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RoanokeFan
01-19-2012, 10:35 AM
GIANTS' GM JERRY REESE: FAILURE NOT AN OPTION (http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/7477909/2012-nfl-playoffs-failure-not-option-new-york-giants-gm-jerry-reese)

"Jerry Reese was sitting at his desk Wednesday, a window on the practice fields
behind him, the road to San Francisco in front of him, when his voice suddenly
rose while recalling that first meeting with the head coach.




</p>

Reese was promoted by the <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/nyg/new-york-giants">New York
Giants</a> on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday five years back, hired as the
first African-American general manager of a New York football team. He knew Tom
Coughlin as a Giants scout and personnel guy, but he needed Coughlin to
understand something as his brand-new boss.</p>




</p>

"Tom," Reese told him, "failure is not an option to me."</p>




</p>

Coughlin's face suddenly brightened as if flipped on by a switch.</p>




</p>

"Those were the first words I ever said to him as GM," Reese recalled in an
interview in his office with ESPNNewYork.com. "And you could see it immediately
on Tom's face, kind of like, 'Hey, I think we've got the right guy here.'"</p>

The right guy? Who was saying that when the Giants announced the retiring
Ernie Accorsi was being replaced by the anonymous Reese, a small-college safety
who never played in the NFL, the great-grandson of a sharecropper, a kid from
Tennessee who grew up skinning hogs in a backwoods slaughterhouse?</p>




</p>

Chris Mara, a respected talent evaluator and brother of the co-owner John,
desperately wanted the job. Chris was influential in the trade for Eli Manning (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/5526/eli-manning), in the drafting of Ahmad Bradshaw (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10693/ahmad-bradshaw), and he'd ignored other
opportunities around the league to wait for Accorsi to retire.</p>




</p>

Only the Maras' 50/50 partners, Steve and Jonathan Tisch, didn't want a GM
who would've been unfireable, and Reese became the compromise candidate. John
Mara broke the news to Chris, broke his brother's heart, but shared the Tisches'
belief in Reese as a prospect who might become a front-office star.</p>




</p>

"And every now and then," Reese said, "I'll tell John, 'You had to have some
nuts to walk out there that day in January five years ago and say, 'OK, this is
our general manager,' to the New York press. Everybody's like, 'Who is this
guy?' and 'Where did he come from?' John just told me, 'You earned it. You
deserved it.'"</p>




</p>

But back to that opening meeting with Coughlin, who had nearly been fired in
the immediate wake of the 2006 season. When Reese told him failure wasn't an
option, he wasn't talking about his own career as a GM. He was talking about the
aspirations of young African-American executives-to-be.</p>




</p>

"A lot of people suffered, including Martin Luther King," Reese said, "for me
just to have the opportunity to be here."</p>




</p>

He planned on honoring the suffering and sacrifices with a work ethic and
success rate that would open doors for the next generation of Jerry Reeses, and
no, nobody said it would be easy. Last summer, when Steve Smith (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10495/steve-smith) and Kevin Boss (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/10596/kevin-boss) left, when <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/2410/shaun-ohara">Shaun
O'Hara</a> and <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/2885/rich-seubert">Rich
Seubert</a> were cut, when Plaxico Burress (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/2139/plaxico-burress) signed with the Jets, Reese
got his share of letters, emails, and voice mails from irate fans wondering what
in the world he was doing.
</p>Every GM in every sport knows the drill. Some actually wished poor health on
Reese, and some Jurassic-minded fans questioned if he was qualified for the
job.




