The latest graduate of the Patriots’ School of Anonymity is here and he will be coaching one of the biggest franchises in the NFL next year, the Giants. It was time for a change in New York after two seasons of struggle under Pat Shurmur. The G-men have a 42-70 record since 2013, including at least 11 losses a season over the last three years.
The new man in charge has quite the lineage. He has worked under both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban in his relatively short career. Judge started his career as a Graduate Assistant at his Alma Mater, Mississippi State in 2005. He moved on to become Linebackers Coach at Birmingham Southern for 2008. It was in 2009 that he made the big career leap though. Judge moved to Alabama to be part of Nick Saban’s staff as a Special Teams Assistant.
He must have made quite the impression in his three years with the Tide. Bill Belichick then cherry picked Judge for the same role with the Patriots in 2012. The Mississippi State alum focused on the strategy and technique of kicking. After six years as an assistant, he was promoted by the Patriots to Special Teams Coordinator in 2015 when Scott O’Brien retired. He held that role until being hired by the Giants on Tuesday.
Judge was also responsible for the Wide Receivers in New England this year after Chad O’Shea became the Dolphins’ OC, in a move to prepare him as Head Coaching Candidate. Wile he may not be on the Sean McVay fast track, it is still quite the rise for Judge. He has gone from from Graduate Assistant to Head Coach in 15 years. Judge’s experience so far has been fruitful, with two BCS National Championships and three Super Bowl victories.
Special Teams Experience Invaluable
One thing that will have made Judge’s CV stand out compared to others is the range of people he will have had to work with. While he only worked in Special Teams from 2009-2018, it means that he will have worked with players on both sides of the ball. On top of that he would have liaised with offensive and defensive coaches on a day to day basis.
Time is also a factor for Special Teams Coordinators, as HCs prefer to focus on the other two phases of the game. This means a good Special Teams Coordinator like Judge must be efficient, clear and concise in their coaching. By the way Judge’s units were some of the most fearsome in college and the NFL.
All this gives him a leg up on coordinators without Head Coaching experience. Others will have only focused on one side of the ball and are suddenly charged with looking after everyone. Judge already has, having to maintain relationships with the vast majority of the roster and coaching staff.
Judge’s Special Teams experience puts him very much in the mould of John Harbaugh. However he comes with Belichick and Saban’s seal of approval. Both took on roles as a position coach in their final year before becoming Head Coach. That helped them prove they were Head Coach material.
Will New York Media Spotlight Affect Judge?
There really isn’t much information on Judge compared to other Head Coaching candidates. Judge has almost completed a Ph.D. in education at Mississippi State but defending his dissertation may now have to wait. Other than that, he is only know as a Patriots employee. Judge clearly likes to keep himself out of the limelight. He has revelled in the anonymity of Special Teams up until now. That does make the decision to coach in New York of all places an interesting one.
If Judge is anything like his main mentors, a big media spotlight won’t be in his field of vision. Judge is here to coach, not be a media personality, and his sole goal now is resurrecting the New York Football Giants.
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