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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ray Handley

I love telling the story of a dear friend.. his name was Garo Hampar. Gary, as we called him, was walking with us after lunch one afternoon, and the subject of the new Giants head coach comes up. Gary: "I don't know about this guy Handley. He said if he did not get the (offensive coordinator's) job he was going to go to law school. Now if I am calling the shots, that is not the guy I hire. Where is his commitment to the sport, to coaching? This smells of trouble."

Prescient. Two seasons later we saw the franchise take 50 steps backward. What talented players, wasted. And then I remember the words of Bob Trumpy, color analyst broadcasting one of the final Giants games of that ill-fated second season of disaster. The Giants were now playing for jobs for the NEXT head coach, so they played proud and played well vs the Chiefs. It was their only win in the last 7 games of the season. And then Trumpy makes some comments that make my stomach turn:(paraphrased)" I don't understand what the complaints are about Handley. He's a good coach, and he is getting a bum rap." Trumpy was upset at how everyone could pass judgment on a member of the football fraternity so quickly and not give him the benefit of the doubt. There is not a single Giant fan who has any positive memories of the Handley years. I like to juxtapose Trumpy's sloppy and misinformed defense of Handley with George Young's candid summary of the hire: "My worst decision."

11 comments:

Oxbay said...

Hiring Ray Handley might have been his worst decision of commission. His worst decision of ommission tops the Ray Handley one though. Never hiring Bill Belichick as HC of the New York football Giants is the worst professional mistake of George Young's career. Maybe Belichick would not have had the same success at the Giants as he enjoys at New England because he wouldn't have had the same control that he presently has.

I forget the name of the assisstant coach at NE who strongly urged the Patriots to draft Tom Brady. I do remember that Belichick hired him away from the Giants. A few years ago I read a profile of him around the time of one of NE's super bowl games. His widow was liberaly quoted; the poor guy got cancer and died young. In all probability Brady would have been on the Giants.

All in all Young would have had a better legacy if he had hired Belichick.

Andy F. said...

Mitch and now Oxbay- I thought Belichick got the Browns HC job BEFORE Parcells left. My understanding is that by Parcells leaving in May of 1991 instead of after the SB XXV victory, it meant Young's question of Belichick was moot.

Oxbay said...

Andy I agree with you about the timing as far as BB leaving for Cleveland before Parcells left. I'm not saying the timing would have ever been perfect. Somewhere somehow didn't Young have an inkling about Belichick's potential? His defenses with the Giants were not only talented they were smart and very well coached. After BB left Cleveland in 1995 he was not a head coach until 2000. I know the Giants had another guy. Still.

I don't have divided loyalties. I'm always with the Giants but I follow Belichick's team where ever he is all because of what he did with the Giants.

If Mitch has been singing the same tune lately I was unaware of it. My computer has some new ...itis that limits my face time with it.

At the same time as I croon this lament I realize when push came to shove Coughlin beat Belichick. Now that was sweet.

Mark said...

If I recall correctly, Coach Parcells recommended to GM Young to hire Handley.
I suspect, and this is my opinion only, that Parcells motives were self serving. One, his legacy as a SB winning coach is glorified since the successor coach sucked so baaaddd! And further Parcells coaching career was not over and he wanted to take his most able assistants with him.
He probably couldn't stop Belichick from going to the Browns, but figured his tenure would be short and he'd wind up back with him in NE anyway.
Just my opinion. Coach Parcells is an egomaniac.

xtian said...

parcells left after the super bowl 90 season. he f***ed over george young and the giants by doing this in may after the draft and after all the coaches were hired--while i certainly appreciate the sb victories, i also will always begrudge parcells for this, which he has done everywhere--so young did not have lots of choices, but he could have moved belichick from dc to hc instead of handley.

everyone knew belichick was brilliant, but the question was whether he had the personality to be hc. he was gruff and not very talkative. horrible with the media, which is where probably lots of this opinion came from. still, george made a mistake.

xtian said...

you're right, mark. parcells would do something like that--sabotage so he could benefit later--he is all about himself.

Andy F. said...

ditto all the Parcells comments. This is why you have to read the book "Good to Great" (Ultimatenyg book club). There he is, Bill Parcells, plain as day, a Level 4 leader, not a Level 5 leader, not the person who puts the organization first and assures a succession plan.

xtian- did Young have the choice of Handley vs Belichick? Not to sound like a broken record, but I thought BB was gone to Cleveland before Young had the Parcells vacancy.

Mark- I remember that too, Parcells recommending Handley now that you mention it. Thanks.

Oxbay said...

I guess I'll have to embrace being the odd man out today. I heartily concur with Tim Mara's words spoken in the locker room in Tampa after the SB win against Buffalo. He said Thank God for George Young. As far as I remember that's a quote. I agree with it too.

At the same time I'm very thankful that Parcells coached the Giants all those years and won two Super Bowls for them. I say Thank God for Bill Parcells, without qualification.

Now I suggest we repair to the local establishment where a pint of Guinness goes for $4, $3 at Happy Hour to explore Giantology and associated matters like the book Good to Great.

Andy F. said...

Amen, Oxbay. George Young really got the franchise back on track, and did a great job. It wasn't his fault Parcells left on such short notice. It forced him into a corner, and he bet on continuity with the season and new playbooks already in place.

As for Parcells, he put the franchise over the top. How many other coaches would have mismanaged the talents and excesses of LT? One poster on the Fifth Down referred to how Parcells had different sets of rules of players, the ones he trusted and the ones he did not. It worked.

Back to Young, I love the witicisms of the man. He was great. The thing that you always have to remember is that if the UMiami coach was there after '83 (3-12-1) Parcells would have never had the shot he had to turn it around. Humbling for ALL of us. The bottomline is that it took Young, Simms, LT, Parcells, Carson, Martin, Belichick... THE WHOLE CREW TO GO OVER THE TOP. All of these guys delivered the trophy to us.

xtian said...

andy, you're correct. i looked it up and belichick did start coaching cleveland in 1991, so he had already left for cleveland--the funny part is ernie accorsi hired him--before parcells quit. therefore gy could not have offered him the hc job. sorry, i did not remember correctly. now gy's choice of handley makes more sense.

Mark said...

1991: Five months after the Super Bowl Bill Parcells stuns the team by resigning after 7 seasons at the helm. With the announcement so late after the season, and the Giants "top" 2 assistants taking jobs elsewhere, the Giants were forced to settle on RB Coach Ray Handley. Handley was over his head from day 1 as he was thrown into the fire of a preseason Quarterback controversy. Should Phil Simms get his job back? Should Jeff Hostetler be given the job for his post-season performance? Eventually "Hoss" would win the starting job. The Giants would win their first game, but would struggle in the ensuing weeks, and stood at 6-6 when the QB Controversy raised its ugly head again. In a win in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers Hostetler sustained an injury leading Phil Simms to get his job back, but in a following press conference Ray Handley would show how ill-suited for the job he was when he stormed out at a reporter's question about the QB situation. The Giants would lose 3 straight before finishing at 8-8, missing out on the playoffs.

1992: The problems of Head Coach continue as the Giants continue to play terrible football. As the season wore on it was more and more apparent that Handley's days as coach were numbered, as the Giants would finish the season with a woeful 6-10 record.

http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nfl/nyg/nygiants.html

Go to the website and review how the Parcell's departure left a gigantic void that took many years to fill. Parcell is an egomaniac and never will deserve a place alongside gentlemen coaches like Shula, Walsh, Cowher, Noll, Landry, ...should I go on? I admire what he accomplished with the Giants, but he was only in it for Bill!

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