Tag Archives: New York Giants

The Early Trials of Ben McAdoo

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

It is widely known that players and coaches of New York’s professional sports teams are subject to scrutiny that might not exist for smaller market clubs. If he wasn’t aware of this before, Ben McAdoo, Head Coach of the New York Giants, now certainly understands the magnitude of operating in the epicenter of professional sports.

As the Giants near the midway point of the NFL season, they sport a record of 4-3 which falls a bit short of the hefty expectations that were placed on them heading into the year. This team, which missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in 2015, underwent a massive and expensive rebuild in the off-season. The Giants handed out over $200 million in free agency in an attempt to revamp an atrocious defense that plagued them last year and then followed suit in the 2016 NFL Draft when they selected cornerback Eli Apple with the 10th overall pick. However, the changes didn’t just come in terms of players but also with coaching. Following the disappointing 2015 season, two-time Super Bowl winning Head Coach, Tom Coughlin, decided to step down, leading to the eventual promotion of Ben McAdoo from Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach for the first time in his career. Obviously there were going to be a few growing pains stemming from the changes  made, but no one could have predicted the problems that would surround the Giants in the first few weeks of the 2016 season. To expect a rookie Head Coach to handle these problems with ease would be an unreasonable assumption.

Odell Beckham Jr., who has shined in his first two seasons with New York, has been a topic of discussion among the media so far this year. While the Giants were able to get off to a 2-0 start to begin the season, disappointment ensued when they relinquished a late lead to the NFC East rival Washington Redskins in a 29-27 loss. Beckham had the camera turned on him for the most part of the game due to the highly anticipated match up between him and CB Josh Norman. Beckham was able to have a very productive day, catching seven passes for a combined 121 yards and drawing multiple penalties. While he was able to do well on the field, what he did off of it was a different story. Following a stalled possession, Beckham took out his frustration on the sideline when he struck a kicking net that responded by bouncing back and hitting the receiver in the face. This humorous highlight was then played on loop in the following week while reporters discussed the player’s struggles to handle his emotions. In their next game against the Vikings, Odell once again had the spotlight on him when he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on a day where nothing went his way. Following these outbursts, Odell released a statement where he was quoted as saying, “I’m not having fun anymore,” when talking about playing football.

Odell seemed to have changed his ways in the next couple weeks where he manged to keep his emotions in check and make fun of his altercation with the kicking net on multiple occasions. But in a game against the Baltimore Ravens, after scoring a game winning touchdown to cap off a career day which included a staggering 222 yards receiving, he cost his team when he removed his helmet on the field leading to an unsportsmanlike penalty. These sideline tantrums have turned into an unnecessary distraction for a team with playoff aspirations and have also put Beckham’s teammates and coaches in a bad spot. McAdoo and the rest of the Giants’ players have voiced their support for the player but emphasized that these kinds of actions will not be tolerated anymore.

The other big dilemma that McAdoo has had to deal with in his first year as Head Coach involved Giants’ kicker, Josh Brown, who was accused of abusing his wife. After the team signed Brown to a two-year $4 million extension in April, the player was suspended for the first game of the season stemming from an investigation conducted by the NFL into his arrest in May of 2015. Although he was never charged in the matter, Brown certainly broke the NFL’s domestic violence policy but somehow only received a one game suspension. This minor penalty does not demonstrate what Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated would be the base-line punishment for any player involved in domestic violence. After the Ray Rice fiasco in 2014, Goodell announced that anyone involved in these kind of cases would receive a minimum six game suspension. But rather than focusing on how the league failed to uphold this policy, New York media looked at McAdoo as having mishandled the entire ordeal and questioned why a player like this was able to stay on the roster.

Things changed when new documents were released last week by the King County Sheriff Office that showed Brown admitting that he had abused his wife, Molly Brown, on multiple occasions. This caused the NFL to re-open their investigation into the case and the New York Giants organization did what they should have done in the first place when they officially cut Brown.

Following the release of Josh Brown, Giants President and Chief Executive Officer, John Mara, admitted that him and the rest of the team’s executives’ actions in accordance to the situation were “misguided.”  He stated that the information that was made available to them never showed any irrefutable evidence that Brown had been guilty of committing this crime but after the release of these new documents they concluded that it was time to part ways with the player.

With all of this said, is it reasonable to place the blame on Ben McAdoo for not handling this situation properly? No, but that is the reality of being in charge of a professional team in the biggest market in sports. As previously stated, the team was never given all the information about Brown’s case and when they finally were, they cut the player. Sadly, even though they did the right thing, they will still be criticized for not doing it soon enough.

