Francesa On Cancellation Of Shurmur Spot: Not Everyone's Cut Out For The Intense Spotlight

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

Mike Francesa said Thursday that Pat Shurmur had every right to cancel his weekly interview with him, but the WFAN host said the Giants' brass needs to stop hiding in the face of losing.

The Giants' head coach confirmed earlier in the day that he will no longer do the Monday afternoon spots. Word of the move comes three days after Francesa challenged Shurmur about the direction of the team under his leadership. After going 5-11 last season, Big Blue is off to a 0-2 start.

"Now I can't tell you exactly what angered the head coach because I haven't spoken to him and he really didn't allude to it in any specifics," Francesa said at the start of his show. "But he felt that he's better off not doing the interview session every week anymore so he has canceled it.

"I don't take anything personally from it. That's fine. That's his prerogative. He has to go about his own business, and he has to do it in the way he sees fit. I did not think the interview was overly confrontational. I felt from a standpoint of confrontation, the one I did with (Ben) McAdoo about (Odell) Beckham (Jr.) was many times more confrontational than this one was. There might have been a couple of tough questions, which I admit. A couple people categorized them as harsh. I thought (they were) fair under the circumstances. The first week I kind of laid off. I thought give him a week. The second week, I asked rather blunt questions. And the one about asking whether someone with his record could turn the team around is a tough question, but I think it's one that if you're sitting here you've got to ask."

Francesa noted that this was the fourth time a head coach or manager canceled his interviews either with him or his former "Mike and the Mad Dog" show. The previous three -- Jeff Torborg, Bud Harrelson and Dallas Green -- didn't survive the season, he said.

"That doesn't mean it's going to happen to Pat, but if you just look at the list, it's not a great list from that standpoint," Francesa said.  

Shurmur told reporters earlier Thursday that canceling the interviews was "an organizational decision."

"Most people aren't aware of this, but I wasn't contractually obligated to do that spot," he said. "We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station."

Pat ShurmurBrad Penner/USA TODAY Images

Said Francesa: "Unfortunately, there's a heightened sensitivity with myself and the Giants right now because of the fact that I have angered some of them with my commentaries after the draft and about the direction of the team. And No. 2, it's tough when you lose all the time. I mean, the Giants have lost 26 of their last 34 games. Under those circumstances, how am I going to be anything less than critical when they open this season 0-2 for the sixth time in the last seven years, where you see no progress and you have to be, if you're doing my job, you have to critical and honest about what the product is?

"I didn't say anything that I thought was in any way personal, unless he considers his record personal. And if he does, listen, I'd be affronted by his record, too, if I were Pat. I wouldn't want to hear about it, either.

"Listen, not everybody's cut out for handling what is the real intense spotlight that there is in the city, that comes with these jobs," Francesa added. "Being the head football coach of the Giants is a very, very big job. It gets a lot of attention. It has a lot of light and heat in the center.

"The Giants have unfortunately, from at least my estimation, have become very good at hiding and very good at losing. That's my take. And they need to turn both around."

To listen to Francesa's comments, click on the audio player above.