By Lenn Robbins
The hiring of Joe Judge says more about the state of the Giants than it does about the relatively unknown quantity that is about to become the 19th head coach of what once was one of the premier sports franchises in American sports.
Only the most diehard football fans knew who Judge was before Tuesday’s stunning announcement that he would sit in the office as Allie Sherman, Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin.
Judge has worked for highly successful organizations, as Alabama’s and, most recently, New England’s special teams coordinators. Judge also was the Patriots receivers coach. He knows what success looks like and feels like but he can create that for the Giants? Who knows.
Judge was quickly moving up the list of intriguing young coaches. Mississippi State was poised to make Judge, a former Bulldogs player, its head coach. And when Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel accepted the Indianapolis Colts job, if only in Central Belichick Time, he tabbed Judge as one of his lieutenants.
We know that people in the know hold Judge in esteem.
But apparently the Giants no longer are held in high esteem, which should be just as disconcerting as who the Giants have hired.
Mike McCarthy reportedly was high on the Giants list of candidates to replace Pat Shurmur. He chose the Cowboys.
Matt Rhule was supposed to interview for the Giants job on Tuesday. He literally took the money and ran, getting a seven-year, $60 million deal from the Panthers. Rhule reportedly called the Giants hoping to leverage a similar deal from his hometown team and dream job.
Apparently, it’s not as dreamy as it once was, although Rhule got 60 million reasons to find in a new dream in Carolina.
That left the Giants feeling a little more squeezed. McCarthy was gone. Rhule was gone. Judge was on the verge of being gone to Mississippi State.
Think about that – the Giants found themselves competing with a second-tier SEC team located in Starkville, MS.
Judge just turned 38 on Dec. 31st. He is the third youngest head coach in NFL. He has never run an offense or a defense. He is not a quarterback whisperer. He reportedly is a no-nonsense coach not afraid to challenge players.
He could be a remarkable head coach, a diamond in the rough. He could be in way over his head. New England assistant coaches don’t engage with media. New York coaches can’t escape it.
Yes, there are a lot of question marks regarding one Joe Judge. But there is no question about how far the Giants have fallen.