When asked in September what it would take for woebegone general manager Dave Gettleman to keep his job after the 2020 season, Giants co-owner John Mara cast a wide net. Despite two straight embarrassing seasons with Gettleman at the helm, Mara didn't pinpoint a specific number of wins. Instead, he offered the following outline for what he expected.
We need to feel like we’re building something that is going to compete for a championship. If we are able to play meaningful games in December, that would be a sign that we are doing that.
On the one hand, the Giants accomplished that goal. Their last game of the season was meaningful. They needed a win to have a chance to make the playoffs and they got it. We'll get to the sad nature of why in a minute, but regardless, they won the game and were within an Eagles win over Washington of making the playoffs. The Eagles tanked instead and the Giants were left on the outside looking in.
It's the first part of that quote from Mara, however, that makes you wonder how on earth Gettleman isn't being fired, because he deserves to be. Yes, he had his best offseason in 2020, both in the draft and free agency. But in no way shape or form are the Giants close to building a Super Bowl contender. If their 6-10 record in 2020 wasn't enough of an indication, the fact that they only beat one team with a winning record in seven opportunities this year should be.
And yet here we are, on the day Mara is expected to address the media, and the word is Gettleman is keeping his job for another year. This despite the team he assembled accumulating 15 wins against 33 losses in three seasons with him as GM. This despite the obvious fact that the Giants, even if they made the postseason with their embarrassing record, had no chance of winning one game, let alone "compete for a championship."
The Giants have a longstanding history of not moving on from general managers quickly. Before Gettleman, they've only had three since 1979. Yet those three men, George Young, Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese, built teams that had winning records and made the playoffs by year three. It appears coming close to making the playoffs with a 6-10 record in year three is good enough these days.
Giants fans have every right to be upset by this decision. Gettleman has not only presided over one of the worst teams in the league during his tenure, he's also made several boneheaded decisions in the draft and free agency that have set the Giants back years.
The argument can be made that his notable free-agent acquisitions this offseason (James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Logan Ryan and Graham Gano) were smart and his first two draft picks in 2020 (Andrew Thomas and Xavier McKinney) appear primed for strong careers. But does that offset the confusing overpays of Jonathan Stewart and Golden Tate in free agency or the complete draft whiffs on first-rounders Dexter Lawrence, Deandre Baker and, yes, quarterback Daniel Jones? It appears Giants ownership believes the answer is yes.
The Giants were only in contention this year because the best team in the division finished 7-9. They barely eked out a win over the Cowboys in Week 17 strictly because quarterback Dak Prescott was injured and backup Andy Dalton played horribly. They were blown out by three playoff contenders in the three weeks prior and only just squeezed out a win over the 4-11-1 Bengals, who were without Joe Burrow. How is that progress?
Three years into his tenure as GM and the Giants are no closer to competing for a championship than they were when Gettleman was first hired in 2018. While Giants ownership has never been quick to pull the trapdoor underneath GMs in the past, they should have here. They'll learn their lesson next season when Daniel Jones and Co. are no closer to winning a Super Bowl than they were this year. It's just a shame fans have to come along for that ride.