As soon as it became available, the head coaching job for the New York Giants was considered the crown jewel of this year's class of vacancies.
A storied franchise in America's largest media market with a Pro Bowl quarterback and arguably the game's best wide receiver.
A team that not too long ago lifted the Lombardi Trophy as NFL champion.
On Wednesday, the Giants settled on their next head coach, elevating Ben McAdoo from offensive coordinator to the big chair. While retaining McAdoo affords the team continuity—at least offensively—the team may eventually realize that "settling" is exactly what it did.
As ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, the Giants and McAdoo were finalizing a deal to make him the 18th head coach in franchise history on Wednesday evening:
Giants finalizing deal to hire OC Ben McAdoo, per sources. Expectation is it will get done.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 14, 2016
It isn't exactly a surprising move. The 38-year-old, who was considered the leading in-house candidate to succeed Tom Coughlin with Big Blue, has drawn praise for his work with the New York offense over the past two years.
In 2015, the G-Men ranked inside the league's top 10 in both total offense (eighth with 372.0 yards per game) and points scored (sixth with 26.2 points per game).
McAdoo also worked well with quarterback Eli Manning. The 12th-year veteran has thrown 65 touchdown passes against only 28 interceptions in the past two seasons under McAdoo. Manning's 35 touchdown passes and 93.6 passer rating in 2015 were both career bests.
Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com speculated that McAdoo's promotion will not be met with an appearance of the world-renowned Manning face:
So Ben McAdoo is going to be the #Giants coach, per sources. Should make Eli Manning happy— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) January 14, 2016
In fact, after Coughlin departed, Manning told WFAN (via James Kratch of NJ.com) that McAdoo was a viable candidate to replace him:
I think there are some similarities between him and coach Coughlin, and their passion for football. He loves it. He loves thinking of concepts and plays, and what's going to work, and talking about it, and going over scenarios and situations. I think he's been a coordinator now two years. I think that's a possibility.
It appears the continuity won't end there, either.
Per ESPN.com, it's believed that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will at least have the opportunity to keep his job in the new regime.
The Giants may feel that they aren't that far off from a return to the postseason. That maintaining continuity on offense was an important key to that return. That it made no sense to fix things that weren't broken.
Or the Giants may have gotten a case of the yips, panicked and shot themselves in the foot.
You see, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweeted, the Giants weren't the only NFC East team sniffing around McAdoo:
#Eagles were in on Ben McAdoo and we're ready to hire the new Giants head coach, according to two NFL sources.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 14, 2016
The Giants had already watched Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase take the head coaching job with the Dolphins. They had watched Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson pass on so much as interviewing with the team to accept the head coaching job in Cleveland, per ESPN.com.
Grade the hiring of Ben McAdoo as head coach by the New York Giants
It's entirely possible that the Giants felt backed into a corner. That if they didn't act the Eagles would, and rather than an up-and-coming young assistant like McAdoo, the team would have been left with retreads like Mike Smith or Doug "I quit" Marrone.
So the Giants rolled the dice. And make no mistake: This is a gamble.
Yes, McAdoo is a bright young offensive mind. He also has all of two years of experience as a coordinator, and none as a head coach.
Mind you, it wasn't that long ago, after the Giants offense sputtered early in the 2014 season, that many questioned the wisdom of making McAdoo a coordinator at all—much less a head coach.
And it was even more recently that some were calling for McAdoo's head on a stick when the Giants' 2015 season began with multiple exercises in how to lose games late.
That writer wasn't alone.
Not by any stretch of the imagination.
That isn't to say I'm panning the hire. Given how well Manning has played these past two years and the fact that he's much closer to the end of the line than the beginning, there's something to be said for keeping him comfortable. For making one last run with the quarterback who has won two Super Bowls in New York.
As noted by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, there were worse possibilities floating around:
In other coaching news, #Giants interview Doug Marrone today. They've made clear they want a proven head coach. He can solidify it today.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2016
Sure. Because it's not like he quit on a team in New York or anything, right?
But it's also fair to wonder why, if McAdoo was the guy the Giants wanted all along, the team didn't make this move a week ago. To wonder if instead of hiring the head coach they wanted to, the Giants hired the coach they felt like they had to.
And whether, given the fact that the Giants haven't made the playoffs since winning Super Bowl XLVI, continuity is really such a good thing for the team after all.
Gary Davenport is an NFL analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPSharks.