New England Patriots: How Joe Judge became an NFL head coach

The New England Patriots had some of the best special teams in the NFL this year, and as such, Joe Judge is the new head coach of the New York Giants.

Even though all eyes were on New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to be the next head coach in the NFL, it appears Joe Judge became the frontrunner for the position and is now the new head coach of the New York Giants.

Before Joe Judge was an assistant coach for the New England Patriots, he spent a few seasons as a football analyst for Alabama University under the great coach and friend of Bill Belichick, Nick Saban. While at Alabama, Judge would win two BCS National Championships while being responsible for special teams for the Crimson Tide.

After leaving Alabama in 2011, Judge became the special teams coordinator for Belichick and the Patriots in 2012. Due to the close relationship of Belichick and Saban, Judge was in fact a great candidate to join the NFL in Belichick’s system – similar to how players from Alabama usually work well on Belichick’s team once they get to the pros.

Belichick and Saban have risen to the highest of heights in their respective fields (Belichick in the NFL and Saban in the NCAA). As we learned in the HBO special titled “Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching,” Steve Belichick (Bill’s father) and Saban coached together at the Naval Academy in the early 1980s. The way Bill and Nick were both instructed on football in some manner by the great Steve Belichick could be a credit to their successes.

With Judge being part of two successful football programs under two of the greatest coaches in their respective leagues, it’s hard to believe he isn’t the prodigy of a Belichick-Saban mentorship.

Judge has held special teams responsibilities for the Pats since 2012. But in 2019, Belichick gave him wide receiver duties on top of his continuing oversight of the special teams unit.

All Pro specialist and captain for the Patriots, Matthew Slater, highlighted the type of coach and person Judge is earlier this year, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss:

“He’s very intense. Joe is really passionate about what he does. He has a hyper attention to detail; there is no stone unturned by the time we get to the game, and we feel super prepared and know he’s going to put us in position to make plays. As a player, that’s all you can ask for. And you have to appreciate the energy and passion with which he coaches. I think it really carries over to us as players. We love going out there and playing for him, and for each other.”

It’s worth mentioning Josh McDaniels recruited Judge to join his staff in Indianapolis. But when the plans fell through between McDaniels and the Colts, Belichick then brought both coaches back in to the New England Patriots.

The New England Patriots’ special teams unit was one of the best in the league in 2019, and it was led by Judge. After glowing recommendations from both Belichick and Saban, the New York Giants seem confident in hiring Joe Judge as their newest head coach.

Judge was introduced earlier this week as the next head coach of the Giants, and he absolutely nailed his first press conference. After hearing what he had to say, I’m looking forward to seeing Joe Judge perform as a head coach.