Dave Gettleman had the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl two years ago and the Giants are wasting no time considering him as the right man to lead Big Blue back, as well.
Gettleman, 66, interviewed for the Giants’ GM vacancy on Wednesday with co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch and former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, a great friend of Gettleman’s who is consulting on this selection process and who originally hired Gettleman as a Giants scout back in 1998 in Accorsi’s first season as GM.
Wednesday’s interview made Gettleman the first person not currently employed by the Giants to meet with the team about the job and the second overall. Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross had interviewed Monday with Mara and Accorsi and then met with co-owner Steve Tisch on Tuesday, the team said.
Ross’ interview also satisfied the NFL policy that requires at least one minority candidate be interviewed for any head coaching or senior football operations vacancy, dubbed The Rooney Rule, so the Giants can hire a GM at any time.
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Gettleman, while a 30-year NFL veteran who spent four seasons as the Panthers’ GM, is not quite an outside candidate considering he is very much a part of the Giants family, having worked 15 years for the Giants (1998-2012), including all but the first year as pro personnel director.
And Mara promised “wholesale changes” after firing both GM Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4. So Gettleman’s strong ties to the Giants might not seem to qualify him.
Still, Gettleman is a trusted and respected personnel man, and what will matter most is not only having a proven track record in the office but also making the correct coaching hire along with it.
It’s not known whom Gettleman would recommend, but Mara said he preferred to hire a GM first and then the GM would make the head coach hiring in conjunction with ownership.
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Gettleman was GM of the Panthers from 2013-16. In his four seasons, Carolina was 40-23-1 and won three consecutive NFC South titles. In 2015, Gettleman was named The Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year after the Panthers finished an NFL-best 15-1 and advanced to Super Bowl 50.
Gettleman was fired by Carolina on July 17 when Carolina owner Jerry Richardson decided he and Gettleman were no longer compatible. But when you think about it, after the latest shocking reports on Richardson’s behavior, being on the opposite page of Richardson now looks like a good thing.
In reality, though, the Panthers fell apart last year after their strong season, going 6-10 in 2016, and Gettleman’s falling out with veteran players Steve Smith, Josh Norman and DeAngelo Williams impacted his departure, too. Carolina was worried with negotiations upcoming for veterans Greg Olsen and Luke Kuechly, it could get messy.
The Panthers’ loss, though, could be the Giants’ gain.
Gettleman has been a part of seven Super Bowl teams, including three winners. He was with Buffalo in 1990 and 1991, Denver in 1997, the Giants in 2000, 2007 and 2011, and the Panthers in 2015. The Broncos and the 2007 and 2011 Giants won the championship. Gettleman has been associated with 16 playoff teams in his NFL career.
Gettleman joined the Giants in the spring of 1998 as then-pro personnel director Tim Rooney’s assistant. He was promoted to pro personnel director in the spring of 1999 upon Rooney’s retirement. Gettleman stayed in the position 13 years, traveling constantly to scout the Giants’ upcoming opponents and developing a thorough knowledge of every player in the NFL. In 2012, his final season with the Giants, Gettleman was the team’s senior pro personnel analyst.
Gettleman, born in Boston, earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Springfield (Mass.) College, and earned two master’s degrees: one in physical education from Southern Connecticut State (1978) and another in sports administration (1986) from St. Thomas University in Miami. He began his football career as a teacher-coach at Spackenkill High School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. As the head coach (1973-1978, 1980-1981), he led his teams to a pair of league titles.
The Giants are expected to interview several more candidates, including interim GM Kevin Abrams and candidates currently working for other NFL teams. But with Gettleman free of the constraints of a current employer, interviewing him quickly made sense, and whether it’s fair or not to those who follow, the Giants probably will be measuring all the other candidates up to him.
NFL Network also reported Wednesday night that the Giants on Thursday will be interviewing ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former director of pro personnel with both Washington and the Philadelphia Eagles.
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