The Giants today announced that Joe Judge will become the 19th head coach in franchise history.
Judge, 38, was a member of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff the previous eight seasons. In 2019, Judge was both the Patriots’ special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach.
“I am humbled and honored,” Judge said. “I want to thank John Mara, Steve Tisch, Dave Gettleman and Kevin Abrams for this opportunity. Over the past couple of days we had great conversations about where this team is and where it is headed and how we are going to get there. My job is to lead our players and coaches. The mission is clear, to win games. There is a process to reaching that objective, and we will implement that process and work that process starting today.”
Judge joined the Patriots in 2012 as the team’s assistant special teams coach, a position he held for three years. He was elevated to special teams coordinator in 2015 and was given the additional responsibility of coaching the wide receivers in 2019 after Chad O’Shea left the Patriots to become the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator.
In his 15 seasons as an NFL and collegiate coach, Judge has been a part of five championship teams. He was on the Patriots’ staff when they won Super Bowls XLIX, LI and LIII. New England played in the AFC Championship Game in each of Judge’s first seven seasons with the team. In addition, he coached at the University of Alabama when the Crimson Tide won BCS titles in 2009 and 2011.
Judge spent the last 11 seasons working under two of the most successful coaches in football history in Nick Saban and Bill Belichick.
This is Judge’s first head coaching job. He succeeds Pat Shurmur, who was dismissed on Dec. 30 after two seasons with the Giants.
Judge will be formally introduced at an afternoon press conference on Thursday.
“Joe has prepared for this moment and is ready for the challenge of leading our team,” said Gettleman, the Giants’ general manager. “His beliefs and principles are all about the team. Because of his background with special teams working under Bill Belichick, he has had the experience of evaluating and managing the entire roster. Can’t wait to work with him.”
Judge was interviewed on Monday at the team’s headquarters, the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, by Mara, the Giants’ president, Gettleman and Abrams, the team’s vice president of football operations. He met with team chairman Steve Tisch on Tuesday in Providence, R.I.
Before meeting with Judge, the Giants spoke to four other candidates: Dallas Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach Kris Richard, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale, and Mike McCarthy, who this week was named the new coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
“This was the deepest group of quality candidates I can recall, and Joe is as impressive a candidate as I have interviewed,” Mara said. “We met with Joe on Monday. We did have some other candidates lined up to speak with, but Joe had established the threshold at that point. He knows what winning looks like and should look like. His exposure and experience in New England and Alabama have helped shape his philosophy of building a winning program and culture. We are thankful that he has accepted the responsibility to lead our team.”
“We had a great conversation, and Joe articulated his vision of leadership and team building,” Tisch said. “He clearly learned some valuable lessons in both those areas while working with Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. He is an impressive young leader, and as we said last week, he will have the full support of ownership to get us where we want to be.”
Although the Patriots’ wide receivers and special teams both underwent significant turnover because of injuries, both units made numerous positive contributions to the 2019 Patriots, who finished 12-4 and won the AFC East title.
Julian Edelman, the Super Bowl LIII MVP, caught 100 passes for a career-high 1,117 yards and had a team-high six touchdown receptions.
Under Judge’s leadership in 2019, the Patriots finished ninth in the NFL in three significant special teams categories – punt return (8.0-yard average) and punt (6.3) and kickoff coverage (20.9). They were 17th in kickoff returns with an average of 22.1 yards on 26 runbacks.
In part because of injuries, New England this season used four kickers who combined to make 27 of 34 field goal attempts and 39 of 45 extra point tries.
Judge began his coaching career at his alma mater, Mississippi State, where he was a graduate assistant from 2005-07. He served as the special teams/linebackers coach at Birmingham-Southern in 2008. The following year, he began a three-year stint as a special teams assistant/football analyst under Saban at Alabama.
The Crimson Tide special teams were consistently outstanding during Judge’s tenure. They boasted a first-team All-America kicker and Groza Award finalist (Leigh Tiffin, 2009), a first-team All-America return specialist (Javier Arenas, 2009), an SEC all-freshman punter (Cody Mandell, 2010) and a returner who finished his career ranked second all-time in NCAA return yards (Arenas).
Judge joined the Patriots as assistant special teams coach in 2012 and was promoted to special teams coach following Scott O’Brien’s retirement in 2015.
Under Judge’s tutelage, kicker Stephen Gostkowski led the NFL in scoring four times and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2013, 2014 and 2015. With 156 points in 2017, Gostkowski became the first player in NFL history with five 150-point seasons. He is one of three players to lead the league in scoring in at least five seasons. While playing under Judge, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week five times and AFC Special Teams Player of the Month three times.
From 2012-18, Edelman was one of the most efficient punt returners in the NFL. He is second in Patriots history with a career punt return average of 11.7 yards, which also tied him for eighth all-time in the NFL.
Judge has also overseen standout kickoff return performances. In 2016, Dion Lewis scored on the longest kickoff return touchdown in team postseason history with a 98-yard return for a touchdown vs. Houston in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game. The previous season, Keshawn Martin had the longest kickoff return in the AFC with a 75-yard return vs. Tennessee.
In 2019, Judge’s special teams were prominent in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII victory against the Los Angeles Rams. New England’s punt team repeatedly pinned the Rams’ offense deep in their own territory throughout the game, forcing the Rams to start three of their drives inside their own 10-yard line. Special teams were also critical in a Week 7 victory at Chicago, scoring touchdowns on a kickoff return and a blocked punt.
Judge was born in Philadelphia, where his father, Joseph, played football at Temple and later with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL.
Judge played at Mississippi State from 2000-04, earning three letters. He and his wife, Amber, a former Mississippi State soccer player, have four children – Sean, Michael, Emma Riley and Ella Grace.