Joe Judge leaving Patriots to become new Giants head coach

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Longtime New England Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge has reportedly agreed to become the new head coach of the New York Giants.

The exodus has begun.

New England Patriots special teams and wide receivers coach Joe Judge became the first major defection out of Foxborough this offseason. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Judge has agreed to become the next head coach of the New York Giants.

Judge will replace Pat Shurmur, who was fired at the end of December. Shurmur lasted just two seasons on the job.

It’s a relatively surprising hire by the Giants for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Judge has absolutely no head coaching experience. He cut his teeth working as a special teams assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2009-2011, and then left Tuscaloosa in 2012 to take the same position with the Patriots and Bill Belichick.

Judge was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and then started doing double-duty last season as both the special teams coordinator and the wide receivers coach. A number of players in both departments praised Judge’s know-how and ability, and it was widely assumed that his star was on the rise in football circles.

Just how far and how fast that star has suddenly risen is the bigger surprise though.

Many analysts and prognosticators assumed that of the Patriots coaching staff, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the most likely candidate to leave for a bigger job elsewhere. McDaniels has been tied to head coaching vacancies in Cleveland, Carolina, and New York.

And yet, the Mara family (owners of the Giants) were apparently impressed enough with Judge after his interview that they actually canceled McDaniels’ interview entirely. The Maras offered Judge the job and he accepted, and now he’s all set to become the 19th head coach in the history of the franchise.

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With Judge set to leave, the focus around New England now shifts not only to McDaniels, but also to retaining a number of other high-profile figures who could be playing, coaching, or working for other franchises in 2020. That list includes McDaniels, Tom Brady, Nick Caserio, and a number of free agents, as well.