Being a rookie Head Coach in the NFL is obviously no simple task, but add in the fact that that McAdoo has had to deal with a variety of sensitive issues while also considering the ferocious nature of NY media, it is almost impossible to operate under the radar. For now it seems like this issues have been put in the past, OBJ is well aware of the fact that he simply cannot continue to act the way he has been and Josh Brown is officially not the Giants responsibility anymore. Although, this doesn’t mean McAdoo can relax yet. He still has the duty of putting a competitive team on the field every Sunday, he has to figure out how to incorporate new formations and plays into an offense that has been exposed as being one-dimensional, and overall he has to be a leader for a team that is currently missing one. So far in 2016, the NFC East has shown it might be the best division in all of football and now that these problems seem to be in the past, the New York Giants can finally just focus on winning games.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Laremy Tunsil’s Historic Draft Slide

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The 2016 NFL Draft was held this past Thursday night in Chicago and there were some surprises to say the least. A couple of things that may have shocked some fans included linebacker Myles Jack falling out of the first-round, CB Eli Apple being drafted at No. 10 by the New York Giants, and the mind-boggling amount of former Ohio State Buckeyes taken in the first-round. But one thing that took everyone by surprise was how far offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil fell.

                                                                                    Image via http://www.clarionledger.com

A dramatic series of events led to Tunsil falling all the way to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13. This player, who was once seen as the number one overall prospect in the draft, saw his downfall begin moments before the draft. Exactly thirteen minutes before the start of the draft, a video was posted to Laremy’s verified Twitter account that showed the former Ole Miss Rebel smoking what is assumed to be weed from a gas-mask bong. After a couple of minutes the video was taken down and the account was then deactivated. The video may have only been up for a few minutes but the damage was done and once again the power of social media was demonstrated.

Even after Tunsil had been selected by the Dolphins the mayhem continued. After the pick, an image was uploaded to Laremy’s Instagram account that showed text messages supposedly between Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director John Miller and Tunsil. The conversation consisted of Tunsil seeking money from Miller to pay his mother’s rent and electric bills. Last season at Ole Miss, Laremy served a seven-game suspension stemming from similar accusations where he was found guilty of accepting improper benefits.

When it was all over, Laremy was still drafted in the top twenty but his fall cost him millions of dollars. In an article from ESPN titled Video kept Ravens from drafting Laremy Tunsil with No. 6 overall pick, writer Jamison Hensley discusses how the video impacted the Baltimore Ravens evaluation of Tunsil. The author writes, “The Baltimore Ravens would have taken Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the No. 6 overall pick were it not for the gas mask video that surfaced.” Even though he only talks about one team, it is probably fair to say the twelve other teams that passed on the prospect were thinking similarly. In the same article, Hensley writes something that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, “According to Schefter, Tunsil lost $7 million by falling seven spots in the draft.” Not only did this social media blunder tarnish the player’s image, but it also caused him to lose a lot of money.

It was very hard to watch this young man’s life just unravel right in front of us on one of the biggest stages in professional sports. But this is just the latest case of athletes suffering at the hands of social media. Recently it has been reported that the Dolphins believe Tunsil’s former financial adviser is who hacked into these accounts and posted the image and video. During the draft, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden gave his opinion on the issue, “We live in a glass house these days. … There’s a lot of money and people’s futures at stake. I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt Tunsil. Hopefully it’s a learning experience for him. He’s gotta clean this up if he wants to play in this league.” With this statement, Gruden echoes mine and surely many others opinions.

Following the draft, Laremy Tunsil admitted to the media that he had in fact taken money from an Ole Miss coach and that the screenshots were real. It is unclear whether the NCAA had already been aware of these actions since they had already suspended the player last season for the same reason. Now that Tunsil had admitted such a thing to an audience of millions, the NCAA will surely continue their investigation with the university.

This event is one of the most publicized examples of an athlete being punished for things that had been posted to their social media accounts. Obviously it is unfortunate for Tunsil to fall all the way to No. 13, but he is saying all the right things starting with accepting full responsibility for his actions. The player has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL but this will follow him for many years to come. It cannot be emphasized enough how big of a role social media plays in forming a person’s image and it is crucial for athletes as well as regular people to realize how to properly use these platforms. It is my hope that other athletes learn from this and don’t make the same mistake Tunsil did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reactions to Tom Coughlin’s resignation

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

As new head coach, Ben McAdoo sits in his office, evaluating the state of the New York Giants organization and Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. prepare for the Pro Bowl later tonight. One man is confined to his couch getting ready to watch his former superstars perform, Tom Coughlin.

