Joe Judge did not receive a fair shake with Giants.. The New York Giants officially pulled the plug on Tuesday, firing head coach Joe Judge after just two seasons with the team.
The termination represented the end of a remarkable fall from grace for Judge, who arrived in East Rutherford with the full support of team ownership. John Mara and Steve Tisch were convinced that Judge would finally put an end to the vicious coaching cycle and restore Giants pride.
As recently as two and a half months ago, Mara and Tisch still believed that. In fact, Mara offered his public support of Judge.
“It is,” Mara said when asked if his belief in Judge remains strong. “Obviously, we’ve struggled this year, but he has not lost the locker room, and I’ve seen that happen over the years. I think the players still believe in him. We’ve just got to get our guys healthy again.”
But things drastically changed after that comment was made.
The Giants completely fell apart on the field, losing six straight games — many of them in humiliating fashion — to close out the season. And then, of course, there was the 11-minute rant Judge unleashed following a loss to Chicago in Week 17.
That speech was likely the final nail in Judge’s coffin.
Changes were necessary and Judge had to go with a new general manager coming in to oversee things. It was the only move ownership could make if they truly wanted to start fresh. Plus, Judge left them little choice.
But how much of the failure was the fault of Judge? Did he really get a fair shake? We’d argue not so much…
Judge started behind the eight-ball in his first season with the Giants. The world was crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and that drastically altered the approach for the first-time head coach. Rather than working on-hand with his team, Judge was thrust into a virtual world where he had to create a foundation digitally.
There was also the presence of general manager Dave Gettleman, who had already lost the faith of fans and was trending downward. His roster building left Judge very little meat on the bone to work with and that was only compounded by bad contracts and injuries in 2021.
By the time this past season ended, the Giants led the league in games missed due to injury and were so depleted offensively that they failed to function at even a High School level. Never was that more evident than in Week 18 when they ran back-to-back quarterback sneaks inside their own 10-yard line with their third-string quarterback.
That, too, was a bad look for Judge but a necessary evil. Situationally, the Giants had been there a week earlier and failed. Judge simply refused to relive that nightmare.
Then, of course, there was the presence of Jason Garrett — a veteran coach who was forced on Judge as his offensive coordinator. The relationship didn’t work and had completely fizzled by the time of Garrett’s mid-season termination.
Judge was also saddled with a roster that he didn’t help build. He inherited the injured-prone Saquon Barkley, the under-performing Daniel Jones and one of the worst offensive lines ever assembled, among other negatives.
Yes, this was the job Judge had campaigned for. Yes, he was certain he could take what was given and fix things. That did not happen but to poke fun of Judge, pile on and force him to shoulder the majority of blame is both unfair and objectively dishonest. He couldn’t save the already sinking ship and had to go, but he certainly didn’t drown the organization himself.