Longtime NFL Executive Discusses Philosophy, Manning, Beckham, And How He'll Make Big Blue Great Again

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dave Gettleman sounds about as old school as there is.

The longtime NFL executive was introduced as the Giants’ new general manager Friday morning, less than 24 hours after he was hired to replace Jerry Reese, who was fired in early December after 11 years on the job.

“To be standing here as the new general manager of the New York Giants is a moment that has not escaped me,” said Gettleman, 66, who worked in the Giants’ front office from 1999 until 2012.

Gettleman was the Carolina Panthers’ GM from 2013-16. During his four seasons there, Carolina went 40-23-1 and won three consecutive NFC South titles. He was named The Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year in 2015 after the Panthers finished with an NFL-best 15-1 record and reached Super Bowl 50.

He, however, was fired this past July, something he chose not to discuss during Friday’s news conference.

Back in New York, however, Gettleman made a strong impression on the Giants, said co-owner John Mara.

“His knowledge of the personnel in the National Football League is second to none,” Mara said. “I think he has excellent evaluation skills, he’s a great communicator, he’s got strong leadership qualities and, most importantly, he’s a man of integrity.”

A Boston native, Gettleman has worked on the staffs of seven Super Bowl teams, including three champions. He was with the Buffalo Bills for two of their Super Bowls in the early 1990s, with the Broncos when they beat the Packers after the 1997 season, with the Giants in 2000, 2007 and 2011 and with Carolina in 2015.

He said his only goal is to restore the Giants to glory.

“I’ve been hired to win,” Gettleman said. “The only promise I can make is I’ll do everything in my power to lead this organization back where it belongs. That’s my goal. That’s my intention. It’s going to get done.

“My plan is to come in here every day and kick ass, and I’m going to keep doing it until they take my key card or the Lord calls me home.”

Gettleman is inheriting a mess. The Giants, who came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations, are 2-13 heading in the finale against visiting Washington on Sunday. Things went off the rails early, as Big Blue started 0-5 and suffered season-ending injuries to top wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. With the team 2-10 following a loss in Oakland on Dec. 3, ownership pulled the plug on Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo.

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Along the way, disciplinary problems and a saga involving veteran quarterback Eli Manning cast the team in a bad light. The Giants have lost three in a row under interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo and five straight overall.

“I believe in communication, collaboration and brutal honesty,” Gettleman said. “The more minds you can wrap around an issue, the better off you will be. The biggest mistake general managers make is closing their doors and trying to fix the problems themselves.

“It’s my job to protect the franchise. I’ll make the tough decisions, and I have no problem doing that,” he added. “Football is the ultimate team game. Culture is critical.”

Gettleman said he believes in running the football, stopping the run and pressuring the opposing quarterback — things the Giants haven’t done consistently in some time.

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As for who the next head coach will be, Gettleman said his intention is to hire a total-package leader of men.

“The head coach job is a CEO job,” he said. “You need intelligence. You need leadership. You have to hire a guy with vision.”

Gettleman also took questions about the team’s two biggest stars, Manning and Beckham. There has been speculation the Giants could move on from Manning, who still has two years left on his contract. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has said repeatedly his intention is to stay with New York for the rest of his career. Gettleman said he’s moving forward with Manning as his starter “as of now,” but added he wouldn’t rule out taking a quarterback in the draft, too.

There is also a belief by some that the Giants may not want to spend big down the road to keep Beckham, an all-world talent with a mercurial personality. The team has already picked up his fifth-year option, but Gettleman admitted he needs to get to know Beckham before he can gauge what the future might hold.

“Ernie (Accorsi) taught me long ago: Don’t quit on talent,” Gettleman said. “(Beckham is) obviously an extremely talented kid. Who doesn’t want a lot of money?”

A big part of the Giants’ problems of late has had to do with a lack of a running game. Gettleman said that problem will be corrected in part by addressing the issues up front.

“We’ve got to fix the offensive line, let’s be honest,” he said. “Let’s not kid each other.”

The bottom line with the Giants’ new GM is winning, but Gettleman made it clear the players who will make up the 53-man roster going forward have to be about more than just winning.

“I don’t want guys who want to win,” Gettleman said. “I want guys who hate to lose. That’s a professional football player.”