The Giants are such a mess that it brings to mind one of the saddest and ultimately heartwarming tales of all time.
No, it’s not the story that Ben McAdoo showed the Giants at the beginning of training camp about Frasier, the over-the-hill turned sex-crazed lion who lived out his final years as the king of the jungle, which was an interesting way to get the players fired up for the season.
Frasier was a good guess, however.
It’s the Lion King, silly.
The Giants used to be the gold standard of the NFL. They were a little late getting to the party in the Super Bowl era but have won four titles starting in 1986, which puts them in second place by themselves in the last 30 years behind only the Patriots, who have won five.
They had a seamless transition in 2005 when patriarchs Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch passed away within three weeks of each other and the baton was handed to John Mara and Steve Tisch. The Giants won their last two Super Bowls under their watch.
So far, so good.
The East Rutherford Pride Lands never looked so healthy.
But now Scar has taken over and is setting brush fires that turn into dumpster fires without warning. The Pride Lands are being destroyed.
Who plays Scar in this Big Blue movie?
Let’s just say it’s a combination of high-priced actors:
Players with no regard for discipline and with no clue about the storied tradition of the franchise; coaches who fail to impose sanctions until it’s too late; the owner who runs the team on a daily basis curiously developing a managing style of acting reactively instead of proactively; a general manager who refuses to be publicly accountable; and, the best player on the team who thought it was a good idea to take a boat ride on the SS Dysfunction in Miami seven days before a playoff game and nine months later walked on all fours in the end zone in Philly and then lifted his right leg as if to pee.
Stay classy, Giants.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie deserved his indefinite suspension, but it also seems like it’s a makeup call by McAdoo, Jerry Reese and John Mara to try and create a culture change after Odell Beckham created one of his own with his antics. DRC’s actions may have prompted just a private meeting if it happened before OBJ’s peeing in the park episode, but if that embarrassing lack of respect resulted in the Giants taking back their team from the players, then it will be a good thing.
Nowhere in OBJ’s contract did it say he got to set policy, but he is such a great player, but also so volatile, that the Giants were scared to scold him.
Mara, who is known as a man who does the right thing, somehow felt backing Josh Brown last year was more important than the damage it would cause to the Giants’ brand and his reputation and the wrong message it sent of condoning Brown’s behavior. The Giants brought back Brown in 2015 even after being informed of his domestic violence arrest. One year later, they signed him to a new two-year contract with a raise.
Mara had looked Brown in the eye and felt he needed to show compassion and aid him in his attempt to turn around his life. It turned out to be a bigger mistake when even more damning information about Brown was revealed, forcing the Giants to finally cut him more than a year too late. Why Mara decided to take a risk on a nearly 40-year-old kicker who had been with the team only three years still is hard to figure out.
The enabling of OBJ began when Tom Coughlin failed to sit him for even one play during his fistfight game with Josh Norman in 2015. That was the first indication the Giants had sold their souls in exchange for trying to win a meaningless game in December and that Coughlin’s “Giants Pride” catchphrase was pretty hollow.
Proving he is an equal opportunity coach killer, Beckham put together a greatest hits list for McAdoo’s rookie year in 2016, which included his strange romance with the kicking net, losing his temper as Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes shut him down, the all-nighter in Miami in the dance club with Justin Bieber followed by the boat trip and then the worst game of his career in the playoff loss in Green Bay.
Beckham then punched a hole in the wall outside the Giant locker room at historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay. He carried that momentum into this year by sending a message he wanted a new contract by skipping OTAs, then declaring he wanted to be the highest-paid player in the league. He sprained his ankle in a preseason game in Cleveland and missed the opening regular season game. He celebrated his first TD acting like a dog and two weeks later declared McAdoo’s offense was predictable. His season ended last week when he broke his ankle against the Chargers and then he posted a picture with Drake by his hospital bedside.
For all of Lawrence Taylor’s problems off the field, he never acted like a knucklehead on the field.
This is a different era. Players get paid so much they have become corporations. OBJ makes twice as much per year from his Nike contract as LT ever did in one season playing for the Giants.
The Giants won 11 games last season and winning covers up a lot of problems. The 0-5 start causes fractures way beyond the epidemic of broken ankles.
They need to sign Simba, a young free agent lion with leadership potential, to reclaim the Pride Lands.