The biggest misperception about the New York Giants is that Jerry Reese built two Super Bowl champions in 2007 and 2011. Because of this misperception many fans give Reese the benefit of the doubt on any and every move the team makes. But since 2011’s Super Bowl celebration the Giants have been in a downward spiral.
Related: Analyzing Jerry Reese’s Draft Picks
The 2007 Super Bowl team was built mostly by Ernie Accorsi who stepped away from his general manager duties in 2006. The Giants won Super Bowl XLII because Accorsi put together a special group of young players that would help the team for years after his departure.
Accorsi began building the Super Bowl run when he acquired Eli Manning from the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft. Accorsi rebuilt the offensive line drafting Chris Snee and David Diehl while signing Kareem McKenzie. He gave the offense it’s prize weapon signing wide receiver Plaxico Burress in 2005.
The biggest key to the first victory over Tom Brady’s Patriots in the Super Bowl was superior defensive line play. Accorsi drafted Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Point to a key player in that Super Bowl run and chances are he was brought here by Accorsi.
The Giants were set up for success when Jerry Reese took the general manager job. The went 12-4 the year after winning the Super Bowl and earned a division championship. They then went 8-8 but rebounded in 2010 with a 10-6. In 2011 the team won the Super Bowl again.
The nucleus of the offensive line that Accorsi had given the Giants was still in tact. The dominant pass rushers that Accorsi brought in were still there in Tuck and Umenyiora, though Reese did add Jason Pierre-Paul. Another big figure on the defensive line was Mathias Kiwanuka one of the last players Accorsi ever drafted for the Giants. And of course, Manning, the Super Bowl MVP was brought in by Accorsi.
Clearly Reese deserves a great deal of credit for the 2011 Super Bowl. But to argue that he won two Super Bowls is only technically correct. The team that won in 2007 was the result of a long-term plan and vision of Accorsi. The nucleus of the 2011 team was constructed by Accorsi.
After the 2011 season the Giants have gone a 22-26. Once much of the nucleus that Accorsi built was gone the Giants success dipped. Reese has had some good drafts and some really mediocre ones. He has made some moves that have worked out and he had made some that didn’t. When you balance it out Reese is an average general manager at best.
Accorsi was a visionary leader for this organization, one that paired perfectly with head coach Tom Coughlin. Accorsi was of course the man that hired Tom Coughlin. In this debate Accorsi is the better general manager and it isn’t even kind of close.