George Young is having this little problem. He can't fin anyone to coach the New York Giants. How humiliating.
He took a run at Tom Coughlin. Rejected. He took a run at Dave Wannstedt. Rejected. He took a big swing and missed on this last one, too, with the Bears expected to announce Wannstedt today to replace Mike Ditka.
And with the odds better that Young will bring back Ray Handley before he would work again with Bill Parcells, you can say Young is in a bit of a bind right about now. He must start over.
The Giants have to be absolutely shocked over their inability to get Wannstedt. This was totally unexpected. So was losing out on Coughlin.
BC's Coughlin was by far No. 1; Wannstedt, the hotshot Dallas defensive coordinator, was No. 2. And when you talk about No. 3, well, there hasn't been much talk about No. 3.
Why? Young's prime list went two deep. He's smart enough to have set up some alternatives, but never could have imagined needing them. The chance of losing both Coughlin and Wannstedt seemed remote.
This is getting to be embarrassing. These are the Giants we're talking about. Solid ownership, stable organization, incredible fan support, decent enough personnel. And one coach decides to stay in college and the other is about to choose the Bears.
What's going on here? The last 20 months have been a disaster. First, Parcells quits two months before training camp in 1991. And then Young hires Handley, who was bounced after a forgettable two-year 14-18 run and unprecedented player revolt. And now Young can't find anybody who wants this job.
Young seemed particularly irritated yesterday, a certain sign that he knew he was on the verge of losing Wannstedt, although he wouldn't say. Young flew to Dallas last week and met with him. Earlier last week Wannstedt seemed really pumped up about the possibility of coming to the Giants.
But Bears president Mike McCaskey was also in Dallas last week. And the word around the NFL last night was that the Cowboys were only going to let Wannstedt take one assistant with him to the division rival Giants, probably offensive line coach Tony Wise, but that if he went to Chicago he could take more.
There was also speculation that by staying out of the NFC East and not having to compete against Jimmy Johnson twice a year, Wannstedt could preserve his friendship with Johnson and remain a confidant.
Football-wise, Wannstedt blew it. No matter that it appears Young is messing this up, he still knows how to put together a winning football team. Wannstedt would have been much better off with Young than with McCaskey, who along with Denver's Pat Bowlen are getting much more involved in the operation of their clubs, perhaps trying to model themselves after Dallas' Jerry Jones.
The Giants are much closer to winning than the Bears. In #F Chicago, Wannstedt must follow Ditka, maybe the most popular personality in Chicago sports history. With the Giants, it wouldn't take much to make people forget Handley. OK, so the media pressure might be a few degrees higher here, but so what.
It's quite possible that McCaskey simply offered Wannstedt a better deal. More money. More control over personnel. A wider power base. Whatever, the Giants lost out to the Bears. And Young has some explaining to do to Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch.
Eleven years after the Bears hired Ditka off the Cowboys staff, they are going back to Dallas for his replacement. For a while, it seemed that 33 years after the Giants handed the Cowboys a present named Tom Landry, the Cowboys would return the favor. And now can you imagine the heat on Young to pursue Parcells, who might be going to New England, of all places.
Do something, George.