The idea of Nick Saban taking over the Giants was a fun bit of speculation in the aftermath of him winning another championship at Alabama on Monday night - even as one source insisted there's no shot that it happens.
But at least one former coach thinks the possibility is a little more real than anyone thought.
Bruce Arians, the recently retired coach of the Arizona Cardinals, fanned the Saban-to-the-Giants flames on Tuesday during an appearance on FoxSports1's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd". He said a return to the NFL by Saban "would not surprise me."
And if the 66-year-old Alabama legend does return to the pros, Arians knows exactly where he'd go.
"There's a job he covets. It just happens to be open," Arians said. "But he's got a dynasty right now. Another dynamite recruiting class. Why he would do it? I don't know. But it would not shock me if he did."
And just to be clear, Cowherd asked Arians which job Saban coveted.
"Oh, the Giants," Arians said. "Because they're the New York Giants and when we grew up, they were the thing."
Saban's continuing interest in the Giants is one of the worst-kept secrets in pro sports, and the Giants have certainly had at least some interest in him over the years. This time, however, a team source insisted there was "no shot" that the Giants will end up hiring Saban. There are too many expensive obstacles in the way.
For starters, it would reportedly cost any team $26.9 million to buy Saban out of his Alabama contract. Also, Saban recently signed a contract extension that will reportedly pay him $65 million over the next eight years, plus perhaps another $5.6 million in incentives.
His price was much lower when the Giants nearly hired him as their head coach back in 1997, and again when he was discussed as a possible candidate inside the organization in 2004. Two years ago, when the Giants were on the verge of hiring Ben McAdoo, he supposedly made a back-door run at the job, using boxing promoter Bob Arum to get a message to Giants co-owner Steve Tisch about his interest in leaving Alabama.
According to that story, relayed by comedian Tom Arnold and later confirmed by Arum, Saban was ready to go but wanted a contract worth $10 million per season. The two sides were in contact for a day before Saban cut them off because, Arum said, Saban's wife wanted to remain in Alabama.
It's unknown whether his wife's affinity for Tuscaloosa has changed, but no one thinks Saban's interest in the Giants has diminished over time, or in the wake of his sixth NCAA title (including five at Alabama). Saban is a college coaching legend, but the one blot on his resume is an ugly two years as head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06. His teams went 9-7 and 6-10, but the franchise became dysfunctional and Saban's reputation and personality were torn apart.
He famously insisted near the end of his tenure that he had no interest in leaving the Dolphins for Alabama, only to end up doing exactly that.
He might still end up back in the NFL some day, hoping to right what once went wrong. But it just apparently won't be with the Giants, no matter how much he "covets" that job.
At least not now.