The New York Giants have hired former Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receiver coach Joe Judge to become their next head coach. For those outside of New England, you may be scratching your head and saying, “who?” Well, we’re here to shine some light on your latest head coach and what he brings to the table.
The Philly native has been with the organization since 2012 and has risen through the ranks of Bill Belichick’s staff ever since. On top of that experience with the Patriots, Judge has an impressive résumé that includes a lot of winning. Certainly, the Giants are hoping he can bring some of that winning formula into the building.
Below you’ll some quick-hit nuggets to get your caught up on the newest leading man in New York.
Will Brinson is joined by John Breech and Sean Wagner-McGough to react to the Giants hiring Joe Judge to be their next head coach. Listen to the episode below and be sure to subscribe to the Pick Six podcast here.
Played at Mississippi State
Judge played his college ball at Mississippi State from 2000-04 and earned three letters. He came to campus as a quarterback, but mostly played on special teams. It was also at Mississippi State where he began his coaching career, signing on as a graduate assistant in 2005 and staying aboard until 2007. From there he became the linebacker’s coach at Birmingham-Southern.
No head coaching experience
The Giants are certainly going outside the box with Judge, simply due to the fact that he has zero head coaching experience on his résumé. That’s not totally uncommon for Patriots assistants as Matt Patricia (Lions) and Brian Flores (Miami) didn’t have any head coaching experience before taking their jobs in the NFL either. Unlike those two, who came up on the defensive side of the ball, Judge primarily has a special teams background.
Comes from the Saban-Belichick tree
While he may not have head coaching experience, Judge has quite the résumé at just 38 years old. Not only is he coming to New York after being groomed by Bill Belichick for the past eight years in New England, but Judge also spent three years with Nick Saban at Alabama as his special teams assistant. Combined: Judge was a part of five championships (three Super Bowls, two National Championships). Given his professional upbringing, don’t be surprised if Judge follows a very similar coaching style to both his mentors. Judge also played under Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State and also worked alongside Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State, too.
Almost left Patriots with Josh McDaniels
Judge reportedly almost left the Patriots back in 2018 to join Josh McDaniels’ staff in Indianapolis. He was set to serve as his special teams coordinator, but after things fell through and McDaniels returned to New England, so did Judge. Since then, Judge has been a name that has been talked about as a potential head coach somewhere in football. Prior to talking this job with the Giants, Judge was looked at as a favorite to land with his alma mater in Mississippi State as its next head coach. This jump was clearly coming, but it is a tad surprising it’s coming so soon.
Ran an elite special teams unit with the Patriots
One of the calling cards of the Patriots is their strong special teams unit. That was on full display under Joe Judge this season where New England ranked No. 1 in average starting field position (32.7) and No. 1 in opponent starting field position (25.1). The Patriots were able to attack the ball extremely well on punts, blocking two that were returned for touchdowns (a league high). New England also never allowed a punt to be returned for 20 or more yards this season under Judge.
Judge is also the first special teams coordinator to be hired as a head coach since John Harbaugh in 2008 with the Baltimore Ravens.
Added receivers coach to his resume this year
Judge has been making the climb through the coaching ranks and just started to crack through on the offensive side of the ball this season with the Patriots after being promoted to receivers coach with Chad O’Shea departing for Miami. Judge manned both the special teams and receivers in what was his final year in Foxborough and, while that’s hardly the equivalent of managing an entire football operation, he did show that he can juggle multiple responsibilities.
“Joe’s done a great job,” Bill Belichick said last Tuesday prior to New England playoff loss to Tennessee. “He’s done a great job with the kicking game, and as you said, he’s expanded the role a little bit and that’s kind of had a little bit of a ripple effect in the way we’ve organized the kicking game, but that’s all worked out pretty efficiently. Joe’s done a good job of organizing that, as well as taking care on some other things with the offense and particularly receivers. So, he’s done a good job. He’s an excellent coach.”