Shortly after New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride unexpectedly announced his retirement, head coach Tom Coughlin said he wasn't the fall guy for a disappointing 7-9 season. And while that may appear to be true on the surface, had Gilbride not retired, he was, in fact, destined to be the fall guy.
While appearing on WFAN 660 on Thursday afternoon, Giants co-owner John Mara was asked about Gilbride's retirement, and without pulling any punches, admitted he was glad things didn't boil down to Gilbride being forced out.
“Well, he retired. And fortunately it didn’t come to any type of situation where he had to be forced out," Mara said, who had previously blasted the Giants' offense for being "broken."
Although Tom Coughlin was fully prepared to fight for Gilbride, his fate had already been sealed. The Giants struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball, finishing near the bottom of the league in nearly every statistical category, and team owners felt change was necessary.
“I think going forward having a change is probably going to be good for us,” Mara said.
Ultimately, Gilbride's decision to retire may have been what saved Tom Coughlin. While the notion of his termination seems unlikely and far-fetched, there had already been rumors circulating that he and ownership were at odds over Gilbride's job. And when asked on Thursday if any consideration had been given to firing Coughlin, General Manager Jerry Reese admitted to ESPN Radio that it was an option on the table.
"Everything is considered every year," Reese said, appearing to avoid a more direct answer about whether the team discussed firing Coughlin.
At the end of the day, the situation sorted itself out. Gilbride retired, Coughlin remained and no pride was damaged.
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