The darkest Monday on the annual NFL calendar has arrived, but not necessarily for the New York Giants. While news of head coach firings carpetbombed the landscape following the conclusion of Week 18 — Matt Nagy, Mike Zimmer and even an unexpected move on Brian Flores — things were mostly quiet for Big Blue. It appears they’ll mostly stay that way, with Joe Judge expected to remain head coach of the Giants heading into the 2022 season, per CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson.
Change will instead come only at the general manager position, the team announced on Monday, with Gettleman having informed some in the building of his plan to retire this offseason. It could be argued Gettleman is potentially calling it a career in New York in lieu of a potential firing, but that’s neither here nor there, as he readies to part ways with his organization on his own terms — something neither Ryan Pace in Chicago nor Rick Spielman in Minnesota will have the luxury of doing.
Gettleman issued a statement regarding his decision.
“It was a privilege to serve as the general manager of the New York Giants the last four years and to have spent so many years of my career with this franchise,” he said, via the team’s website. “We obviously have not had the on-the-field success I expected, and that is disappointing. However, I have many fond memories here, including two Super Bowl victories, and I wish the team and organization only the best moving forward. There are many good people here who pour their souls into this organization.
“I am proud to have worked alongside them.”
Owner Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch weighed in as well.
“We would like to thank Dave for his commitment to this franchise,” they said in a joint statement. “He has had a highly accomplished 35-year career in the National Football League. Dave was integral in building three of our Super Bowl teams, including two championship teams, and we wish Dave, his wife Joanne and their entire family all the best in his retirement.”
Mara will allow him to exit quietly, and after infamously noting last offseason just how “impatient” he had become, still presumably has plenty for Judge. The Giants finished 4-13 in 2021 and are now 10-23 with Judge as head coach, and despite the firing of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett midseason, the team’s production failed to improve any.
While it’s fair to point at the injury to Daniel Jones as a key reason, plays like the one witnessed in Week 18 against the Washington Football Team — wherein the Giants basically turned over and showed their proverbial belly to end the season — are fully attributable to a head coach who tries vehemently to brand himself as the leader of a team who leaves it all on the field and plays to the last whistle.
Judge is afforded the third season that was justifiably not granted to McAdoo or Pat Shurmur.
Things devolved this season to the point where Mara offered a free medium Pepsi to fans as a means of trying to convince them to attend games, a nod to just how poor the product on the field was and has been for some time now. And while the Giants owner also made it clear he’s concerned he’ll “lose credibility” with the fans if things don’t “turn around quickly,” he also didn’t issue a playoff mandate for Judge or Gettleman, and is now sending the message he’s perfectly fine with riding out the hurricane with the latter.
That storm came equipped with a fairly empty parking lot outside of MetLife Stadium on Sunday, and it all begs the question of just how long Giants fans will continue to support Mara’s decisions. That is for time to tell, though, because the call for 2022 is another season of allowing Judge to call the shots, the Giants having now failed to make the playoffs since 2016 — when Ben McAdoo was driving — their only postseason appearance in the last decade.
As for the start of their GM search, Mara says he’ll spare no expense.
“This will be a comprehensive search for our next general manager,” said Mara. “We are looking for a person who demonstrates exceptional leadership and communication abilities, somebody who will oversee all aspects of our football operations, including player personnel, college scouting and coaching.”