Why The Giants Had To Fire Joe Judge

Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants announced just a few weeks ago that they were planning on holding onto head coach Joe Judge for the 2022 season. That would have been a mistake, and clearly, the Giants’ brass realized that.

Since the news broke about the Giants’ plans to stick with Judge one day after Christmas, New York—and Judge himself—had done nothing but prove that it would have been the wrong decision. For one, the Giants lost all three of the games after that announcement by at least two scores, including a clown show in Chicago ending in a 26-point loss. The Giants were losing to the Bears from practically the moment they stepped on the field. Mike Glennon—who, for some reason, is still an NFL quarterback—was strip-sacked on the Giants’ first offensive play. One Bears play later, they had found the end zone. The very next time Glennon dropped back to pass, he threw an interception, and the Bears scored once more soon after.

Down multiple scores that early in the game, it would—in theory—have behooved the Giants to get the passing attack going. Nope! Glennon threw the ball 11 times all game, completing just four passes for 24 yards. He took four sacks as well, losing 34 yards and bringing New York’s net passing yards total to -10. Negative. Ten. And that’s without mentioning that he threw another interception and fumbled four times, losing two of them. Instead of making a change, Judge let Glennon play the whole game as Jake Fromm watched from the bench.

A little more than a week ago, our own Justin Melo broke down the situation with Judge in New York. He made the argument that the Giants had to pull the plug on the Judge experiment for a variety of reasons, with their game against the Bears a sort of pièce de résistance in incompetence. Glennon was bad, Judge’s 11-minute post-game rant was worse. There were curses, there was coach-speak and there were some very dubious claims. None of it, especially combined with the Giants’ 4-12 record at the time, pointed to the good culture within the locker room the head coach kept insisting he had established. 

Somehow, Judge one-upped himself afterwards, as if to say, “You think that was bad coaching? You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

It was fitting that the Giants’ season finale was against the Washington Football Team after Judge took a shot at Washington for their perceived dysfunction in his aforementioned rant. After seemingly implying that his Week 18 opponent was a “clown-show organization,” the Giants put on a circus against the Football Team. No play sequence showed that off better than what New York ran with about five minutes left in the first half. 

After an incomplete pass and a false start, the Giants had a 2nd-and-11 play from their own 2-yard line. They ran a quarterback sneak for two yards. The next play, a 3rd-and-9 play from the four-yard line, they ran the same play.

What was Judge’s explanation for those back-to-back QB sneaks, as boos rained down from the fans in New York?

“We were going to give ourselves room for the punt.”

On both second and third down deep in their own territory, instead of handing the ball off or attempting a quick pass, the Giants ran two QB sneaks in order for a better punt? This team was already 4-12 entering Week 18; there was nothing to lose. Instead, they gave up on a possession with bad starting field position after just one failed play. It was the perfect symbol of what the Giants represented in the Judge era: a team that lied down and rolled over for their weekly beating, over and over.

I understood why the Giants’ front office was hesitant to move on from Judge. He’s the third straight head coach to get the boot after just two years, and it’s hard to establish any culture or system with that much turnover on the sideline. But it was time. The two final games of the season were borderline fireable offenses in their own rights, and the 10-23 record under Judge was clearly the icing on the cake. The Giants did nothing but lose after he took over while he prattled on, insisting that he had built a winning culture and a winning mindset among his players. Without results on the field, no one cared, and the fans, front office, and especially the players got tired of hearing it.

Another key to the Judge firing was the Giants’ current lack of a general manager. New York’s previous GM, Dave Gettleman, just announced his retirement, so New York will have to fill that position before the 2022 league year begins. Why limit the market to people willing to work with Judge? The Giants are making themselves a more attractive landing spot by giving candidates the option to start fresh, allowing the new GM to have a role in hiring the team’s next head coach. The autonomy that will (hopefully) create should help set a solid cultural foundation moving forward.

The Giants finally made the right decision by going back on their commitment to Judge, albeit a day later than every other team that fired their coach. They haven’t fielded a winning team in half a decade, so it was time to burn everything down, top to bottom, and begin the rebuild.

Written By:

Jack McKessy

Staff Writer

Jack McKessy is a recent graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism who grew up in Washington, D.C. As a student, he covered Northwestern’s football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and baseball teams. Previously, he was in charge of social media and contributed to both written and multimedia content creation for La Vida Baseball in Chicago. He has also assisted in the production of promotional content for the Big Ten Network. Jack initially joined the TDN team as an intern during the 2020 season. Now, he writes columns—primarily analysis of the New York Giants—and helps run TDN's YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.