After 12 years as the head guy in New York, on Jan. 4, Tom Coughlin decided to step down from the position. Coughlin leaves with an overall record of 102-90 and two Super Bowl rings while also having had the opportunity to coach multiple elite players such as Michael Strahan, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. During his tenure as Head Coach, something fans could always count on from the team was that the players were going to run out of that tunnel and play as hard as they could for Tom. It was hard to say that was true the past three years. Maybe that is what led to his resignation, or was it that the team had not made the playoffs since 2011? Or was his age becoming an issue? At 69 years old, Coughlin was the oldest coach in football. Any one of these reasons could have been the deciding factor for him to move on from the New York Football Giants.

At first it wasn’t clear whether Coughlin had stepped down under his own power, or the Giants had actually let him go, but out of respect told him he could tell the media he was resigning. Adam Schefter of ESPN cleared the air when he said Coughlin, “decided to step down before Giants asked if he wanted to stay.” Most New York media outlets running stories about Coughlin chose to describe the resignation as him stepping down or moving on from the organization; its easy to see the amount of respect that not only the fans have but also the media because instead of saying he resigned or was forced out they chose to use softer words to describe it.

During this past season, especially towards the end, there were pretty much two points of view on Tom Coughlin and his future with the Giants among fans and the media. One was that it was time to start fresh, after four years of missing the playoffs and having a losing record three of those years, most people were ready for a change. Many media sources wrote about Coughlin in negative but respectful ways, citing his multiple failed attempts at going for it on fourth down rather than kicking the field goal and more notably about how Coughlin didn’t remove Odell Beckham Jr. from the game when he and Carolina Panthers cornerback, Josh Norman, had multiple altercations during the game including trash talk, shoving and pushing, and even throwing punches at each other. The other view people had on the Tom Coughlin issue was that fans should stay loyal and the Giants organization should keep offering him one-year deals until he was ready to call it quits. Some people might have felt this way because of the two Super Bowls he brought to New York or because he brought the Giants back to elite status. The thing that may have swayed many loyal fans into having the first point of view was probably when the Giants were absolutely dismantled on Monday Night Football by the Minnesota Vikings, losing 49-17. When the team was pushing for the playoffs and playing in a huge Monday night game, they came out just flat and no one seemed like they wanted to be there or even cared about the outcome. With those circumstances, the team should have come out and played with a fire under them, but instead they rolled over and allowed the Vikings to do whatever they wanted.

All of the wins and losses, Super Bowls, and division titles are now just a thing of the past. All we can do now is look back at Tom Coughlin’s legacy with the Giants and it’s probably a safe bet to say that most people will remember him in a very positive way. He goes down as one of the best coaches in New York Giants’ history and we will all miss seeing him and his rosy cheeks on the sideline every Sunday.

Violence Again the Topic of Another Weekend’s NFL Headlines

By Nick Muhl

Many of this weekends National Football League games brought about more headlines discussing the violence and the aggressive nature of some of its players. Rather than game recaps and analysis, many media outlets have taken this opportunity to once again criticize the NFL for not doing a better job in educating players to avoid these types of incidents.

The largest incident this weekend by far came in the game between the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. Late in the third quarter, Jets quarterback Geno Smith and Titans defensive lineman Jurell Casey exchanged words following a play. Jurell Casey seemed to take offense to something Geno Smith said, and threw a punch into the right side of his helmet as Smith walked away. Chaos ensued after, with both teams clearing benches into a massive brawl.

In the game between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, Redskins receiver Santana Moss had to be ejected from the game after his furious outburst in the face of an official. Moss was upset after the officiating crew overturned a Robert Griffin III touchdown at the end of the first half.

Reporters and writers did not shy away from reporting on a heated exchange of words between Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. The two players only seemed to jaw at each other for the most part, but the conversation did not look like a friendly one.

While some of these examples may seem petty, it brings to light an important issue the NFL must face. Since news stories of Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Darren Sharper, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald broke, the NFL has tried to distance itself from being associated with questionable characters. All of these are either current or former NFL players currently under investigation in cases involving domestic violence, rape, child abuse, and other violent crimes.

This weekend is another example of how much work the NFL still has ahead of it, if it wants to repair its image and regain the respect of many. Sundays NFL games were another example of how the media will do everything it can to continue to highlight the NFL’s issue as long as it remains fresh on fans minds. The NFL may continue to grow frustrated with many media headlines, but they must focus on changing the culture of the NFL and it’s players if it wants to avoid further such headlines.

