EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Round and round we go. The New York Giants spin in their own muck and every two years they seem to find themselves standing in the same spot with another head coach fired.
This time it was Joe Judge who had the indignity of losing his job Tuesday after working with an insufficient roster. Meanwhile, general manager Dave Gettleman, the chef buying the groceries and in part responsible for the demises of Judge and his predecessor, Pat Shurmur, was allowed to gracefully retire a day earlier.
The Giants are stuck in this vicious cycle — with their past three coaches lasting two seasons or less — and co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are responsible for the carnage. It has been one mistake after another, with plenty of losses left behind.
The Giants are the worst team in the NFL over the past five seasons with a 22-59 record. All they have to do to see what a bad franchise looks like is peer into a mirror.
A 4-13 record this season prompted the firing. Judge went 6-10 in 2020 as a first-time head coach in a season that was lauded by ownership after the team seemed to make significant gains as it progressed. Judge talked in recent weeks about all the gains made behind the scenes and being closer to respectability than the outside world realized.
Ownership apparently disagreed, and there was a quick about-face.
“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,” Mara said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I cannot make that statement, which is why we have made this decision.”
It’s not to say Judge isn’t also to blame for his own demise. If the Giants had simply lost respectably late this season he probably would still have a job. But they not only couldn’t score (they topped 10 points once in the last six games with backup quarterbacks) but they could barely even drop back to pass like a functioning NFL team.
Judge also incited the masses by rambling for 11 minutes following a 29-3 loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 17 and made the organization a punchline when he ran back-to-back quarterback sneaks this past Sunday inside his own 5-yard line in order to make more room to punt in the second quarter.
At least now they have a chance to completely scrap it all and start over. They never really did that when they hired Gettleman (a member of the extended Giants family) before the 2017 season was over. That move led to running it back with quarterback Eli Manning, drafting running back Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall in 2018, and the rest is history.
The Giants have already cast a wide net outside their building in search of a new general manager. Buffalo assistant general manager Joe Schoen will get first crack at impressing the brass in his first interview via Zoom on Wednesday. Kansas City Chiefs executive Ryan Poles also is among the interviews and one of the names that has been talked about extensively within the building for weeks.
The new general manager will then have no real limitations. He won’t have to worry about Judge hanging around as a potential lame-duck coach or a reluctance to overhaul the front office or modernize the Giants’ operation. Just about everything — aside from firing ownership — is on the table at this point.
Prospective GM candidates were actually under the impression Judge wouldn’t be thrust upon them even before he was fired on Tuesday. So this was always a possibility.
These moves should allow the new coach and general manager to be aligned, something that should have happened two years ago when they hired Judge.
Get ready, 1925 Giants Drive.