Only Harbaugh Can Turn Giants Around

(Photo: Rick Osentoski, USA Today Sports)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Giants apologists will cite this game as proof Jason Garrett’s firing as Giants offensive coordinator made a difference in this offense. They will mention Saquon Barkley being involved and Daniel Jones playing like an NFL quarterback by operating flea-flickers and play-action in the Giants’ 13-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants improved to 4-7 while still being in the hunt for the last playoff spot in the NFC race. They have more winnable games on the way with the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Washington football team. A 6-0 run to finish the season is not a crazy idea, and it would mean the Giants can finish with a winning season at 10-7 and may just sneak in the playoffs.

This could give Giants owner John Mara a reason to keep Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and Giants head coach Joe Judge and give him the type of stability he craves. In other words, he gets to keep his puppets who will be happy to do what he tells them to do.

It may make Mara happy, but being mediocre shouldn’t be the Giants’ goal. It’s about winning playoff games and championships. They haven’t won a championship since 2012. They haven’t won a playoff game since they last won the Super Bowl.

The Giants should try to do better in a sports town that once used to demand excellence.

Hiring Jim Harbaugh to coach the Giants is the home run hire that would galvanize Giants fans and bring interest in New York football again.

Face it. There’s nothing appealing about our NFL teams in town. The Jets will miss the playoffs for the 11th straight season, and the Giants likely will miss the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons.

Watching both teams on Sunday afternoon, there was nothing about them that would make a New York football fan excited about them next week and beyond. The Giants did nothing offensively against the Eagles, and the Jets did less mistakes to lose to the wretched Houston Texans.

It says something about the NFL teams that New York sports fans were more excited about what pending free agent Max Scherzer would do than what the Giants and Jets accomplished on Sunday. A 37-year-old starter seeking his last final payday before he heads to retirement. And it could just be he is playing with Mets fans emotions before he likely signs a deal with the Dodgers or another West Coast team.

The Giants have to do something to change the conversation in town.

Harbaugh can be had here. He finally achieved his personal goal of leading Michigan to a victory against Ohio State on Saturday after being 0-4 in four tries as Michigan head coach. This could be the best it gets for him. He can leave Michigan with his head high. He has nothing to prove at Michigan anymore now that his team beat Ohio State.

Michigan is not going to win a national championship anytime soon as long as Nick Saban and Alabama exists, so he has no incentive to stay at Ann Arbor.

Plus, Harbaugh has always been known as an NFL head coach. A coach with high ambitions such as himself would like to coach in the best league in the world. Coaching Michigan doesn’t do it, even if he played for his alma mater as a quarterback.

He likely will use Michigan as a pit stop towards heading back to the NFL one day after being fired by the San Francisco 49ers. Now that day could come after Michigan’s win against Ohio State, and the Giants present the right opportunity for him.

Harbaugh would be credited for turning the Giants around after Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur, Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge failed to do so. He knows how to win, and players would respect for him. What better way to change the perception of a reputation by winning in New York?

There’s nothing like winning in New York. Forget getting free drinks and food for life. Harbaugh would be a legend if he won championships with the Giants. Think Pat Riley turning the Knicks around in the 90s after being in the position the Giants currently are. Imagine if Harbaugh had the Riley effect on the Giants. That’s why he should be hired to replace Judge as coach. He does that. He would make the Giants relevant locally and nationally again with his coaching.

Sorry, but Judge’s 10-17 does not get anyone excited. Not even his 2-1 record against the Eagles.

Harbaugh is a different story. His work with Stanford, San Francisco 49ers and Michigan supersedes anything Judge accomplished as a Giants head coach. Oh, and he has a Super Bowl appearance to boast on his coaching resume.

When the opportunity presents itself to hire Harbaugh, the Giants owe it to themselves and their suffering fans to do it, even if the Giants make the playoffs. Waiting for Judge to grow into the job shouldn’t get in the way of this pursuit.

Sunday’s victory against the Eagles does nothing for the Giants.

Hiring Harbaugh would in more ways than one.

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