Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was at a loss for words after the team's 51-17 loss to the Rams on Sunday.
When asked what he told the team at halftime, McAdoo's full response was "umm." He then glanced to his right and to his left before the next question was asked.
McAdoo, whose job security is in question, also refused to admit that Sunday's loss was embarrassing.
On Monday, more than 24 hours later, McAdoo was asked about his now infamous non-answer to the question of what he said to his team at halftime on Sunday afternoon.
"I thought about it, obviously," McAdoo said on his weekly conference call with the media. "I was trying to figure out where the question was coming from. My thought was some things are better left unsaid."
OK, first some separation of fact and fiction: Ben McAdoo wasn't saying that his entire halftime speech to his players consisted of "Ummmm …." (Presumably there were actual words involved). And I don't believe he couldn't remember what he actually said and then bizarrely lost his train of thought.
Instead, this was McAdoo at his public worst - his inability to hide his distaste of the media, his general paranoia, or really to project any sort of strong leadership publicly. My interpretation is that he didn't like the general line of question about what he, as the head coach, could have done to prevent the 51-17 loss to the L.A. Rams. When he was asked "What did you say to them at halftime?" it continued that line of questioning, but also crossed a line into things McAdoo does not like to discuss.
Why couldn't he just offer a cliché, as many coaches do? Or why couldn't he just say that he preferred to keep that private? Only McAdoo knows. Instead, he gave the awkward, "Ummmm …" then an awkward stare straight ahead, followed by awkward silence until a reporter realized an answer wasn't coming and asked another question.
It was funny (and even funnier when his "Um" landed on the official transcript distributed by the Giants), but there's really nothing funny about McAdoo's terrible public image. His paranoia, his non-answers ("He has an ankle"), his obvious anger that reporters would dare question him were tolerated a year ago when the Giants were 11-5, but now they're 1-7 and he just looks overwhelmed.
Yes, he's not much different than Bill Belichick and Mike McCarthy and so many other coaches. But the truth of all of them is that the act works when they're winning, and looks dumb when they're losing. Belichick was run out of Cleveland for his dour, humorless demeanor. It's celebrated in New England. What's the difference? That's a question that doesn't need to be asked.
So yeah, the video of his "Ummmm …" is pretty funny. It remains to be seen if John Mara and Steve Tisch were amused.