NEW YORK -- Bill Belichick was a finalist for the Phoenix job that went to Washington assistant head coach/offense Joe Bugel during the offseason. He would like to become an NFL head coach.

Ron Erhardt hasn't gotten a nibble since the Patriots fired him in 1981. He wouldn't mind another shot but thinks it's out of the question.

Both coordinators' contracts -- in fact all the Giant assistant coaches' contracts -- expire after the season.

"The main time I've spent thinking about {a head coaching job} is when it's pretty close to approaching," said Belichick, who said he was contacted by one other NFL team before '89. "It's something I might be interested in . . . would be interested in, if the situation was right. I'd have to look at it when it came up. It's not a geographical thing. It's not like I'm waiting for the job in San Antonio or whatever. It'd be the overall cumulative situation of an organization."

"It would be nice, but it's probably out of the question," said Erhardt, 58, referring to his age. "There are other people older who have gotten head jobs. I think I've got a bad stigma because of what happened at New England. But if the opportunity presented itself, the right situation, you'd sure have to take a look at it."

Giants Coach Bill Parcells believes both men would make excellent head men in the '90s. But he offers caution.

"No matter what you've experienced as an assistant coach, being a head coach is appreciably different," he said. "One of the more difficult things today is dealing with the media. There's tremendous scrutiny in sports today. Some people can approach it with a very relaxed, candid attitude while others can have a difficult time.

"The other thing is the management of a tremendous number of people. Players, support staff, assistant coaches, equipment people, trainers, the film guys. Another 10, 12, maybe 20 people that need direction. . . . Some of whom will go their own way if you let them."

Parcells's contract doesn't expire until after next season, but it's not unreasonable to guess that he'll step down if his Giants win the Super Bowl.

Could Belichick or Erhardt succeed him? Parcells said he wouldn't give his opinion unless asked, and then only in private to his bosses. Would Belichick or Erhardt want it?

"I haven't given it much thought, to be honest," Belichick said. "I'm sure there'd be some problems, I'm sure there'd be some advantages."

"I would never even give it any thought right now," Erhardt insisted. "I haven't. Not even a thought. Not even anything. You're the first guy that's even mentioned it."