The Giants’ 37-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on the road last Sunday ensured they will end the season with a losing record for the fifth straight time. A dubious distinction for a franchise that will also miss the playoffs for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons.
The fallout will be another rebuild no matter how the franchise’s ownership, led by John Mara and Steve Tisch, may frame the inevitable changes to the front office, coaching staff and roster. General manager Dave Gettleman almost assuredly will not be back, head coach Joe Judge’s status to return for a third season should be in question, and starting quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and other significant players’ futures with the team will be the subject of intense internal organizational discussions.
After a period from 1981 to 2016, in which the Giants made 16 playoff appearances, played in five Super Bowls and won four, losing for them has become normalized even if unacceptable. Judge, who will turn 40 on Dec. 31, is the Giants’ third head coach since Ben McAdoo was named to the position in January of 2016. The list doesn’t include Steve Spagnuolo, who went 1-3 as their interim head coach after McAdoo was fired in December of 2017.
Following McAdoo was Pat Shurmer, who went 9-23 in two seasons before being terminated. Judge may soon be next, although the Giants’ ownership and next general manager may see a young coach who was mentored by Bill Belichick during his years on the New England Patriots staff from 2012-2019, that has the necessities to guide the Giants back to the postseason and sustained success. Judge sounds the part but his public eternal optimism has a large segment of the team’s fan base unconvinced.
“I am the head coach and everything in this program reflects on me,” said Judge after the loss to the Chargers. “I will never shy away from that, I do not make any excuses and I do not hide from that either. I am not a finger pointer. I am not an excuse maker and I am never trying to deflect anything,” he expanded.
“In terms of the direction the program is going, there is a lot of things that I see week after week with our players and where we are going that I am encouraging all the way. Sometimes that is tough to see externally, but these are the key foundational pieces that are being put in place and we are making lots of progress going forward. My scope is always big picture. I look to every week, week to week, but ultimately, my vision goes beyond that. I am looking long-term.
“First time I got in front of the microphone in front of you guys, I talked about putting a foundation together,” Judge recalled to the media, “pushing it and building it the right way. I never talked about taking a shortcut or wanting immediate gratification. We need to put guys in the right position, we need to execute plays and we need to finish games. I am not going to shy away from that, this is a production business…A lot of things are moving in the right direction and are being solidified.”
Results are what matters above all else. To this point in Judge’s Giants tenure, the outcomes have been abysmal.