The New York Football Giants are reportedly set to hire 38-year-old Joe Judge as the 21st Head Coach of this storied franchise. The move will most certainly raise a few eyebrows, as Judge comes over from the New England Patriots as a former Special Teams/Wide Receiver coach. That is not a jump that you see very often.
For a team like the New York Giants, whose every move seems to be heavily scrutinized and over-analyzed, this was certainly a risk. It was made an even bigger risk when news broke that Matt Rhule, who many claimed was the #1 target for the Giants, took the Carolina Panther job. Before accepting the job, it has been reported that Rhule called the Giants to give them a chance to match/exceed the Panthers offer (not a glowing endorsement of commitment for a Panther fan).
To me, that means the Giants were fully convinced they got their guy in Judge (or they didn’t want to pay the $85+ million it would have taken to buy out Rhule’s contract while giving him a new 7-year deal). It makes me feel better that Rhule reached back out to the Giants as well. For all the shit the Giants will take for this move, and all the blame Gettleman and Mara will get for not getting Rhule because they are now a terrible franchise to some, Rhule wanted to be a Giant enough to reach out before taking the offer. Now, why would someone do that for a franchise he didn’t want to work for? Such a TERRIBLE franchise and GM, I know!
The conviction the Giants have in getting Judge is the same conviction that we saw them have when they took Daniel Jones at #6 in last year’s draft. Everyone had Jones pegged as a lower pick. They all laughed at Gettleman and Co. for the move. Nobody seems to be laughing about the pick now.
I digress. You came here to read about Joe Judge. I know it’s hard to get too excited about this guy, being a former Special Teams coach and all. As some smart person said once, “If it’s a job worth doing, It’s worth doing well”. Well, Judge has led a powerful Special Teams unit up in New England for many years now, and he has done it under one of the best in Bill Belichick’s watchful eye.
Getting a recommendation from the GOAT is always a plus in my mind. Judge also coached under Saban in Alabama as a Special Teams assistant from 2009 to 2011. Again, there are worse coaches to have coached under than Belichick and Saban. If you are coaching under those two greats, you need to be disciplined, detail-oriented and command a presence. All of which Judge does at a ripe young age.
For all the crap the the Giants have taken for making this low-key hire from fans and uninformed media members ( I am looking at you Stephen A. and Colin Cowherd), they have been praised almost unanimously from analysts and former football guys in the know. By all reports, Judge is well-respected around the league, and nobody is surprised that he got a head coaching gig. For all the detractors that say Judge has never been a Head Coach of a football team, there was an offer on the table from Mississippi State to make him their next Head Coach. Don’t get caught up in these minor details folks. If the Giants did not make him their Head Coach, some other team would have shortly thereafter.
This is an outside-the-box hire for an organization that doesn’t typically make these kinds of hires. The Giants are openly mocked and made fun of for not being a progressive franchise and for not being forward-thinking. This goes against that trend. Many in the NFL called for more Special Team coaches to get looks as head coaches in the NFL, due to the fact they often dealt with players on both sides of the ball and had a more holistic coaching job than some of these Offensive and Defensive Coordinators that often get first looks at Head Coaching positions. John Harbaugh, one of the best coaches in the NFL right now, cut his teeth as a Special Teams coach in Philadelphia before taking the Ravens job. This move is not unprecedented in the NFL.
Let’s all get behind Judge here and hope we found ourselves a diamond in the rough. There was a theory out there that no Bill Belichick disciple could have success in the NFL after leaving his tree, but we have a former coach in Bill O’Brien coaching the Texans and a former player in Mike Vrabel coaching the Titans still coaching in the playoffs right now. Let’s hope Judge follows this line of success and brings some to the GMen.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s Take:
Don’t get it twisted folks, I am not over here doing cartwheels just yet. Having said that, you have to like the lineage that Judge possesses. I am holding off Judgement (Sorry, couldn’t help myself) until I hear the man speak and until I see what kind of staff he assembles.
The latter is the biggest key to this signing. It is IMPERATIVE that Judge surrounds himself with solid hires at the Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, and Offensive Line coaching spots. Preferably, at least one of those guys has prior coaching experience to help Judge through his first couple of years while he learns the nuances of being an NFL coach in a major market like New York.
Judge is from the North East (shout out to Lansdale, PA for all my PA folk if you are out there), so he knows what he is getting himself into in terms of accountability. We need a CEO-type coach that is going to come in here and take charge. We need a leader. Here’s hoping that Joe Judge can be our guy.
One thing I do know, Jason Garrett ain’t it! For that reason alone, I am a little happier today. Now, if he wants to come on as an Offensive Coordinator, I will entertain it. Not a Head Coach though. Even the Giants weren’t that dumb, and that gives me hope!
Lastly, the Panthers ended up shelling out John Gruden-type money to Rhule, a guy that hasn’t coached a down in the NFL yet. That was on top of a massive buy-out of his Baylor contract. I wanted Rhule as much as the next guy, but that is a shitload of money to shell out for a guy with little-to-no NFL experience.
I am good with Judge. Let’s rock buddy.