By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
The published reports ended up being correct. Ben McAdoo lost his job on Monday.
The Giants fired the second-year head coach and general manager Jerry Reese not long after New York fell to 2-10 with a 24-17 loss in Oakland on Sunday afternoon, the NFL Network reported.
McAdoo will hit the unemployment line unapologetic over his historic and tragically flawed decision to bench Eli Manning for Geno Smith.
He was dead certain he was right in getting a younger quarterback in there for loss to the Raiders. No argument there. But he was dead wrong about the way he did it and who he did it with. And when co-owner John Mara expressed his red-faced anger about his coach’s tone-deaf decision, McAdoo stuck by his action. Not only that, but he went so far as to contradict Mara a day after the owner proclaimed his anger, saying everyone was on the same page.
Big argument there. Manning deserved better than that humiliation. He deserved better than being treated like some dispensable second-year kid.
But then, that’s a theme that ran throughout McAdoo’s two seasons as Tom Coughlin’s successor.
Often wrong; never in doubt.
So now, for his pigheadedness and arrogance, and a benching that even had Sunday’s opposing coach Jack Del Rio dancing because, you know, even under the worst of circumstances Manning is still a better option than Smith, McAdoo gets his.
And in that, the voice of the late Wellington Mara is no doubt echo hauntingly through the hallways: “It’s good to see arrogance humbled.”
So it goes. Few will shed a tear seeing McAdoo leave this disaster. Certainly not after so much swamp water had flowed under the overpass. The offense looked little different than the stuttering unit of the past two seasons since McAdoo rose from effective offensive coordinator to ineffective head coach. The defense gave up big plays. Landon Collins and Brandon Dixon dropped interceptions on Sunday that were so easy, even they couldn‘t have dreamed them up.
Appropriately, his quarterback of choice took a major role with his two first-half fumbles. The first squashed a penetration to the Raiders’ 28 with the game tied 7-7. The second, as the clock ticked off the final seconds to halftime, came two plays after the Giants took over on downs at the Raiders’ 9, trailing 10-7.
Typical Geno. Held the ball too long and cost his team two chances at potential game-changing scores.
If it sounds familiar, it should. Just ask the Jets.
It wasn’t all his fault. Just like Manning took way too much blame — especially from his coach — for the offense’s shortcomings of the past two years. Smith did his share of scrambling. He took three sacks as the Raiders pushed past that makeshift mess of an offensive line.
The backs didn’t come close to 100 rushing yards — again.
Still, Smith proved in a single start that he’s definitely not the Giants’ quarterback of the future. But then, that debate might have existed only in McAdoo’s mind.
The interim, be it defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo or whoever else they assign to take this final four-game hit, may do things right. Start Manning and let the score or Manning’s performance dictate when Davis Webb comes in.
In any case, the Giants should have seen the last of Smith. Relegate him to the junk pile. Put him right next to Manning’s 210-game starting streak that never should have ended this way.
Put him alongside McAdoo’s head coaching career, where it will sit until the former coach learns something about humility.
Especially when the owner tells him he’s wrong.
The Giants have seen enough of both, but especially of McAdoo.
Please follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino