Joe Judge offers impassioned defense of NY Giants’ culture

Head Coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants looks on during the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 02, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Head Coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants looks on during the fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 02, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

NY Giants head coach Joe Judge offered a passionate defense of his team’s culture, despite a 4-12 record entering the season’s final week

Following a blowout loss to the Chicago Bears that his team looked woefully undermanned and dreadfully underprepared, NY Giants head coach Joe Judge forcefully defended his team’s culture, despite its 4-12 record.

Judge, who has now won just 10 of the 32 games that he has coached the Giants, rattled off a litany of reasons why he believes his team is headed in the right direction during an epic 10-minute response to a question after a 29-3 dismantling by the Bears.

Rather than part and parcel Judge’s feelings, here is his answer, in its entirety:

"You know, we talk inside a lot. Okay? And I don’t ever ask for patience from anybody. Let’s get that clear right now. All right? And the fans have every right to have an opinion. That’swhy they’re fans. They have every right. You buy a ticket, come to the stadium, you have every right to boo me going out of the stadium.That’s the way it is. That’s what we sign up for, right?And it’s New York. It’s supposed to be a tough place to be.Certain cities in this country, they don’t even know if their teams playing today. All right? So you sign up for a job in a city like New York, you expect to have this. I never shied away from that. I ain’t worried about that at all. When we talk internally, you look at a lot of things movingin the right direction and you know the targets of what you have to improve going forward.The important things is we know the direct targets of what you have to prove. And, no, I’m not going to go individually into these today.But, we know the direct targets of what you got to hit. All right, and you look at what you got tomake in a short turn to go ahead and make a quick turnaround to build the things you’ve done well.Right?And I say that all the time. There’s things we’ve done well, we got to build on them, right?So we look at overall what we’re doing, there’s a number of things going in the right direction that we know that are foundational things, things you got to put in place for the team to have success, on and off the field. On and off the field.Okay?The important thing is when you have those direct targets, you got to find a way to minimize the things, okay, that you struggle with and you work your hardest to go ahead andmake you give yourself and your team a chance for success by trying to take certain aspects away from the game so it can’t expose you as a weakness.Okay, and you got to play to the strengths as much as possible. All right? There’s certain aspects and things that, you know, see on tape from around the league. And Italk to the guys all the time.Look, this is about being a team and making sure you don’t waste any opportunities. We’re not sitting here being preachy.But I’m not going to tell you pointblank what I tell them. You guys always want to know what the hell we talk about all the time, I’ll tell you pointblank what it is.All right, when the guys come to work on Wednesday, okay, and they bust their butt for you, and turn around on Thursday, and they’re all committed doing extras in position units, doing extras individually to get their body right, they’re doing everything going forward, okay, andthey go out there and practice with good energy, good enthusiasm, and you know you’re in the right position right there, okay, you know you got that aspect going right there.I talk to the players all the time, guys. I talk to them very openly and transparently. We don’t even know have captains because a majority of our captains are no longer playing for the remainder of the season, so we do a leadership meeting now. I look at the guys at the end of the day and say,Guys, hey, listen, this is your time to talk to me, you speak for the team. You tell me what’s going on. You tell me, How’s the team? How’s the beat of the team? What do I got to beaware of? What’s something I don’t know?Because everyone always tells me what I want to hear, right? So I ask someone just individually, I ask a player, they’re going to tell me whatever I want to hear. I ask a coach the same type of thing. All right, I got to have a group of players who are going to look me in the eye, and they know I can tell Joe what exactly the hell is going on. So I got that core group ofguys, right?You know, you look them in the eye and you ask one guy, he’s the first one to speak up, I’m not going to individuals, they can talk amongst theirselves later on.But, you know, we had one guy say, I’ve never been in playoff contention, I never knew what it was like to be in a position where you’re actually playing games not to be in the playoffs or improve seeding or whatever it may be