One day after a 24-17 loss at Oakland on Sunday, the New York Giants released head coach Ben McAdoo. He was replaced by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. General manager Jerry Reese was also let go by the Giants as part of the shake-up.
McAdoo was hired by Mike McCarthy immediately after Big Mike became head coach in 2006. He first served as tight ends coach for six years, and then became quarterbacks coach in 2012 and 2013. He has a Super Bowl ring courtesy of the 2010 Packers.
In 2014, McAdoo joined Tom Coughlin’s staff with the Giants, serving as their offensive coordinator for two years. In 2016, he was named head coach. The team’s record zoomed to 11-5 — after going 6-10 the previous two years — and the Giants went to the playoffs, losing to Green Bay 38-13.
Prior to his departure, McAdoo’s Giants were 2-10 this year. Their season was marred by several player injuries, including the loss of receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for the year in week 5 due to a fractured ankle that required surgery. Off-the-field controversies also plagued the team, including some team suspensions for violation of team rules — one being McAdoo’s feeble handling of a dog-peeing stunt by Beckham.
For the game at Oakland, McAdoo replaced QB Eli Manning with Geno Smith – ending Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts – which engendered further hostility from many of the team’s fans.
Here’s how writer SB Nation Christian D’Andrea explained it: First Ben McAdoo lost games. Then he lost his locker room. Then, just days after a Thanksgiving loss to Washington, McAdoo made his most controversial move yet — benching starting quarterback Eli Manning in a desperate attempt to save his job. After that, there was no going back.
Football followers like to look at one’s “coaching tree” as a way of assessing a coach’s legacy. Big Mike’s tree is rather barren. Besides McAdoo, a previous assistant, Joe Philbin became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2012, but he never finished above .500 in four seasons. He’s now an assistant coach with the Colts.
There was also Jeff Jagodzinski, who McCarthy hired to be his first offensive coordinator in 2006. He left to become head coach at Boston College in 2007 and 2008. Though he had two winning seasons, going 11-3 and 9-5, when he interviewed to be the head coach of the New York Jets, he was fired the next day. Except for one year in the United Football League, Jagodzinski has never made it back to being a head coach.
Mike Holmgren, on the other hand, has an impressive coaching tree. NFL head coaches who had served under Holmgren are: Jon Gruden, Marty Mornhinweg, Mike Sherman, Andy Reid, Pat Shurmur, Dick Jauron, Jim Zorn, Steve Mariucci and Ray Rhodes. Holmgren was Green Bay’s head coach from 1992 through 1998, and Seattle’s head coach from 1999 through 2008. His win percentage in Green Bay was .670 and it was .541 in Seattle.
For McAdoo to go from 11-5 to being fired during the following season has got to be one of the most rapid falls from grace in the annals of the National Football League.