Joe Judge Fired by Giants After 2 Seasons as Head Coach

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 11, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 12: Head coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants looks on during a 37-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The New York Giants fired head coach Joe Judge on Tuesday. 

Team president John Mara issued a statement:

"Steve (Tisch) and I both believe it is in the best interest of our franchise to move in another direction. We met with Joe yesterday afternoon to discuss the state of the team. I met again with Joe this afternoon, and it was during that conversation I informed Joe of our decision. We appreciate Joe's efforts on behalf of the organization.
"I said before the season started that I wanted to feel good about the direction we were headed when we played our last game of the season. Unfortunately, I cannot make that statement, which is why we have made this decision."

The news comes one day after the Giants announced general manager Dave Gettleman's retirement.

New York went 10-23 in Judge's two seasons as head coach.

It initially looked like the 40-year-old would be safe. USA Today's Josina Anderson reported Monday he was expected to stay on for the 2022 season.

The organization obviously lost faith in his general vision and prefers instead to start over with a new general manager and head coach.

Judge's firing will likely be welcome news for fans.

In December, he attempted to argue the franchise was making strides behind the scenes in ways that weren't readily recognizable:

Giants Videos @SNYGiants

"It's not simple. It's not fantasy football, you don't come on in, you don't select a couple players in the draft and sign someone in free agency and say, 'everything is solved'"<br><br>Joe Judge gave a lengthy answer about why he feels the Giants are heading in the right direction: <a href="https://t.co/tpVLAE259O">pic.twitter.com/tpVLAE259O</a>

That couldn't overcome abysmal on-field results.

An admittedly bad record may not properly illustrate how bad New York was in 2020 and 2021. On offense, the team ranked 31st in yards and points in each of the two years. The defense also went from 12th to 21st in yards allowed. Football Outsiders listed the Giants 25th and 31st in overall efficiency.

The lasting image of the Judge era will be his decision to run a quarterback sneak on 3rd-and-9 inside his team's 10-yard line in Week 18 against the Washington Football Team:


The Giants offense had a 3rd and 9 with the ball at their own 4-yard line, and elected to run a QB sneak. <a href="https://t.co/WH9bCfAHSM">pic.twitter.com/WH9bCfAHSM</a>

Judge also dug his own grave through his various times in front of a microphone. His comment about how the Giants "ain't some clown show organization" is likely to be immortalized since he was firing a little more than a week after saying it. 

Over time, it became clear New York wasn't going anywhere with Gettleman or Judge in his current position. There are still questions, however, whether replacing them will meaningfully change anything.

The New York Daily News' Pat Leonard described the Giants as "a rudderless franchise with poor ownership and no idea of how to escape their hamster wheel of irrelevance."

Following a run of four straight playoff appearances ended in 2008, New York has made the postseason just twice. If one of those trips hadn't ended in a Super Bowl victory, then the general perception around ownership might be even worse. 

Tom Coughlin lasted 12 years in the Big Apple. Judge is now the third head coach who failed to get more than two seasons. That kind of turnover is almost always a sign of dysfunction at the top.