EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Schoen was at the top of the New York Giants' list of candidates when they started their search for a new general manager, and the Buffalo Bills assistant GM never left that spot.
The Giants hired the 42-year-old Schoen as their general manager Friday. It ended a quick but extensive search in which they interviewed nine candidates in the first round and gave three a second interview in finding a replacement for Dave Gettleman.
“Throughout our search, Joe impressed us with his ability to communicate a progressive and comprehensive vision for our team," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "His philosophy and collaborative approach to building a roster and coaching staff align with what we were looking for in a general manager.”
Schoen got the nod over San Francisco 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters and Kansas City’s executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, the other two men who got second interviews.
“Joe is the kind of exceptional leader we sought to oversee our football operations,” fellow co-owner Steve Tisch said. “We will do whatever it takes to support Joe’s vision and strategic plan for success. We are excited to begin this next chapter with Joe as our general manager.”
Schoen faces a major rebuilding process. The Giants have made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012. They have had five straight double-digit losing seasons, including a 4-13 record this past season.
Schoen (pronounced Shane) spent the last five seasons as GM Brandon Beane's top assistant. They have rebuilt the Bills, making the playoffs four of five seasons, while winning the last two AFC East titles. Prior to that, Buffalo had a 17-year playoff drought.
His first job will be to find a coach to replace Joe Judge, who was fired last week after posting a 10-23 in two seasons.
Schoen and the Giants got started on that right away, interviewing Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll during a videoconference a few hours after the team announced the GM's hiring.
Schoen, of course, has familiarity with the 46-year-old Daboll from their time together in Buffalo. Daboll has run the Bills' offense the last four seasons while overseeing Josh Allen's development into one of the league's top young quarterbacks. Daboll also won the AP's NFL Assistant Coach of the Year award last season.
But he's just the first of what will likely be several interviews by Schoen and the Giants for their coaching vacancy.
“We will cast a wide net, it can be former head coaches, first-time head coaches but, more importantly, it has to be a person who possesses the ability to lead an organization and the ability to motivate and develop players,” Schoen said. "On the personnel side, we will begin to evaluate our roster and prepare for the draft and free agency. Our goal is to build a roster that will be competitive, have depth, and most importantly, win football games.”
The draft should help New York will have the fifth and seventh picks overall.
Beane described Schoen as a dependable, intelligent leader who knows how to listen to the people around him and then make decisions. He also is fun to be around and is a great evaluator of talent. He was part of the group who scouted and eventually picked Allen to be the Bills' quarterback.
“Joe is a worker,” Beane said in a Zoom call. “You know, there’s no magic. There’s no magic eyes that any of us have. It’s about doing the work, and the New York Giants will never have to worry that Joe didn’t invest the right time in evaluating a player, college or pro.”
Gettleman, 70, retired on Jan. 10 after posting a 19-46 record in four seasons. This past season was very disappointing, considering the Giants competed for a playoff spot in 2020 before being eliminated on the final night of the regular season. They went 6-10 with a 5-3 mark in the second half. This year ended with six straight losses.
The Giants started interviewing for the general manager's job two days after Gettleman retired. Schoen batted leadoff in both the first and second rounds.
Schoen got a second interview in person at the Giants team headquarters on Tuesday, followed by Poles of the Chiefs on Wednesday and Peters on Thursday.
Schoen has 20 years of scouting and executive experience in the NFL. Before going to Buffalo, he spent most of the previous decade with the Miami Dolphins’ front office.
Schoen’s first NFL job was as a ticket office intern with the Carolina Panthers in 2000. That's where he met Beane and worked until 2007 in other roles.
The Giants have gone through four coaches since 2016, the year Ben McAdoo was hired. He led the Giants to their only playoff berth but he was fired the next year in the midst of a 3-13 season that included the benching of Eli Manning.
Pat Shurmur was hired in 2018 and went 9-23 before being fired after two seasons. The trend continued under Judge, a former New England special teams coordinator.
Schoen will be the team's fifth general manager since 1979, when Hall of Famer George Young started the process of turning around the stumbling franchise. He led the Giants to eight playoff berths and two Super Bowl titles before leaving in 1998 to join the NFL front office. Ernie Accorsi ran the club from 1998-06, hiring coach Tom Coughlin in 2004 and laying the groundwork for two more titles. Jerry Reese got the job in 2007 and combined with Coughlin to win Super Bowls after the ‘07 and ’11 seasons. Gettleman was hired after McAdoo and Reese were fired in December 2017 following the debacle of benching Manning.
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL