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Did anyone anticipate there would be more questions about Chris Mara than there were about John Mara during Wednesday’s media session, as the Giants’ co-owner (John) met the media to discuss the state of the team, the general manager search and the firing of head coach Joe Judge?

There is a misconception out there, circulating and growing at times like this, that Chris Mara has more influence in the football operations than he actually does and that the Giants are engaging in rampant nepotism, with Chris Mara — John Mara’s brother — as the senior vice president of player personnel and Tim McDonnell — John Mara’s nephew — as the co-director of player personnel.

There is no doubt Chris Mara and McDonnell hold vital positions and that their voices are heard, as far as player evaluations. There is also no doubt Chris Mara was in the room along with John Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch when the first two general manager candidates were interviewed.

“Chris is in those interviews because he’s part of ownership and I value his opinion, I value his skills and I want him in there,’’ John Mara said. “At the end of the day I’ll listen to him, but it will be Steve Tisch and myself making the final decision.’’

John and Chris Mara
John and Chris Mara
AP; Evan Pinkus/NY Giants

Chris Mara is in his 33rd year with the Giants, covering two different stints — he left to run his own football scouting service and to serve as the president and general manager of the New Jersey Gladiators of the Arena Football League — and has been involved in both college and professional scouting. He does not have any veto power over the general manager, he does not make picks during the NFL draft and he does not have final say on any personnel moves. Yet there is a perception that his presence with the team will dissuade general manager prospects from taking the job for fear they will be overruled by the brother of the co-owner.

“My brother spends most of his time doing evaluation of college players, his grades go into our system and he participates in the draft,’’ John Mara said. “All personnel decisions in this building, and this has always been the case, have been made by the general manager and the head coach. When they agree on a personnel decision they come to me with it and as long as they’re both in agreement I OK it. The only time I would possibly not do that was if there was an off-the-field conduct issue. Chris is a very skilled evaluator but he does not have any authority here, other than the fact I will go to him on occasion and ask him about players.’’

McDonnell worked in the Notre Dame football program for eight years before coming to the Giants 10 years ago, first as a pro scout. His role has increased to include all aspects of player evaluation, working closely with the general manager and he is considered a rising front-office star.

“Tim is probably the most respected guy we have in this building,’’ John Mara said. “Coaches, front office staff, the general manager go to him to ask his advice on players because he is a good evaluator. He’s worked his way up from the bottom and he’s earned his stripes. He does not have any authority here.’’

Such family ties can give off the impression that Chris Mara and McDonnell have the ear of the co-owner, that they have more influence than other non-family members in the front office.

“I don’t think it holds any more sway,’’ John Mara said. “That has not been my experience here. I listen to them. There are many voices in this building but the only two voices at the end of the day that matter are the head coach and the general manager. They make the final determination. [Chris Mara and McDonnell] do not have undue influence on the final decisions that are made here. They absolutely do not.’’

Source: NYPOST

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