How Bill Belichick helped Joe Judge land a head coaching job
The New York Giants have chosen to hire Joe Judge as their next head coach despite his lack of experience in that role, and it sounds like Bill Belichick went above and beyond to put his former assistant in position to earn the opportunity.
Judge’s first job with the New England Patriots was as a special teams assistant from 2012-2014. He was then promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and Belichick added wide receivers coach to his responsibilities this past season. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Belichick intentionally gave Judge the title of wide receivers coach to help him garner more attention as a head coaching candidate.
Breer noted that Andy Reid did the same with John Harbaugh when Harbaugh worked on his staff with the Philadelphia Eagles. Harbaugh was Reid’s special teams coordinator for eight years before Reid also made him defensive backs coach in 2007, and Harbaugh was hired as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens the following year.
As you might expect, the Giants reached out to Belichick to ask about Judge. Tom Rock of Newsday says Belichick gave Judge a “glowing recommendation.”
The Giants did put a call in to Bill Belichick about their head coach vacancy… but it wasn't to lure him back to NY. I'm told Bill gave a glowing recommendation to the Giants on Joe Judge. That carried a lot of weight.
— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) January 7, 2020
Belichick has seen several of his former assistants go on to earn head coaching jobs. While the overall results have not been that impressive, two of his disciples — Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien and Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel — are preparing their teams for Divisional Round playoff matchups this weekend. The Giants are hoping for similar results from Judge.
Many believe there were other more deserving candidates that were overlooked, but a lot of that can be attributed to the Belichick effect. Had the 38-year-old Judge not been an assistant with the Patriots, he probably would not have landed a head coaching gig this quickly.