The Greatest Catch in NFL History?

By Savannah Malnar

Amazing things happen in sport games every day. Records are set and highlights are made. Perhaps one of the most impressive highlights, well, ever, was made this Sunday during an NFL team.

Odell Beckham of the New York Giants made what seemed like an impossible catch. With three fingers. Watch here:

This catch made headlines around every media and social media outlet on the internet. Not only did it litter the front pages, but it also drew many comparisons to other impressive NFL plays. Yahoo! Sports writer Frank Schwab released an article that did just that; it compared Beckham’s catch to every other catch that could have been called the greatest in the NFL.

The catch was compared to historical plays such as “The Catch” by Dwight Clark in the ’81-’82 NFC Championship game, Santonio Holmes’ Super Bowl winning catch, and Calvin Johnson’s catch in triple coverage. Despite this impressive list of highlights, the only play that beat out Beckham’s was the “Helmet Catch” by David Tyree who played for the Giants as well.

There is something about the use of comparisons that make articles interesting to read. This technique can be found in many articles pertaining to impressive plays in every sports. It’s a highly effective form to draw in fans attention and not only expose them to the more recent top-10 worthy highlights, but also plays that will go down in history.

Perhaps the reason comparisons in sport media are so effective is because it allows the fan to decide for themselves. The writer in question may take a side, but sport media writers seem to always mention that their picks are open for interpretation and frequently ask for feedback from their readers.

When it comes to Beckham’s catch, I personally think that it cannot be called the greatest catch in NFL history without it holding any sort of playoff, conference championship or Super Bowl impact. While it was certainly impressive (well, practically impossible), the greatest and most well remembered catches always spawn from those pivotal games we as fans enjoy most.

What do you think?

Merging World and Sport Headlines: Sport Media Coverage of Ebola

By Savannah Malnar

Sports are so integrated into our society that when there is a significant world event, it is inevitable that said event will slip into ESPN or other sport headlines. The Ebola epidemic is no exception.

It was only a matter of time until this major headline seeped into sports. When going to ESPN’s home page, right above the major headline ticker is a small tab that says “Ebola Concerns in the NFL.” This should be no surprise, with the primary cases of the disease in America being centered in Dallas, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Giants are scheduled to play in Dallas this Sunday, October 19th. Local news sites in both Dallas and New York are littered with headlines all telling the same story: The Giants were briefed by their medical staff about the disease and on ways to be cautious while there.

The fact is, all NFL teams have this information available to them through the league and their infectious disease partner, Duke Infection Control Outreach Network.  Despite this, it was reported by Dan Graziano of ESPN that the Cowboys themselves have barely talked about it as a team. Jason Garrett, coach of the Cowboys, was asked if addressed his team regarding the disease. He responded: “Really haven’t, to be honest with you. I don’t think it has directly affected us. So it hasn’t been something we have addressed directly with our players.”

The world media has certainly been all over the Ebola epidemic. The sport media may be soon as well. Already it seems every sport media source, local and national, has published an article regarding the Giants’ briefing on the disease.

While it is still very early to be extremely concerned, the sport media needs to be careful to present the information fairly and not over exaggerate. All the articles regarding the Giants were fair in saying the players were not concerned about going into the region where the disease was (though they may not bring children and wives along to this game, as a precaution), with Eli Manning saying, “I’m not worried about myself or the team. With what we’re doing and where we’re staying, I think we’ll be fine.”

Ebola is a fair concern in sports where traveling is a necessity, but the sport media should consider to err on the conservative side of reporting on it until it is clear whether players in any sport are in any real danger of contracting it through travel.

ESPN throws Freeman under the Bus

BY OLLIE GOSS

The day after a Monday Night Football game, SportsCenter usually starts off by airing highlights from the game, analysis, and post game press conferences from the winning team. This was not the case this past Tuesday following a hard to watch Monday Night Football game involving the Giants and the Vikings.

SportsCenter began with a small montage of Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman getting sacked, overthrowing receivers, and analysts verbally ripping the quarterback to shreds.

ESPN focused on the inadequacies of a quarterback who has only been with the team for two weeks instead of the Vikings coaching and management that set him up for failure on a nationally televised game.

ESPN could have decided to lead SportsCenter with reaction of the New York Giants notching their first win, highlights from the three NHL hockey games from the night before (all decided by one goal), or even a preview of the World Series. 

Instead, ESPN put a dunce hat on the NFL quarterback that underperformed and has made, the once promising prospect, now the laughing stock of the league instead of the people in power that set him up for failure.