The New York Giants have fired coach Pat Shurmur after the once-proud franchise took a step back by winning four games in a season marked by a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak.
The Giants also announced Monday general manager Dave Gettleman will return despite seeing the team win only nine games in his two seasons.
Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch informed Shurmur of the decision Monday, less than a day after the Giants (4-12) failed to play the spoiler role and saw the Philadelphia Eagles beat them 34-17 to win the NFC East.
“Steve and I have had many extensive discussions about the state of the Giants,” Mara said. “This morning, we made the very difficult decision that it would be in the best interest of the franchise that we relieve Pat of his duties. The last three seasons have been extremely disappointing for the organization and our fans.’’
Mara said the owners share in the responsibility for the slide, which included a 3-13 record in 2017 and 5-11 in Shurmur’s first season.
“The last two seasons have been a continuation of what has been a very difficult and disappointing period for our franchise,” Tisch said. “It is never easy to part with someone the caliber of Pat. But John and I came to the conclusion that we need a new voice in the coach’s office and made the decision to bring in new leadership.’’
The four-time Super Bowl champions have missed the playoffs seven times in eight years.
Mara and Tisch believe in Gettleman. They think he has assembled a good nucleus of young players led by halfback Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones.
“We believe he is the right person to lead us going forward,’’ Mara said. “Dave has a long record of success. We think he’s capable of putting a great team together and he’s going to get that opportunity. To the extent we need to make changes in personnel or the way we do things, we’re going to discuss that.”
Shurmur had refused to speculate about his future after the game. He felt the franchise, which dates to 1925, was in better shape than when he took over in January 2018. He noted the organization now has salary cap room for free agency and draft picks, including the No 4 overall selection in 2020.
The Giants’ wins this past season were not impressive. They beat Washington (3-13) twice, Miami (5-11) and Tampa Bay (7-9).
Mara had said before the season he wanted to walk off the field after the final game feeling the team was making progress. He didn’t get what he wanted.
Shurmur came to the Giants after a successful stint as the offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, where he turned Case Keenum from an average player into a star for a year. It was hoped he would revive Eli Manning’s fortunes but it never happened. The two-time Super Bowl MVP was reduced to a backup role when Jones, the No. 6 pick overall in the 2019 draft, was made the starter in Week 3 this season.
The 54-year-old Shurmur’s chances of success were hurt by a bad defense that was constantly making mistakes in the 3-4 front installed by coordinator James Bettcher.
This was Shurmur’s second head coaching job. He went 9-23 in two seasons with the Browns, the same record he had with the Giants.
His firing is the Giants’ third coaching change since Tom Coughlin was fired after the 2015 season. Offensive guru Ben McAdoo, who had been hired from Green Bay as a coordinator, replaced Coughlin in 2016 and led the Giants (11-5) to their only playoff bid since winning the Super Bowl after the 2011 season.
Washington fire president Bruce Allen, eye Ron Rivera to coach
Bruce Allen was mocked four years ago when he proclaimed that his perennially last-place Washington were “winning off the field.” More eye rolls arrived more recently when Allen defended the club’s “culture.”
After a lot of losing on the field and all manner of public-relations disasters off it, Allen is out as president of the NFL team once coached by his father. He was fired Monday, a move announced by owner Daniel Snyder a day after a 3-13 disaster of a season was capped by one last embarrassing loss, 47-16 at rival Dallas.
From the outset of the 2010 season, Washington went 62-97-1 with Allen serving as Snyder’s right-hand man, a stretch that featured only two playoff appearances and zero playoff victories.
“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as president of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization,” Snyder said in a statement issued by the team. “Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington.”
There could be another important move soon, too: Ron Rivera, fired as coach of the Carolina Panthers during the season, was visiting Washington on Monday.
Allen was hired as Washington’s executive VP and general manager in December 2009, then promoted to president in May 2014.
Only once in Allen’s tumultuous tenure did Washington even manage to win as many 10 games and it finished at the bottom of the NFC East five times.
Just one team in the 32-club NFL had a worse record this season, and Washington own the No 2 pick in the next draft.
Jay Gruden, who was given a contract extension by Allen, was fired after an 0-5 start to this season, his sixth — the longest stint for a head coach under Snyder — and replaced by offensive line coach Bill Callahan on an interim basis.
So the always-in-disarray Washington are now in need of a president, a general manager and a coach; whoever is hired to those jobs will need to oversee a massive rebuilding project.
That includes fixing the roster and a reputation that has alienated fans to the point that the team’s home stadium often had thousands of empty seats and plenty of spectators cheering for the opponent.
For all of Washington’s poor game results during Snyder’s 20 years as owner — never once managing to win 11 games in a season in that span — it was Allen who infamously tried to downplay the importance of the losing by boasting at a news conference after the 2014 season that the team’s charitable foundation “does a fantastic job,” which meant, he said, “We’re winning off the field.”
It was also during that occasionally contentious session with reporters that Allen declared he would do anything to help the team win more games, vowing: “If it meant mowing that lawn out there every Tuesday, I would mow the lawn every darn Tuesday.”
During another rare appearance to take questions from the media, at the news conference to announce Gruden’s dismissal in October, Allen objected to questions about widespread criticism of the way things are run in Washington by asserting: “The culture is actually damn good.”
Under Allen’s watch, the issues away from the field included:
• this season’s holdout by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, whom Allen refused to trade;
• the messy firing of GM Scot McCloughan;
• the acknowledgment that the team’s seemingly endless home sellout streak was over, followed by the house-cleaning after last season of new executives in charge of business matters;
• the costly trade for, and ugly divorce from, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III;
• the mostly unsuccessful coaching stint of, and ugly divorce from, costly coach Mike Shahanan;
• the tens of millions of dollars given to Kirk Cousins (or, as Allen repeatedly called him, for some reason, “Kurt”) as the league’s first QB to play under the franchise tag more than once; eventually, he was allowed to leave as a free agent, with Washington receiving nothing in return;
Allen previously worked as a front-office executive for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.
He is the son of late Pro Football Hall of Fame member George Allen, who led Washington to one Super Bowl appearance while coaching them from 1971-77. Allen’s brother, George, is a former Virginia governor and US senator.