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Palladino: If Nothing Else, Giants Will Be Very Patient With McAdoo

By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

The day after the country's $1.6 billion Powerball fever subsided, the Giants unintentionally paid homage to New York's own little game.

They promoted their offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to succeed Tom Coughlin.

Will he succeed gloriously? Will he fail miserably?

In the words of the state lottery's former slogan, "Hey, you never know."

Hiring coaches is like that. Nobody is a slam dunk, even if that somebody was a five-time collegiate champion like Alabama's Nick Saban. But Saban wasn't coming here, anyway. He would have been crazy to leave his Tuscaloosa fiefdom one title short of the Crimson Tide's late leader Paul "Bear" Bryant's record.

So co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch did what the general consensus thought they'd do from the beginning -- promote from within. It's not a unique game plan for the Giants. They've done it several times before, going back to 1954 when they elevated assistant Jim Lee Howell to replace their coach of 24 years, Steve Owen.

Now, they just have to hope they hired Bill Parcells, not Ray Handley.

Hiring from within -- Parcells coordinated Ray Perkins' defense -- can work out spectacularly. Or, as Parcells' old running backs coach Handley proved, it can backfire disastrously.

Hey, you never know.

Of course, the Giants will have to give McAdoo time to prove himself, a practice which John Mara and Steve Tisch are good at. If the Giants are anything, it is patient. It became part of their organizational DNA a long time ago.

They didn't exactly cry "Jackpot!" with Parcells at the beginning. The two Super Bowl titles would come down the line. His rookie season of 1983 was worse than either of Handley's two catastrophes. The 3-12-1 record not only placed him firmly in general manager George Young's doghouse, but nearly landed him on the unemployment line in favor of Young's pal, Howard Schnellenberger.

The Giants stuck with Parcells and went on a gradual upswing. The results stand just to the left of Coughlin's two baubles in the Quest Diagnostics Training Center's lobby.

But then it went wrong.

Terribly wrong.

Somewhere along the line to the 1990 Super Bowl, Young decided that if he ever had to find Parcells' successor, Handley was the guy. Not defensive coordinator Bill Belichick. Not Coughlin, the wide receivers coach who Parcells once identified as the best future head coach on his entire staff.

So when Parcells abruptly stepped down after Super Bowl XXV, Young tabbed Handley.

Quite the miscalculation.

Chaotic game plans followed. Player unrest bordering on open mutiny followed. By the end of Year 2, Handley had lost the locker room, lost his assistants, lost the confidence of the ever-patient Wellington Mara and the ever-supportive Young. Finally he lost his career.

He slinked away quietly, never to be heard from again.

Hey, you never know.

Whether McAdoo turns into one or the other remains to be seen. With Joe Philbin coming in to coordinate McAdoo's offense, just as he did for Mike McCarthy in Green Bay while McAdoo tutored Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning gets someone of a like mind to the man whose system he fell in love with in 2015. The defense, hopefully with some newer, more effective faces, retains aggressive Steve Spagnuolo.

Whether it turns into two-Super Bowl success depends in large part on how well Jerry Reese stocks the next roster. It will also depend a lot on whether the respect Manning pays McAdoo now transfers over to the defensive leaders.

At this point, a result somewhere between Parcells and Handley would seem sufficient. The gap is plenty wide. The 6-10 performances of the last two years leave plenty of room for improvement and, with that, satisfaction.

Beyond that, hey, you never know.

Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino

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