Ben McAdoo was high on the list of endangered head coaches even before the debacle in San Francisco on Sunday. It seems a lock that he will be fired at the end of the season now.
Chances are Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch know it, too. And chances are they've already begun thinking at least a little bit about who they'll hire to replace him. In fact, Mara has said in the past that he's always eyeing potential head coaching candidates, just in case. So he probably already has a list.
So who's on it? In the past, Mara has said that he prefers coaches he knows, who have NFL experience, and preferably ones who failed (to a point) elsewhere and come to the Giants with something to prove. Of course, some of the six he interviewed two years ago -- McAdoo, Steve Spagnuolo, Teryl Austin, Adam Gase, Doug Marrone and Mike Smith - didn't fit all that criteria. So he's open to stepping out of his comfort zone, too.
Based on the Giants' past history, interviews with sources around the NFL, an assumption that there'll be no internal candidates, and a few educated guesses, here's a short list of who could be on tap to replace McAdoo if the Giants are looking for a new coach in 2018:
Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator
Expect him to be the hottest name for the Giants, especially if they fire Reese. An ex-Patriots tandem of Scott Pioli at GM and McDaniels as coach makes a lot of sense (especially since Pioli was more of a serious candidate for the GM job when Reese was hired in 2007 than most people remember).
McDaniels might have been a candidate for the Giants coaching job in 2016, but he declined all interview requests that offseason. There's no guarantee he'll accept them this time, of course. One rumor is he wants to stay in New England and become the successor to Bill Belichick whenever he retires. But if he's available, he's a brilliant offensive mind with experience working with an old quarterback. He struggled as the Broncos coach in 2009-10, but he was only 33 and clearly not ready.
Mike Smith, Buccaneers defensive coordinator
He was the surprise runner-up to McAdoo in 2016. His Bucs defense is struggling, which doesn't help his case. Also, the Giants might want an offensive guy (again) given the immense problems they're having on that side of the ball. Smith is a good friend of Tom Coughlin and has a little Coughlin in him, so maybe he could restore some of the discipline that has recently disappeared.
Also, though he was pretty successful in Atlanta, he's got something to prove after going 10-22 in his last two years with the Falcons, then watching Dan Quinn take them to the Super Bowl two years later.
Nick Saban, Alabama head coach
If you believe comedian Tom Arnold and boxing promoter Bob Arum, Saban tried to get the Giants job two years ago when Arum called Steve Tisch and tried to broker a deal. The Giants also almost hired Saban way back in 1997 and thought about him again in 2004, and Saban's interest in the job has long been an open secret.
Apparently, he wanted a $10 million salary two years ago, so his candidacy got nowhere. Would Mara and Tisch be frustrated enough with years of losing to pay it this time? Yes, Saban is 66, but Bill Belichick is 65 and Coughlin won a Super Bowl at 65. Maybe Saban could bring along his eventual successor to groom, too.
Todd Haley, Steelers offensive coordinator
He would've been a tremendous candidate two years ago, but he reportedly told people at the time that he was not interested in becoming a head coach again. Things have since changed. The Steelers offense currently ranks 10th, and if it holds it would be their fourth straight Top 10 season. He also got a raw deal in his first stint as a head coach, with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-11. He won the AFC West with a 10-6 record in 2010, but then got fired midseason (with a 5-8 record) in 2011.
He's also a Bill Parcells disciple (he was his WRs coach with the Jets from 1997-2000), and if you're looking for a connection to the Giants, never underestimate those family ties between the Maras and the Rooneys.
Frank Reich, Eagles offensive coordinator
If this seems ridiculous, remember that McAdoo was almost hired by the Eagles before he took the Giants job, and the Washington Redskins wanted to hire Spagnuolo from the Giants after their 2007 Super Bowl season. Reich is having huge success in Philly, particularly with young quarterback Carson Wentz. The Giants could see the former Bills quarterback as the perfect guy to both fix their offense and groom their new Quarterback of the Future (whomever that is).
David Shaw, Stanford head coach
The young (45), brilliant, successful coach of the Cardinal intrigued a few members of the Giants organization the last time around. It's unclear if they ever actually reached out to him, though he didn't end up getting a formal interview. The Giants haven't tapped a college coach since Jimmy Lee Howell left Wagner for them in 1954, though they have thought about it several times.
Teryl Austin, Lions defensive coordinator
He interviewed with the Giants when McAdoo was hired, and though he was never considered a serious candidate he left the team impressed. He has had a ridiculous nine interviews for head coaching jobs in the last three years, and will surely get more next offseason. This isn't the best season for the Lions defense, but his overall body of work there has been tremendous.
Other names to watch:Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr.