The New York Giants are officially cleaning house. On January 11, ownership finally decided that a change was necessary.
As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported, the Giants have fired head coach Joe Judge after producing a 10-23 record across two seasons at the helm.
Although Judge met with ownership over the course of the last two days to discuss his long-term plan, he was unable to convince his bosses to give him another chance to turn the ship around next season.
Shortly after this move was revealed, Giants co-owner John Mara released a statement regarding the decision to fire Judge.
“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,” said Mara. “Unfortunately, I cannot make that statement, which is why we have made this decision (to fire Joe Judge).”
“We will hire a general manager and that person will lead the effort to hire a new head coach,” added Mara.
In addition to being in the market for a new general manager after Dave Gettleman announced his retirement on Monday, the Giants will also be in the hunt for their fourth head coach since two-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Coughlin left the team following the 2015 season.
Judge will now join Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur as the third consecutive failed head coaching hire that the Giants have axed after two losing seasons a piece.
Despite showing promise in 2020, going 5-3 down the stretch and missing out on the playoffs by one game, Judge’s Giants took a major step back this year. Although initial reports in mid-December said Judge’s job was expected to be safe, the Giants ended their season on a six-game losing streak to finish with a 4-13 record.
The Giants hired Judge in January of 2020, plucking him from Bill Belichick’s staff in New England. However, the former Patriots‘ special teams coordinator was unable to build a winning culture during his tenure as head coach of the Giants, thus losing his job 733 days after accepting the position.
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With Judge out the door, the next GM will be in charge of selecting a head coach.
But before we speculate on possible replacements for Judge, let’s take a look at the nine GM candidates, who the Giants will begin interviewing on Wednesday, January 12.
Since the start of the 2017 season, the Giants are tied with the crosstown rival New York Jets for the worst record in the NFL at 22-58. For that, Mara and Giants’ brass have finally recognized that wholesale changes need to be made in order to restore this once proud franchise that has lost its way.
This is why they have hand picked a list that only features external candidates to interview for their GM vacancy.
Among these names will include: Buffalo Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen, Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles, Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort and vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden, San Francisco 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters and director of player personnel Ran Carthon, and Arizona Cardinals vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson and vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris.
First up, Schoen will interview on Wednesday, per ESPN. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Harris will speak with the Giants on Thursday. The rest of the scheduled interviews are currently unknown. First round of interviews are expected to be conducted via zoom.
Potential HC Options
Once the Giants land on a GM hire, this candidate will then begin searching for a head coach.
Despite putting together back-to-back winning seasons in Miami, Brian Flores was shockingly fired by the Dolphins on Black Monday. Flores, who served on the Patriots’ coaching staff with Judge from 2012 to 2018, is a hot candidate around the league and is already drawing interviews from other teams.
Although Flores would be a strong replacement for Judge, he may get snatched up elsewhere before the Giants hire a GM.
Longtime Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was also let go after eight seasons in Minnesota. Zimmer has a defensive background and led the Vikings to three playoff berths, two division titles and an NFC Championship appearance from 2014 to 2021.
If Schoen winds up becoming the next GM of the Giants, he could bring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll with him to be the team’s head coach. Daboll, 46, has been the Bills’ OC since 2018. He has also drawn interest from the Bears and Dolphins, who have both requested to interview him for their head coaching vacancies.
Jim Harbaugh is another name that comes to mind, as he has been rumored to be mulling a possible return to the NFL. Harbaugh coached the 49ers from 2011 to 2014, leading them to three straight NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance.
However, Harbaugh and the 49ers mutually agreed to part ways in December of 2014, before he accepted a position to become the University of Michigan’s head coach. Harbaugh, who has coached Michigan since 2015, has already been linked to the Bears and Raiders as a possible head coaching fit.