have a great relationship. Tom and I had a great relationship. Ben and I will do the same.
Q: What do you expect to change? What is going to be different in your mind?
A: Football is football. We’ll sit down, we’ll put our heads together, and we’ll make tough decisions together. We’ll build a football team with a winning tradition that we’ve always had around here.
Q: In those interviews you’re, for the most part, the football guy in those interviews. You know mostly about the X’s and O’s as compared to John and Steve. How much of this, for you, is what he does offensively is right for the NFL right now?
A: All of it is part of it. Ben said it’s not about just offense, it’s offense, defense, special teams. A game plan changes every week, you have to game plan around the team you’re playing and take advantage of your opportunities versus the team you’re playing. It’s not just about the offense, it’s a team as a whole—offense, defense and special teams.
Q: How closely do you plan to work with Ben when scouting free agents or looking forward to the draft?
A: Like I said, I’ve been here for 21 years—ever since I’ve been here our coaches, our head coach, and our personnel 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 GM’s responsibility, okay? It seems like we got that confused the last time, but it’s my responsibility if somebody doesn’t work out. Everybody is part of the process, okay? You guys got that?
Q: A lot of the names that have been mentioned for the staff have head coaching experience. How important is it to do that?
A: Anytime you have a new job, it’s a little bit of a learning curve. You can ask any head coach, their first couple of years it’s a learning curve. We think he’s very smart. He’s going to be ahead of the curve and we’ll be up and running quickly and get back to our winning ways.
Q: Will having guys like Steve Spagnuolo and Joe Philbin, will having those guys around him who have been there, be able to help?
A: We don’t want to talk about the coaches, it’s still fluid. It’s fluid with me as well. We’ll see where that goes.
Q: Is it important for you to have another guy there that has experience around him at least? Because he’s a first time coach, to have that guy to lean on?
A: It’s always nice to have somebody who’s been there, done that. But Ben’s a big boy and we’ll figure it out. The coaching staff is still fluid, we’ll figure it out.
Q: Ben talked about looking forward to the pressure. Are you looking forward to the pressure as well?
A: There’s always pressure, I’m not afraid of the pressure. Ben’s not afraid of the pressure. That’s what it is in the National Football League, its pressure. I don’t think anybody around here is afraid of the pressure.
Q: From your scouting background, you know how to assess talent, you look at players. When Ben came in the building, did you kind of assess him, if not from afar, just the idea of this guy is a potential candidate down the road as a head coach?
A: Of course, that’s always part of it. You always look at your coaching staff. There’s some young coaches on our staff I’ll look at and in the back of head, “This guy is going to be a coordinator. This guy is going to be a head coach.” So you’re thinking about those things.
Q: And you did see that in Ben?
A: Absolutely, I thought Ben would be a head coach. Absolutely.
Q: How important was his relationship and familiarity with Eli help Ben’s case here?
A: That was part of the process. That wasn’t the only thing, there were a lot 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.
Q: When’s the first time you heard of Ben? How much did you know about him when he first got here?
A: A couple years ago we were talking about making a change at the coordinator position and some names came up. His name was one of the first names to come up. That was my first introduction to Ben McAdoo.
Q: How much interaction did you have with Ben during his time as coordinator and how important has continuity become on the coaching staff?
A: Well continuity is good, but most importantly, it’s all about wins and losses. We expect Ben to come in and hit the ground running. He’s been here obviously, he knows the players. We have a lot of work to do to fill out the rest of the coaching staff. We’re starting to evaluate free agents and players already on the team. We’re working hard to move forward.
Q: What’s that balance like? You make the decision personnel-wise, he says he coaches the team. How much input goes back and forth?
A: Again, you are late to the party, we just talked about this. I’ve been here for 21 years, our head coach and our coaching staff has always been part of the process of evaluating players. We like for everybody to know the players and be a part of it. At the end of the day, it’s up to me with personnel. When things go bad in personnel, it’s my fault. Last week it seemed like we couldn’t get that right. It’s my fault if something goes wrong with the personnel, it’s my fault. You guys got that? Alright, thanks guys.