The NY Giants introduced new head coach Joe Judge Thursday afternoon, and a contagious sense of urgency filled the room the moment the 38-year-old took the podium.
By his own admission, NY Giants president John Mara has been through too many head coaching candidate interviews over the past five seasons, but to Judge’s credit, Mara noted the most recent interview with Judge as the best he’s ever been apart of.
"“To be honest with you I went into the interview not really expecting all that much,” Mara said. “I didn’t really know him. I certainly knew of him, but the more we went on the more impressive he became."
But why were Mara and Tisch so blown away by the former New England Patriots special teams and wide receiver coach, and why are Giants fans rapidly jumping on the bandwagon?
"“What I’m about is an old-school, physical mentality. We’re going to put a product on the field that the people of this city and region can be proud of,” Judge said. We’ll play fast, we’ll play downhill, we’ll play aggressive. We’ll punch you in the nose.”"
The Mississippi State graduate wasn’t kidding about the grit aspect, either. In fact, Judge promised to have padded practices with tackling, something that isn’t relatively common in the NFL anymore.
Judge spoke about caring for his players and establishing significant relationships that can translate onto the field. He then talked about teaching and said he wants a “blue-collar” team that doesn’t take any plays off.
So Judge spoke well, but press conferences generally don’t mean anything, right?
In 2004, Tom Coughlin had fans wanting to run through a wall for him during his introductory press conference. It’s important to remember that if not for a Super-Bowl winning season in 2007, the fan-favorite Giants legend could have very well been fired after just four years.
Yes, the validity of a successful introductory press conference is obviously contingent on future wins and losses, but there is still much to be excited about here.
Although he did promise to be himself, Judge shares many core beliefs with his previous two bosses, such as not feeling fully committed a scheme and the importance of adjusting his strategies on the fly.
Perhaps the best part of the press conference, though, was when Judge pointed out how Belichick always put his players in positions to succeed, and how he is looking forward to replicating that in New York.
"“What I learned from Coach Belichick was real simple—be flexible within your personnel. Don’t try to shove round pegs into square holes… Don’t sit in a meeting and tell me what you don’t have in a player. Don’t tell me they can’t do certain things, tell me what they can do and then we’ll figure out as coaches, because that’s our job, how we can use that.”"
A lot of the speculation regarding Judge coming into the press conference dealt with his attention to detail, his ability to captivate a room, set a tone, and his inability to tolerate nonsense. His words on Thursday afternoon validate these notions.
If he stays true to himself, Judge will help the Giants take those crucial first steps towards re-establishing itself as one of the cornerstone franchises in the NFL.
Judge’s staff remains incomplete at the moment, and we are still several months removed from next season’s NFL training camp. However, there is still reason to be excited: Big Blue is on the verge of building a positive culture that can last for years to come.