NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A day after Nick Saban won his sixth national championship, there was fresh speculation that the legendary Alabama coach might be interested in the Giants’ head coaching vacancy.
In an interview with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd on Tuesday, newly retired Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Saban “covets” the Giants job.
“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.”
When asked what is so appealing about the Giants job, Arians, who at 65 is just a year younger than Saban, answered: “When we grew up, they were the thing.”
Saban nearly became the Giants’ coach two years ago, according to two different people.
Comedian Tom Arnold, a friend of Giants co-owner Steve Tisch’s, told ESPN in November 2016 that boxing promoter Bob Arum called the team while officials were negotiating to hire Ben McAdoo and said Saban wanted the job.
“So they had to stop (negotiating),” Arnold said. “This is a Saturday night. They said, ‘You have until Sunday morning at 8 a.m. to say a definite yes. Tell us what he needs for money.’ ‘Well, he needs $10 million to start with, and this is the deal: He has to get it approved by his wife.’ ‘Well, he has to get it approved by his wife right this second because we have a coach on the string here. But if he wants to do it, it has to be right this second.’
“So he had until Sunday morning at 8 a.m., and it didn’t work out. But it was close.”
Arum confirmed to the Bergen Record that he indeed placed the call on Saban’s behalf. He said the back-and-forth was initiated by his friend, Nick Khan, an agent at Creative Artists Agency.
Arum added that he doesn’t remember saying Saban’s asking price was $10 million, but “it was a big, big contract.”
Arum, too, said the Giants were interested if the deal could be worked out within 24 hours but that Saban’s wife eventually nixed the idea.
“Nick (Khan) called back the next day and said, ‘Call Steve. Tell him Nick can’t do it. His wife loves Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She doesn’t want to move, so Nick can’t take the job,'” Arum said.
Saban has won six college national titles — five at Alabama, one at LSU. He coached the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006, going 9-7 and 6-10, respectively. He also has served as the head coach at Toledo and Michigan State and was the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator from 1991-94 under Bill Belichick, who also has been the source of Giants rumors.
Saban is under contract with Alabama through 2025. He earned $11.125 million this past season, which included a $4 million bonus for signing a three-year extension.