New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge reportedly is finalizing a contract to become the next head coach of the New York Giants, and it sounds like Bill Belichick helped make it happen.
Newsday's Tom Rock reported Tuesday that Belichick, who won two Super Bowl titles as defensive coordinator for the Giants in the 1980s, talked to the team and gave a strong recommendation on Judge.
The Giants did put a call in to Bill Belichick about their head coach vacancy... but it wasn't to lure him back to NY. I'm told Bill gave a glowing recommendation to the Giants on Joe Judge. That carried a lot of weight.— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) January 7, 2020
Judge was a surprising hire in some ways for the Giants.
He's only 38 years old, and he's never been an offensive or defensive coordinator (like many first-time head coaches). The Giants were expected to interview other candidates, including Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Wednesday, but New York instead decided to move on Judge. Mississippi State's football program also had interest in hiring Judge to be its next head coach.
Judge had primarily been a special teams coach since he arrived in New England in 2012. The Patriots put a larger-than-normal emphasis on special teams compared to the rest of the league, and the unit's impressive success under Judge is a fine example of his coaching ability. Judge also added wide receiver coach to his duties this past season.
The Giants have a lot of work to do to return to contender status, but Judge's detail-oriented approach and the knowledge he's learned from working under Belichick and Alabama's Nick Saban should help him hit the ground running in New York.