By Larry Fine
(Reuters) - Black Monday, the often bloody day for axing coaches following the NFL's regular season finale, passed quietly this year as Tom Coughlin's exit from the New York Giants was the only new opening in the coaching carousel.
The departure of Coughlin, 69, after 12 years and two Super Bowl wins was technically a resignation as he issued a statement to say it was in the best interests of the club for him to "step down" but it was widely believed the coach was keen to continue.
The Giants, coming off their third consecutive losing season and fourth in a row without a playoff berth, join the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans as teams shopping for a new head coach.
The Browns and Niners wielded the ax on Sunday, while the Eagles, Dolphins and Titans finished the season with interim coaches who are longshots to remain at the helm.
The Indianapolis Colts appeared ready to enter the fray as they had scheduled a news conference for Monday to make an announcement about beleaguered head coach Chuck Pagano.
But over an hour after the expected start of the press conference, the Colts called it off for Monday leaving an air of suspense about the top of a coaching staff that will try to turn around an 8-8 season that left them outside the playoffs.
The Giants job is an alluring National Football League destination as the critical quarterback position is already well staffed.
The tradition-rich Giants have Eli Manning set as their signal caller. Manning, a 12-year veteran, is a two-time Super Bowl most valuable player and the current iron man at the position with an ongoing 183 consecutive starts.
Manning, who turned 35 on Sunday, is coming off a year in which he threw 35 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions.
Among the leading candidates for NFL head coaching spots are accomplished coaches currently on other NFL staffs, including offensive coordinators Hue Jackson (Cincinnati), Josh McDaniels (New England), Adam Gase (Chicago) and Mike Shula (Carolina).
Defensive coordinators considered to be strong prospects include Sean McDermott (Carolina) and Teryl Austin (Detroit), along with Jacksonville assistant head coach Doug Marrone.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)