As the figurehead for one of the few remaining family-based ownerships in the league, it can be said that John Mara knows more about football operations as an owner than most others. Having overseen two Super Bowl victories since his father’s passing in 2005, Mara is one of the league’s most respected owners amongst both the league itself and the Giants fan base. Having overseen three straight disappointments however, including the team’s worst record since Mara became the team’s president, this offseason represents the biggest test of patience and loyalty yet.
“Obviously I am very disappointed about this past season. Sick about it, as a matter of fact. Certainly not what I expected or what any of us expected,” Mara said of the team’s disappointment. “6-10 is an embarrassment. With that being said, I do think there is some reason for optimism going forward. We had some young players really develop who we are excited about. We have had two pretty strong drafts in a row that we feel good about. We were still 6-10, so obviously we have a lot of work to do.”
Nobody would have blamed Mara for wanting to make changes organizationally and in the coaching staff after yet another disappointment, but Mara made it clear that both Tom Coughlin and General Manager Jerry Reese will return for 2015.
“Steve Tisch and I still feel very strongly about Tom Coughlin as our head coach. That is why, as many of you have already reported, we have asked him back for next season. We still believe in him. I believe the players still feel very strongly about him and the one thing that struck me during the season, even as bad as things got during that seven-game losing streak, they still played hard for him. There was no lack of effort there. They were still very attentive during practice and on the sidelines and their effort never waned, even though the results were not what we had hoped for.”
In his opening statement John Mara highlighted some growing young talent and his faith in the team’s 2013 and 2014 drafts has contributing factors that the team is moving once again in the right direction. Mara gave Jerry Reese a vote of confidence but also put him on alert as well, expecting yet another strong draft in 2015.
“I still believe, very strongly, in Jerry Reese and our organization. We have a lot of quality people working here. We have had two very strong drafts in a row. We need to have another one. I think with that and with another year under this new offense, we have a chance to be a good team next year. Obviously, that is a tough sell right now when you go 7-9 and 6-10, but I still have a very strong belief in this staff and in this organization. I think we are going to be a good team next year, but we need another strong draft. We need to make certain improvements on both sides of the ball, which we will address this offseason and then we will move forward.”
It can be said about good NFL owners that they show patience and faith to their employees through both the good times and the bad. With what looks like a “one last chance” scenario for Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese, Mara hopes his faith has been well placed.