or get into playoffs. You know, didn’t what to expect andwhen we were officially eliminated it was almost an expectation of that player of how is everyone going to react? Kind of getting ready to come in to himself and get everyone rally the team a little bit. Okay?And that other player spoke up and said that they’ve never been in playoff contention period. They weren’t present with us last year throughout the remainder of the seasonfor a certain reason, to even be in it last year as a player on the stretch. But both guys had the same response, though. Everybody on the team is locked in. Everyone on the team comes into work. Everybody comes in every week and is committed to doing it the right way and playing together as a team.Okay?There’s a lot of teams right now that are out of playoff contention. Okay, whether it’s golf clubs in the locker room, or people planning vacations outside of it. All right, there’s a lot of finger pointing and blaming and shouting. All that type of stuff, right, all that stuff.You know what we have in our building, any of that. We don’t got any of that. Any of that. Our guys know we have one more week this year to be this team. They know we have one more week this year to be this team. And they expect me to show up and give every ounce of football that I got in me this next week. You got that?They’re getting everything out of me. But I expect the same in return. And I just told them that a second ago. That’s what I expect. The expectation here is I expect every ounce of football you got inside of you. Okay? And there’s things we have in line right now, there’s thing we have in place where certain units are playing and certain players are playing and we got some foundational, core guys. We know the culture is strong.I’m going to tell you’s right now. You guys always ask me about off the field stuff and why the hell is it so important to have culture, so I’m going to tell you right now, all right? A few years ago before I came here, when I came here and I sat down with all the players, I wanted to know what it was like in here, what we had to change from their mouths, all right, to a man every player looked me in the eye and said, Joe, ‘it’s not a team, they don’t play hard, we’re out ofplayoffs, everybody quit, everybody tapped, they stoppedshowing up to captains meetings, all that stuff.’ Right?They tapped out. Okay?I’ve been a part of teams in other places. And I’m not trying to make this place anywhere else I’ve been. But lessons I’ve learned: Let me tell you something right now, all right, in 2018, I was a part of a team who halfway through the season, all right, we were all pretty convincedwe were getting fired. We didn’t think we were going to make the playoffs, had no concept of anything was coming, we just showed up and kept improving to work week after week.And on the outside, we were we all terrible. But we didn’t care about that any of that noise on the outside. We didn’t care about it at all. What do you care about on the inside, what are you doing? They showed up, they fought, they worked. We were improving as a team and put things together, and make a run and, you know, ended up winning the championship.But the thing I really learned that year was, the importance of the culture inside, how important and valuable that is. Because I was part of more talented teams that came up short and lost games down the stretch. Much more talented, all right?But the one thing that really was solidified, in my mind, in my DNA that year in ’18, was the fact that it’s so much more important and how strong you are inside.Because no team goes through a smooth season. No team goes through a smooth season. So if you can go the junk we’re going through right now, okay, as a team team, if you can go through the tough times we’re going through right now as a team, all right, and have the defense takethe field every single time ready to play, every time, all right, there’s a lot of people that want to say, ‘Hey, guys, you picked off the ball, they ran down the end zone, you guys are down big, right?’ So we can turn around and say, ‘Yeah, get your butts backon the bench, we’re down, we’re not celebrating.’You know what, though, they play every play with enthusiasm, every play with energy. Every play with each other. I want them to celebrate that. I want to see that energy and passion. That’s how they practice every day.Okay? I want to see them play that way as well. That last fourth down they stopped them on, that’s two games in a row where the game was over, we’re out, it’s done. Vegas is already paying out people. Like, that’s done. All right?But that’s two fourth downs in a row, two weeks in a row, that I’m sitting there and watching our defense finish the way they got to finish. Fourth down, stop them, shooting the gap and stopping them, a good wall going on the opposite side to stop the run. Hate dropping back into coverage and making that play right there on that little kind of Tebow walk, cat pass, or whatever the hell you want to call it right there. All right? So this ain’t a team that’s having fistfights on the sidelines. This ain’t some clown show organization or somethingelse.You