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Reese: Giants prepared for Super year


Tuesday, August 7, 2007






ALBANY, N.Y. – Tom Coughlin has demanded more playing and less predicting from his Giants, but this was no running back or pass rusher spitting out his mouthpiece to violate the code Monday. This was Coughlin's new boss talking about winning the Super Bowl, and no, Jerry Reese was not referring to next year or the year after that.


His cap pulled low over his eyes, his tone growing more definitive with every word, the 40-something general manager leaned against a car in his training camp parking lot and said his team is good enough to take Super Bowl XLII next February in the Arizona desert.


"I think we have as good a chance as anyone else in the NFC East, really in the National Football League, period, to win the whole thing," Reese said.


The whole thing?


"There's no question in my mind," the GM confirmed.


The 8-8 Giants finished 2-6 last season, then went one-and-done in the playoffs. They lost Tiki Barber, only the best offensive player the Giants ever dressed. They may have lost Michael Strahan, among the best defensive players in team history, right there in the group behind LT.



But Reese didn't make his improbable journey from a slaughterhouse in Tennessee to the penthouse of an NFL franchise just so he could take a knee in his rookie season. He has no interest in going 9-7, in winning a wild card, in sneaking into the second playoff round.


He wants to look at last year's losses to the Colts and Bears and see reasons why the '07 Giants can become the '69 Mets.


"We could've won both of those games easily," Reese said. "Those teams went to the Super Bowl, so why not us? Why not us?"


Reese has cause to aim sky high. He grew up dirt poor off the banks of the Mississippi, gutting and skinning farm animals to help his family get by. In Tiptonville, Tenn., population 2,500, the great grandsons of sharecroppers weren't told they could grow up to run the New York Giants.


That Reese made it happen, he said, is a story "you can't even make up.


"But I always tell people it's a good story. It's not a great story until we start winning Super Bowls. That's what I want."


So in a camp quieted by the absences of Barber and Strahan, the Giants just received their loud and clear charge. Reese doesn't have a left tackle, a consistent quarterback or a secure head coach.


He does have a feeling Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin can celebrate the biggest Sunday in sports the same way Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy did six months back.


Reese has to embrace this blind faith because, in his words, "failure is not an option to me." Hired on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Reese became the league's first black GM of a flagship franchise. He proved that an African-American executive can rise to the top of a prominent sports team without having been a professional athlete first.


Reese knows the hopes of many young black executives ride on his win-loss record, and he carries that responsibility to work every morning in his briefcase. Friends and colleagues don't mean to burden him, he said, "but I get calls all the time from guys saying, 'Man, you're in there. You've got to make it happen.'...It's like, 'If Jerry does good, I'm going to have a chance.'


"I don't take that lightly. I'm not backing away from that."


Reese is one former small-college safety who doesn't back away from much. At 5-9, he was a feared hitter at the University of Tennessee-Martin, this after quarterbacking his high school team to a 14-0 season and its first state title. Under Ernie Accorsi, Reese developed into the Giants' most trusted scout.


So he didn't hesitate when asked if he can become the best GM in the NFL. "Absolutely I think I can be," Reese said. "I'm not going to sell myself short by any stretch of the imagination. ... There are plenty of naysayers asking, 'Who is this guy? Why did they hire this guy? He can't do it.' That drives me."


Reese said he wasn't driven to make any major off-season acquisitions because he didn't see the opportunity or the need. Truth is, he figures Coughlin can win and win big with the current roster of Reese's pieces.


It all starts with Manning, of course, and his bid to develop a consistent touch. This will be his third season as full-time starter, "and I really think it's a make-or-break time for him," Reese said. The GM maintained that the pressure of being a Manning, of being a No. 1 pick who jilted another draft-day franchise (San Diego), "is a little bit unfair to [Eli]."


But if Reese isn't giving himself a margin for error, he's not about to cut his quarterback any slack, either.


"You don't feel sorry for the guy who's the first pick in the draft," Reese said. "You've got to step up and do it."


After the older Manning stepped up and did it for the Colts, Reese had a conversation with Peyton's coach. Dungy told him Indianapolis didn't win the Super Bowl on talent, but on the Colts' unyielding commitment to all team-first goals.


"It's the same thing with me," Reese said. "It's the team that's going to win it for us."


He has no desire to wait, either. Reese believes his Giants can win the Super Bowl right here, right now.


His dreams turn out to be just as big as his responsibilities, making the new general manager the easiest Giant to root for.


The Ian O'Connor Show is every Sunday, 9-10 a.m., on 1050 ESPN Radio.




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There's no doubt the talent is there on this team. However, Do we have enough to win a SB? Not yet. I really think we need to improve out offensive line. Especially our center position....

The Bears made it to the superbowl with a Bad highschool QB taking the snaps last year...... Parity in the league dictates that every team starts off the season with a shot at the Big Game. Especially if you think about the NFC, talk all you want about SanDiego there is no team that can cake walk to the SuperBowl.


And as Fish said- What do you want him to say as his team is busting their ass with twice a days in 90 degree heat, eh i dont expect much this year except hopefully a better draft pick :confused:





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Why would other black executives hopes at advancement be attached to Reese? That kind of logic I have never understood. Why can't merit count instead of skin color?


It's the Superbowl all over again. It's why there is still racism because anytime a minority accomplishes something it has to be pointed out. I swear if I was Lewis or Dungy I would have ripped somebody a new asshole for bringing that up.

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  • 5 months later...
There's no doubt the talent is there on this team. However, Do we have enough to win a SB? Not yet. I really think we need to improve out offensive line. Especially our center position....






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I'm just glad I didn't say something stupid about Eli in this thread. :x


lol true.


He called it, and he got it. HAs any othe GM had this much success in thier 1st yr? I mean, not just the SB, but 8 outta 9 draft picks playing as well?

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