Tuesday, January 4, 2011

John Mara sez the Giants aren't the Yankees

Between the holidays, the snow, and the lack of much of happening in Yankeeland this days, I haven't had much to squawk about as of late. Until now, that is. (Actually, I did have plenty to squawk about in general, like how Mayor Bloomberg treats the outer boroughs like something stuck at the bottom of his shoe, and how most Staten Island streets were completely impassable at the same time he's telling people to go see Broadway shows. But I digress. It's not really sports-related!)

Anyhow, Squawker Jon's Jets are in the playoffs (although Rex Ryan's wife foot fetish video creeped me out), but the Giants aren't. Despite that, Big Blue co-owner John Mara inexplicably decided to keep coach Tom Coughlin after yet another late-season collapse. And in doing so, Mara kind of dissed the New York Yankees. He told the media this, after the Giants didn't make the playoffs:

"In this society everybody wants to fire the coach all the time," Mara said. "The Yankees get knocked off in the playoffs, everybody wants to fire the manager. We don't do that here. He's going to be our coach."
Puh-lease. The managerial revolving door in Yankeeland ended a long time ago. The Yankees have had all of three managers in 20 years, one of whom wasn't quite the right fit for getting the team the ring, one who got them that ring (and three more) but stayed on three years too long, and another got them a ring, but who should lose his job next year if the Yankees have another disappointing playoff round.

At any rate, in the case of Joe Torre, the Yanks made the mistake of keeping him on too long for precisely the same reason Coughlin gets to keep his job -- because he got the team a championship (four, in Torre's case, as opposed to Coughlin's one.) That's not a good thing.

Wally Matthews had an interesting take on this for ESPN New York, saying that the Giants should be like the Yankees in demanding excellence: 
The Giants are not the Yankees? Well, why not? And since when was being like the Yankees such a bad thing, anyway?

The Giants should be more like the Yankees. So should the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. Winning should be the focus for all of them, and the pressure to perform should be on everyone on all their payrolls, all the time.

But Tom Coughlin is coming back. As a lifelong Giants fan, I am outraged. And I think you should be, too.
I agree with that in general, although I don't think the Yanks kept to that in Torre's case, until three years of first-round playoff exits forced their hand.

Anyhow, Matthews continued the argument, saying:
But if you took the entire Giants 2010 season from beginning to end, from its shaky 1-2 start to its high point, the 41-7 win over the Seahawks on Nov. 7 that had a lot of people believing the Giants were among the best teams in football, to their shameful collapse over the final month of the season, and changed the name "Giants" to "Yankees," and the name "Coughlin" to "Girardi," how do you think the story would have ended?

That part is true. But I would argue that if you change Girardi's name to Torre's there, the media would still say he deserved to keep his job. That Giants loss to the Eagles a few weeks ago, was as big a regular-season collapse (letting Philadelphia score 28 unanswered points in the final eight minutes of the game) as the 2004 ALCS defeat was in the playoffs. And it wasn't the first time the Giants choked, or looked sloppy, or lost a game they should have won. It begs the question, how long does the coach get a pass because of the ring?

Joe Torre was never able to win a single playoff series after the 2004 collapse. All keeping him on did was prolong the inevitable. As I think keeping Coughlin will. And now there's talk of a contract extension? Good grief. What, Jeff Fisher (another overrated coach) wasn't available?

I mostly agree with Matthews' general take on Coughlin, although I give the coach more credit for the Super Bowl victory than Matthews does. The columnist slammed him the hardest for the way Coughlin screamed at rookie punter Matt Dodge after the Eagles debacle:
Aside from being utterly unprofessional, it was the ultimate CYA move, a gesture designed solely to let everyone in the place know that it wasn't Tom Coughlin's fault, it was the kid punter's.

Can you imagine Joe Girardi doing that on the field to a player who missed a sign or made an error that cost the Yankees a game?
No, but I can imagine a certain untouchable Yankee manager scapegoating his superstar by batting him eighth!

At any rate, the lesson Mara ought to learn is that sometimes -- like in doing what's best for your team -- it's good to be like the Yankees. But make that the Yankees after the 1995 and 2007 seasons, not the Yankees after the 2004 season! Sometimes, stability for the sake of stability will continue to bring you futility.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

Finally, a new Squawk! Anyway... Remember how close Coughlin was to getting fired in 2007? Then the Giants went on that amazing run.

Maybe, once again, we're seeing the real Coughlin. He has lost the players. The players have to respect the coach, but the coach has to hold the players' respect. Otherwise, you get what happened in Dallas: Those cowardly Cowboys quit on Wade Phillips, then, getting Jason Garrett, they decided to START acting like men. Wasn't enough and too late. Coughlin is maybe 4 games next season away from becoming Phillips.

As for the Jets: I notice that Rex flaps his gums over everything, even covers up embarrassing stuff about his players -- maybe there's a bit of Belichick in him after all -- but once something embarrassing came up about HIM, he was all, "Uh, it's a personal matter... " As Arte Johnson would say, "Verrrry intereshting. But shtupid."

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