talk about the foundation built, you talk about the things that — the toughest thing to change in a team, the toughest thing to change in a club is the way people think.You understand that?That’s the toughest thing. You can get new players, you can’t get out of your damn locker room all you want, you got to change how people thinking. You got to change how they fucking — pardon my — how they believe in what you’re doing.And then you got to trust the process. And that’s a lot easier said than done, when they’re looking up right now and you got one game left and the most games you’re going to win is five this season.But I guarantee you this, those men are going to walk in on Wednesday and be ready to roll. We’re going to practice hard on Wednesday, we’re going to practice hard on Thursday, and we’re going to practice hard on Friday.Okay?And we’re going to play for each other on the field next week. If we don’t play well, every fan has the right to boo my ass out of the stadium. You got that? That don’t bother me. Idon’t think anyone wants to get booed. Okay?But the reality is that’s all right. That’s all right. They have that right. So the fans are — and we go back to the first fart part, the fans are every bit right to ask what you’re asking.100 percent. Okay? 100 percent. And I get about a dozen e-mails a day, all right, six ofwhich ask me exactly what you’re asking, the other six offerfull support the other way.Okay?To me, both are great. Both are great. Okay? Both are great. If you think I sit on back and and say what we’re doing is good enough? No. It’s not. But I know this, I know the first time I ever talked to you guys in front of the mic, what the hell did I talk about? Foundation, right? Talking about building from the ground up, building the right thing.Okay.Now, you guys ain’t been in the building for two years now with this coach, right, but I’ll tell you right now, all right, if you’re in the damn building, you walk on through our locker room, you ain’t seeing that crap you saw before.All right?You ain’t seeing guys planning vacations, you ain’t seeing golf clubs in front of players’ locker. You ain’t seeing that stuff. Okay? You ain’t seeing it.All right, and that’s not because of some high school program because we’re cracking the whip. It’s because our guys understand how to play together as a team and understand the process how we’re going through. So I can go through a whole Xs and Os evaluation, I can go througha roster evaluation, I do it every day myself. I go through all that stuff.But in terms of the next step to take, I can tell you right now, okay, I know we’re a whole lot closer where we’re going than further away. I can tell you that right now. I can tell you we got more players here who are going to be free agents next year, all right, who are in my office every day begging to come back.Okay? I know that.Where player who we coached last year that still calling me twice a week talking about how much they wish they were still here and they’re getting paid more somewhere else.Okay?So, I know we’ve got the right foundational pieces there. I know we have some players in key positions who are guys that you can build with and keep carrying on. All right? I know we got the right temperament. I know we got the right culture in terms of teaching the players. Okay, which is why I don’t come up here and try to assassinate some player because I think it’s going to save my ass.Okay?Because behind closed doors, we shut those doors, I can tell every player, to a man, look them in the eye and tell him exactly what the hell he screwed up, exactly how it’s got to get fixed, I got to tell him to hold him as accountable as can be. Because I ain’t going to sit up here like some other cowards sitting behind the mic and put his players on blast.Okay? That’s it.I signed up to be the head coach here. Whatever bull gets fired, they got fired for me. You got that? It’s got to go through me to get to them. And that’s the way it is."

Because reporters have been barred from NFL locker rooms since the 2019 season, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no discernable way to verify the claims Judge is making. But, the results are the same as seasons past.

It certainly would be an improvement of perception, at least, if players are not parking their golf bags at their locker, as Golden Tate did for at least half a season during the 2019 campaign. Likewise, it would send the wrong message if players are booking their postseason vacations, while sitting in the locker room.

Players routinely under former head coach Pat Shurmur would play poker in the locker room and at one point the head coach even added a ping pong table and cornhole boards, for a team that won just nine of his 32 games.

It’s probably better if the NY Giants have a more workmanlike approach, but the results are more of the same, missing the postseason for the fifth consecutive season. Fans don’t care about culture, unless the wins begin to follow.

Creating those wins, translating that culture into tangible results has been Joe Judge’s tallest order, and will remain so for as long as he’s on the NY Giants’ sidelines.