*Ernie Accorsi joined Big Blue Kickoff Live Friday to recap the Dave Gettleman Introductory Press Conference: *
When Ernie Accorsi retired at the conclusion of the 2006 season, he gave a recommendation for his successor as general manager of the New York Giants.
It came down to two names within the organization: Jerry Reese and Dave Gettleman. He chose Reese that day. Eleven years later, he went with Gettleman, who on Thursday was named the team's fourth G.M. since 1979. Accorsi was brought in to consult in the selection process.
"You have to be an evaluator of talent," Accorsi said on Giants.com's "Big Blue Kickoff Live" shortly after Gettleman's introductory news conference on Friday. "If you're not an evaluator of talent, even if you are a leader, even if you're a good delegator, even if you're a good manager, you've got to be – this is an extreme statement -- but you have to be the smartest personnel guy in the room. Because if you're not, the scouts won't respect you and the coaches won't respect you.
"And sooner or later, your success or failure is going to be determined in your team-building and your ability to pick players, pick them at the right positons when you get the opportunity and build a championship team. So that's number one and when it comes to Dave Gettleman, to me that is his number one characteristic."
Gettleman, a 30-year NFL veteran who most recently spent four seasons as general manager for the Carolina Panthers, first joined the Giants in 1998, which was Accorsi's first season as general manager. He started as an assistant to then-pro personnel director Tim Rooney's assistant. Gettleman was promoted to pro personnel director the following year upon Rooney's retirement, a position he remained in for 13 years. In that time, he traveled constantly to scout the Giants' upcoming opponents, developing a thorough knowledge of every player in the NFL.
"I always knew that you were going to get a good, solid evaluation out of a player," Accorsi said of his work. "And if you look at our free agency signings, whether it's Antonio Pierce, or Plaxico Burress, or Shaun O'Hara, we didn't miss many. Some of them were solid; some of them were great. But I mean his recommendations weighed heavily on my decisions."
Gettleman became the team's senior pro personnel analyst under Reese in 2012, his final season with the Giants. Gettleman then got the big job in Carolina.
"Well in any time a person has never done a job, whether it's a coordinator and you're promoting him to head coach or you're hiring him as head coach, you never know when he gets -- what I always say 'puts the hat on,'" Accorsi said. "They're two different jobs from being an assistant coach where you can be a little closer to the players and a little friendlier to the players. The same with the pro personnel director. Ultimately, it was going to be my responsibility and if it didn't work out, I was the one that was going to get the heat, not Dave. And now he is sitting in the chair, and no one knew for sure but I felt very, very strongly that he would be a terrific general manager."
During his time, the Panthers went 40-23-1 and won three consecutive NFC South titles. In 2015, Gettleman was named The Sporting News' NFL Executive of the Year after the Panthers finished 15-1 record and advanced to Super Bowl 50.
He was dismissed by Carolina this past July. In December, the Giants did the same with Reese. But just because their career paths have been linked for decades, Gettleman and Reese have their own ways of operating.
"Well first of all, about that argument, Dave hasn't been here for five years," Accorsi said. "He was busy building a Super Bowl team. When he was here, we went to three Super bowls, so I don't know what's wrong with the way we did things. There are a lot of clubs in this league, not the last couple years, but there are a lot of clubs in this league that patterned themselves after the New York Giants because we did things so well. … So it's not like we need to apologize for the way things were being done."
Accorsi added: "But as far as when things didn't go as well, he wasn't here. What he was doing was building another Super Bowl team. So I don't see where that ties in at all or makes any sense. As far as the differences between the two, they're just two different personalities. Look, they went right down to the wire when I retired. It was a tossup between those two, and you know I recommended Jerry, but if it had been Dave, I would have been just as happy."
Now he doesn't have to choose. Both have gotten the chance to put on the hat.