With I’m-not-going-to-be-the-Alabama-coach Alabama coach Nick Saban potentially more miserable than usual and suddenly talking about how he’d still be coaching the Dolphins if the team had signed Drew Brees in what became Saban’s second and final year with the team, Saban could be letting the NFL know that he’s ready to return to a team with a franchise quarterback.
The most obvious potential destination is Indianapolis, where quarterback Andrew Luck has blossomed — and where coach Chuck Pagano is in the last year of his contract and believed to be on the hot seat. But the Giants also make sense, given the presence of franchise quarterback Eli Manning and the perpetual perception that coach Tom Coughlin could be on his way out.
Like the Colts, the Giants once made a play for Saban. The issue of control derailed the talks. Even if the Giants were willing to fire G.M. Jerry Reese in conjunction with a Coughlin retirement/termination, there’s no indication that they’d be willing to part from their longstanding strong-G.M. structure for a 60-something coach with a habit of not staying in one place for very long.
Also, the Giants don’t seem to be in the sizzle business. Hiring Saban would definitely fall into the sizzle category.
The sizzle would become an inferno once Saban and the New York media begin to get better acquainted. For a guy driven at least in part by pride, ego, and vanity, the prospect of gracing the back pages of the tabloids with labels like “Nicktator” and “Nicky Satan” would be enough to keep him away from the job — or at least to get him to demand the kind of hazard pay that would push his annual salary above $10 million.
The Colts make more sense than the Giants, if both teams eventually are in the market for new coaches. As the owners of those franchises (along with any others having franchise quarterbacks) consider the possibility of changing coaches if/when this year’s expectations begin to be unfulfilled, the possibility of getting Saban should occupy a spot in the middle of their radar screens.
For now, that seems to be the message that Saban, who does nothing accidentally, seems to be sending.