The New York Giants may have lost out on Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, but they had another option in mind. The team is finalizing a deal to make Patriots’ wide receivers and special teams coach Joe Judge their next head coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal reportedly was in the works last night which Schefter reports is one of the reasons Rhule took the Panthers’ job. Ian Rapoport tweeted that Rhule gave the Giants a chance to match, but they declined.
Judge has spent the past eight years coaching under Bill Belichick. He joined the Patriots as a special teams assistant in 2012 and was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015. In 2019, Belichick added wide receivers coach to his role. Prior to that he spent three years at Alabama as a special teams assistant, one year at Birmingham-Southern as a linebackers coach and three years at Mississippi State as a graduate assistant.
Judge was viewed by some as the odd man out in the Giants coaching search. However, his extensive special teams work follows a modest trend. John Harbaugh moved into his head coach job from special teams work, and several notable all-time great coaches had a special teams foundation, including Bill Belichick, Bill Cowher, Marv Levy, Dick Vermeil, and Mike Ditka all had a special teams background before coaching other units and becoming head coaches.
Judge flies a bit under the radar, but two years ago when his contract was set to expire, he was on track to join Josh McDaniels in Indianapolis before that fell apart. The addition of the WR coach role this past year suggests his growing value in the eyes of Bill Belichick.