Giants Head Coaching Debuts Show Mixed Success

As Ben McAdoo prepares for his first regular season game as Giants head coach on Sunday in Dallas, here are the last five debuts by Giants coaches.

Tom Coughlin: September 12, 2004
Eagles 31-Giants 17

The Giants opened the season in Philly against an Eagles team which was expected to win the NFC Title, and did just that. Ron Dayne’s touchdown run gave Big Blue the first points but a pair of Terrell Owens touchdown catches in the first quarter gave the Eagles the lead for good. Donovan McNabb was 26-36, throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Owens.

Kurt Warner was 16-28 for 203 yards. With the Giants down 31-10, Eli Manning made his NFL debut. The game ended with a scrambling Manning fumbling after getting crushed by a Jerome McDougle on a highlight reel hit.

Jim Fassel: August 31, 1997
Giants 31-Eagles 17

Expectations were low for the Giants heading into 1997. Few people thought they wouldn’t finish in last place, let alone win the division. The opener was at the Meadowlands at the end of August, on Jim Fassel’s birthday.

Dave Brown ran for a score and threw a nine-yard touchdown to Chris Calloway. Ty Detmer completed nine of 25 passes against John Fox’s defense as the Giants built a 24-3 lead.

Eagles coach Ray Rhodes put in Rodney Peete and Philly put a scare into the Giants. A pair of touchdown drives cut the lead to 24-17, and the Eagles were driving for the tying score when Sam Garnes intercepted a Peete pass and returned into 95 yards for the game-icing touchdown.

Dan Reeves: September 5, 1993
Giants 26-Bears 20

Dan Reeves came over from Denver having led the Broncos to three AFC titles and would win Coach of the Year in 1993 but this was the last opener for Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor.

Three David Treadwell field goals gave the Giants a 9-0 lead. The Bears came roaring back with Jim Harbaugh finding Terry Obee for a two-yard touchdown and then Sean Landeta had his punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. A field goal put Chicago up 17-9.

The Giants ran a flea-flicker which resulted in Simms hooking up with Mark Jackson for a 40-yard touchdown. Another Treadwell field goal gave New York the lead but Kevin Butler’s field goal gave the Bears a 20-19 lead.

Simms led the offense on a game-winning drive, including a 23-yard pass to Calloway on 3rd and 18. With a 3rd and 9 at the Chicago 26, Jackson drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Simms then threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Jarrod Bunch.

Simms finished 24-34 for 277 yards and two touchdowns.

Ray Handley: September 2, 1991
Giants 16-49ers 14

Eight months after Matt Bahr’s field goal sent the Giants to Super Bowl XXV, Bahr again beat the 49ers in the final seconds.

Handley made Jeff Hostetler the starter over Simms after Hostetler led the Giants to the Super Bowl. And Steve Young, not Joe Montana, was the starter for San Francisco.
Young connected with Jerry Rice for a 73-yard touchdown in the first quarter but it was Rice’s only reception of the day.

An Ottis Anderson touchdown run and Bahr field goal gave the Giants a 13-7 lead going into the half.
With less than five minutes to go, the 49ers took the lead on a five-yard touchdown run by Young.
But there was time for Hostetler, who had led the Giants on the winning drive in the NFC title game. It happened again with Bahr booting one from 35 yards with five seconds left.

Bill Parcells: September 4, 1983
Rams 16-Giants 6

Parcells tabbed Scott Brunner as the starter but the Giants offense did little in week 1. A Rob Carpenter touchdown run gave New York a 6-3 lead but that was it. LA quarterback Vince Ferragamo threw a pair if touchdowns to Mike Barber.

Brunner finished 16-35 with three interceptions and was sacked five times, but better days were ahead for Parcells.

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