It's not an idea that's completely foreign to the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts did it roughly five years ago when the club announced that Jim Caldwell, serving as an assistant head coach at the time, would take over for Tony Dungy when Dungy was ready to step down. That, of course, didn't work out swimmingly for either Indy or Caldwell, but that's neither here nor there as it pertains to this conversation.
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will, as he should, be given the right to choose when he walks away from the franchise and, ultimately, from the game of football. He earned that with those two Super Bowl wins. Coughlin also isn't getting any younger.
He'll be 68 years old at the start of the 2014 NFL regular season.
The Giants' brass is in the midst of a search for a new offensive coordinator after Kevin Gilbride, um, “retired,” and it is that search that has led to some fans of the team wondering if New York could acquire more than a Gilbride replacement this winter.
There is no guarantee that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will land the Giants gig when Coughlin is ready to step down. He technically could still end up as a head coach somewhere else before springtime rolls around. Thus, the Giants thinking long-term with the team's offensive coordinator hire isn't necessarily a crazy idea.
It's also not one I see them entertaining this time around.
Coughlin is not Dungy in several ways. For starters, Coughlin has been on the hot seat every season but two of his Giants career. Dungy, for all his greatness and his flaws, never had to deal with type of pressure that comes with playing/coaching in the NY/NJ market and with dealing with the media found in that region.
Imagine, if you will, the Giants naming _____ _______ as the head coach in-waiting, and then imagine the team again missing the playoffs next season. That type of circus, a show usually reserved for the other NFL team that calls MetLife Stadium home, would not do anybody within the franchise any good.
Just as Coughlin has earned the right to retire/quit when he sees fit, he would, in such a scenario, have the right to name the man who would replace him down the road. That's a lot of power for a general manager, Jerry Reese in this case, to give up.
Reese, who, like Coughlin, played parts in both Super Bowl runs, is under a big spotlight maybe for the first time since becoming GM in 2007. The man with the golden touch when it came to the NFL Draft has come under scrutiny for both his recent draft classes and for his inability to adequately bolster the roster via free agency.
He, along with the rest of his staff, will do whatever possible to get the offensive coordinator selection right. Reese will then worry about the head coach position at a later date; if he is tasked with doing so, that is.
Giants co-owner John Mara publicly backed Coughlin earlier this week, and there wasn't even a suggestion that 2014 could be the coach's final season on the sideline. Mara also said that he believes the team can turn things around sooner than later.
Those running the club will, when the time is right, name Coughlin's replacement. None of those individuals – Coughlin, Reese or Mara – believe that the time is right. That, above anything else, is why the Giants are concentrating only on finding a coach who can make the offense better than it was during those lousy stretches of the 2013 season.
They'll find a coordinator this winter. That will have to do.