</p>

"Nobody ever came out and called me the N-word, but I do think it got racial
at times," Reese said. "In '07, guys were saying, 'Wellington Mara is rolling
over in his grave,' and 'I can't believe they hired you.' It's just part of the
deal. I'm my own worst critic, anyway."</p>




</p>

Reese never backed away from the challenge. In fact, during training camp
before the 2007 season, the rookie GM reviewed a roster that had 8-8 written all
over it and actually had the nerve to say, "I think we have as good a chance as
anyone else in the National Football League, period, to win the whole thing.
There's no question in my mind."</p>




</p>

Of course, the Giants won the whole thing, and Reese became the first
African-American GM to claim a Super Bowl title. Two days after his team beat
the 18-0 <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/ne/new-england-patriots">New England
Patriots</a>, Reese sent an email to Doug Williams, the first African-American
quarterback to claim a Super Bowl title.</p>




</p>

"I will keep pushing," Reese wrote. "I won't let you down."</p>




</p>

So he kept pushing through the Burress shooting in 2008, through the
playoff-free seasons of 2009 and 2010, and through the kind of low-profile
offseason in 2011 -- re-signing Kevin Boothe (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/9762/kevin-boothe), signing David Baas (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/8447/david-baas), etc. -- that inspired some fans
to call for a new GM. Reese responded by declaring the Giants a playoff team,
and by later telling ESPNNewYork.com the following:</p>




</p>

"I think this team is good enough, yeah, to go all the way. I do. I do."</p>




</p>

Now Reese is on the brink of going 2-for-2 in his Super Bowl forecasts, and
his summertime choices are looking smarter by the possession.</p>




</p>

Steve Smith? "He had 107 catches [in 2009], and we won eight games," Reese
said. "In his big year we went 8-8. I love the kid, he did a terrific job for
us, but with his injury situation it didn't make sense for us to pour a lot of
money into that contract."</p>




</p>

Kevin Boss? "He had 35 catches and [531] yards," Reese said. "I thought the
tight ends we had could duplicate that."</p>




</p>

Plaxico Burress? "We knew we had 20 touchdowns and 2,000 yards coming back in
Hakeem Nicks (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12586/hakeem-nicks) and Mario Manningham (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11329/mario-manningham)," Reese said. "We knew Victor Cruz (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13553/victor-cruz) had flashed, [Ramses] Barden (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12555/ramses-barden) and [Domenik] Hixon (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/9716/domenik-hixon) were coming back, and we'd
drafted Jerrel Jernigan (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14040/jerrel-jernigan). We just needed one of them
to step up."</p>


David Baas? "Not a sexy move," Reese said, "but we had him as the
highest-rated guy in free agency at his position and we knew we had a couple of
old, hurt guys [O'Hara, Seubert] on the offensive line that we were going to
move on from."
</p>Kevin Boothe? "I said he became our priority," Reese said, "and everyone
went, 'You've got to be sh---ing me? But he knew our system, we could fit him in
anywhere on the line, and he's been great for us."




</p>

So has Cruz, the undrafted, unwanted one who finished with only 1,536
receiving yards. Reese had no idea Cruz would immediately ascend to NFL stardom,
but then again, another New York GM, Branch Rickey, said luck is the residue of
design.</p>




</p>

"That offseason Super Bowl thing," Reese said, "Philly won it this past
season. They went out and made big, sexy moves, and other teams have done that
in the past. But this isn't fantasy football. You have to make the right offers,
and you can't panic in free agency if players don't take them.</p>




</p>

"My job is to make us relevant every year, and give us a chance to make the
playoffs and win the Super Bowl. You do that by making good football moves for
your team."</p>




</p>

And by making tough ones, too. Reese won a contract staredown with <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/495/michael-strahan">Michael
Strahan</a> in the '07 camp, and another contract staredown with Osi Umenyiora (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/4514/osi-umenyiora) in the team's latest camp.
Wednesday, the GM pointed to a visitor in his office and spoke of the pain of
firing proud and accomplished Giants.</p>




</p>

"Players sitting right where you are," Reese said. "Richie Seubert, <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/941/amani-toomer">Amani
Toomer</a>, <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/stats/_/id/4669/david-tyree">David
Tyree</a>. The hardest part of my job is telling those people that we're going
in a different direction. I've watched guys cry right in front of me. It's
terrible. I absolutely hate it."</p>




</p>

On Reese's desk rests a bottle of fish-oil pills (to keep his blood pressure
in check), a pamphlet of passages titled "Encounter with God" and a small,
loose-leaf notebook that serves as his daily diary. The GM tries to read the
devotional literature every day and write down his thoughts on the passages'
meaning.</p>




</p>

Though not as publicly expressive about his faith as Tim Tebow (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13200/tim-tebow), Reese revealed he experienced a
spiritual awakening years ago. "We've won the Super Bowl, and I've been the GM
of the Giants," he said, "but totally submitting my life to Jesus Christ is my
biggest accomplishment ever, and it's not even close."</p>




</p>

Reese prefers to limit his interviews, to let the players and coaches bask in
the glow of another NFC Championship Game. He doesn't wear his Super Bowl ring,
he said, "because it's big and gaudy, and because it happened so long ago. I'd
like to get a new one to wear."</p>




</p>

He's 48 now, and his career is just getting started. As a calm, reserved
voice inside a calm, reserved franchise, Reese has a chance to match or exceed
George Young's 19-year run as Giants GM, and to match or exceed Young's two
titles.</p>




</p>But the cause is much bigger than Jerry Reese himself, which is why failure
is not an option on the road to San Francisco and beyond."

Spedracer
01-19-2012, 10:45 AM
That is a great read.

EZ_E
01-19-2012, 10:50 AM
Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

AllTuckedUp
01-19-2012, 11:03 AM
That was great.

RoanokeFan
01-19-2012, 02:27 PM
Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

[Y]

Gianthunter
01-19-2012, 02:36 PM
Reese owes many thanks to Coughlin and staff.

Snappinnecks
01-19-2012, 02:44 PM
Awesome article. Thanks for posting!

BigBlue D
01-19-2012, 02:47 PM
Thanks for the read [H]

UK-Giantsfan
01-19-2012, 02:47 PM
yes JR owes TC a huge favour this season for coaching an injury plagued , depleted side to the verge of glory

Bluesmagoo
01-19-2012, 02:48 PM
Great Read! There is just no part of the Giants organization that I don't admire. Alot of class for alot of decades. And I think that Eli might be the best example of this.

bubblesmcgee
01-19-2012, 02:50 PM
Good read. The man has been great for us. He predicted it all. Kevin who? steve who?

BornLegend
01-19-2012, 03:29 PM
Why is it that a positive post like this can get so little feedback but an ignorant, moronic, asinine, absurd, idiotic, racist and every word in the dictionary that describes the word stupid post can go 20 pages long? It's definitely not a good look and I refuse to debate in verbal nonsense on a week that's celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

Mod_C
01-19-2012, 03:43 PM
Great Read! There is just no part of the Giants organization that I don't admire. Alot of class for alot of decades. And I think that Eli might be the best example of this.

Class starts at the top. If the ownership has it, so will everyone else if they want to stay.

RunwithPower
01-19-2012, 03:44 PM
Great article. I had doubts about Boss leaving and who would replace Smith's receptions. Every time Ballard or Cruz made a big play this year I screamed Jerry reese's name in jubilation at the TV. Guess he knew wtf he was doing!!!

slipknottin
01-19-2012, 03:44 PM
Reese owes many thanks to Coughlin and staff.

lets not forget Reese is the one who has kept coughlin through all the teams troubles as well...

Its pretty mutual at the top it seems.

Mod_C
01-19-2012, 03:45 PM
Why is it that a positive post like this can get so little feedback but an ignorant, moronic, asinine, absurd, idiotic, racist and every word in the dictionary that describes the word stupid post can go 20 pages long? It's definitely not a good look and I refuse to debate in verbal nonsense on a week that's celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

My friend, that is the question of the century. There is obviously more interest in the negatives for some inexplicable reason. Good news stories fall to the wayside very quickly here.

Gianthunter
01-19-2012, 03:53 PM
Reese owes many thanks to Coughlin and staff. lets not forget Reese is the one who has kept coughlin through all the teams troubles as well... Its pretty mutual at the top it seems.Exactly. Which for me has always made the yearly TC is fired multi threads absurd.

scoopscj
01-19-2012, 04:03 PM
That was great.[H]