David, “Get the Hell Out of New York” Man!

Congratulations to the New York Giants for officially becoming the worst run football team in the National Football League, and congratulations to the mastermind behind the scenes, Dave Gettleman.

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“Very honestly, it's not my responsibility to tell you guys what I'm doing.” —Dave Gettleman, New York Giants General Manager

If you were born in New York at or around the turn of the century, you’ve probably noticed the love-hate relationship between the people of New York City and their sports teams. For so many years, the centerpiece of the back page of New York newspapers and tabloids has always been the New York Knicks. The one thing harder than building a dynasty over the span of a decade is being laughably bad for more than a decade. The New York Knicks, placed in the center of the sporting world, brought out the purest form of hatred and anger out of the angelic people New Yorkers are known to be. Madison Square Garden is arguably the most famous arena for sporting events in the world, but the New York Knicks have disgraced all the teams that have graced the Eden Garden for as long as we can remember. James Dolan, the “mastermind” behind all this, is unanimously known to be the worst owner in all of basketball. It is safe to say that Dolan will join Dan Gilbert and Dan Snyder as first-ballot Hall of Famers in the Hall of Fame for the most hated owners. But it's time for you to move over Dolan, because there is a new guy in town who wants your throne: Dave Gettleman. The New York Giants are making New York sports fans reach levels of hysteria and disappointment they didn’t even know they were capable of.

Gettleman is doing the impossible. He’s giving the Knicks a run for their money. And those guys gave Joakim Noah a $72 million contract. This season sums up one of the historically worst off-seasons in the history of the New York Giants. The first mistake Gettleman made was tricking himself into believing that Eli Manning had a few years left in the NFL as a starting quarterback. Manning can’t hit a billboard from 20 yards out. Right now, it's questionable whether or not Eli Manning could win a starting spot in the Stuyvesant Peglegs’ starting squad. The second mistake Gettleman made was letting Landon Collins walk for free. Collins is one of the three best safeties in the NFL and has been the leader of the Giants’ defense since he was drafted out of Alabama. Collins was the only consistent performer the Giants had every Sunday. He had to play nearly perfect games just to keep James Bettcher’s defenses head above water. But the Giants didn’t even have the courtesy to franchise tag their defensive anchor; instead, they just let one of the best defensive players in the NFL walk into free agency. And here is the cherry on top of the Landon Collins catastrophe: Collins signed a deserving six-year $84 million contract with the Washington Redskins, the Giants’ division rivals. There is no doubt in my mind that Collins will prove to his new employers that he deserved every single dollar of that new contract when he plays the Giants twice next year.

But the worst decision Gettleman made this offseason is trading away Odell Beckham Jr. one year after the Giants had just given him a $74 million contract—the largest contract for any wide receiver in the league. As a Giants fan, I laugh and cry every time I even think about it. In its stupidity, this trade by Gettleman ranks at the same level as the Brooklyn Nets trading away their entire future for the retirement years of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. OBJ had a combination of speed, acrobatics, route running, and pure athleticism that you get maybe every few decades. He’s arguably the best receiver in the league, given the load and responsibility he carries for his team on the offensive side. As good as Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins are, none of them carry the responsibility of being the one and only aerial threat on their team. Before the Giants’ drafting of the best running back in the league (Saquon Barkley), Odell Beckham Jr. was playing with a bag of potato chips and a mop. With over 5000 yards receiving and 44 touchdowns in his first five years[1], Odell has put up unbelievable numbers ever since he entered the league. This is the worst management decision in New York sporting history; it’s up there with the Knicks re-signing Carmelo Anthony. Now, some may argue that the Browns compensated the Giants fairly well with the 17th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft—that is, in addition to the safety replacement Jabrill Peppers and another pick. But wait—the Giants messed that one up too.

The Giants, in fact, won’t have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft because instead of recognizing that they are the worst team in football, they stubbornly decided that they needed to win meaningless games at the back end of the season and lose out on a top three draft pick, which they would have secured if they just tanked a lost season. For the first time in their lives, fans of the Giants can thank the Cowboys, specifically Dak Prescott, for playing an incredible game in week 17 against the Giants, winning 36-35 and salvaging the sixth pick in the draft for a team that is collapsing from the front office to the players. But the Giants are scared that Dwayne Haskins, quarterback of Ohio State, will not be there to pick at six. So instead of having two picks to compensate for trading away a generational talent, the Giants will get one pick in the first round to pick a one-year starter at Ohio State, naively hoping that he lives up to his potential.

Gettleman is an old school general manager working for an old school franchise in a league that is leaving them behind. Gettleman and the Giants have a tendency to make player and coaching acquisitions based on a gut feeling because they believe it’s the old school Giants way. Gettleman obviously hasn’t watched “Moneyball” (2001). What a shame—it was one of Brad Pitt’s greatest works). That gut feeling method just doesn't work anymore. The key to success in professional sports these days are in the numbers. Teams are striking gold on cheap players that perform consistently by performing their respective roles. Statistics get you consistent and coachable players who become good contributors to playoff times. Just ask the Patriots—they’ve only won about six Super Bowls in the past two decades. A gut feeling gets you a 32-year-old running back in Jonathan Stewart, who packed on more pounds than rush yards last season. But maybe it’s for the best because now Gettleman and the Giants won’t get a chance to waste the prime years of OBJ. But then again, maybe the OBJ trade was a passing of the torch from the Cleveland Browns, who have been the laughing stock of the league for over a decade now, to the Giants, the current laughing stock of the NFL for possibly many years to come.



[1] Missed four of 16 games in 2014, 12 of 16 games in 2017, and four of 16 games in 2018