The Giants Hiring Process

Odd stuff.

Jim Rome
January 08, 2020 - 10:45 am
Dave Gettleman

USA Today


When you have a new head coach in New York with the last name Judge, you know the tabloids were rubbing their hands and cackling. And sure enough, they went to work.

The New York Post went with “The Judge Is In! …but the jury is totally out”

While the Daily News and Newsday went with “Judge over Rhule”

And while the headlines were pretty obvious, roughly 24 hours later, the hiring still doesn’t seem so obvious. What exactly went down with the Giants? Wasn’t Rhule supposed to be their guy? What happened?

Was Rhule a total smokescreen and Judge was their guy all along? And if that’s the case, why go to the hassle of creating the smokescreen in the first place? To keep him away from Mississippi State?

Follow this three tweet thread for a moment. Yesterday, Adam Schefter tweeted:

Former Baylor HC Matt Rhule is taking the Carolina Panthers’ HC job, as Pete Thamel reported. Rhule was supposed to interview today with the Giants; he didn’t make it there.

That would seem to confirm that Rhule was a candidate for the Giants job and that he was scheduled to interview with them yesterday, but he took the Panthers job before he got there.

51 minutes later, Schefter tweeted: There has been this perception that Matt Rhule was Giants’ top candidate. More accurate is that he was amongst the top candidates. From multiple conversations with people dating back days, there was as much interest in Josh McDaniels and Eric Bieniemy and Joe Judge. Even this am.

That would sure make it seem like someone connected to the Giants wanted to save face and to make sure that people knew that they didn’t miss out on their guy, that Rhule was just a candidate, not really theee candidate. Not really the number one candidate. And that they were just as or even more interested in Josh McDaniels, Eric Bieniemy, and Joe Judge. 

And 21 minutes after that, Schefter tweeted: New York Giants are finalizing a deal to make Patriots’ wide receivers coach Joe Judge their next head coach, league sources tell ESPN. Deal was in the works as of last night, which is another reason Matt Rhule took the Panthers’ HC job.

The first sentence was the surprise, the second one is the really interesting one, because yet again, someone is trying to get the word out that the Giants really wanted Judge more than Rhule. And that Rhule was taking the Panthers job because he couldn’t get the Giants job. 

Maybe that’s the case. Maybe they really were all-in on Judge all along. Maybe the Giants didn’t even want to interview Rhule. I mean it seems kind of weird given all the smoke for a while now about Rhule and the Giants, but maybe it was Judge’s job all along. And they sure as hell want everyone to know that, don’t they?

Running a coaching search isn’t just about finding the right person, it’s about creating the right impression and managing expectations. If Judge was the guy all along, then part of the job is also to eliminate the expectation of Rhule all along. Put out the word that he’s not a candidate. Make sure that fans aren’t expecting him, so that when you hire someone else, fans aren’t disappointed that you didn’t get the guy everyone linked you to. The guy everyone wanted.

Because everything that the Giants have done since Rhule was announced to Carolina seems like they’ve been spinning like crazy because they want to save face. Despite what they’ll have you believe, it looks and feels like they didn’t get the guy they wanted. That Rhule really wasn’t their first choice. That’s how it looks and feels.

And I’m not interested in hearing from Giants fans who want to say that Rhule didn’t really love the Panthers job because he reportedly gave the Giants a chance to match. If he didn’t love the Panthers job, he could’ve just stayed at Baylor and waited for next year. Rhule had options and has had options for a number of years. 

By the way, who’s to say he didn’t want the Panthers gig more than the Giants gig.  Let’s look at it for a moment. What’s the better job – the Giants or the Panthers? Saquon and Christian are pretty much a wash. And are you really sold on Daniel Jones, who had some decent moments, but was an absolute fumbling machine this season? Would you rather have Jones or someone in this year’s draft? And would you like to work with Dave Gettleman and a Giants organization that can’t decide if it’s rebuilding or reloading? A Giants team and or organization that is a shell of itself; a team and an organization that has been among the league’s worst the last few years; not among the best as they were for so long. A Giants team that has been even more dysfunctional than even the JETS across town. 

And if the argument is that the Giants didn’t want to pay Rhule what the Panthers were going to pay him, then what is that all about? If the Giants thought Rhule is the best guy, pay him what the market says you should pay him. There’s no salary cap on coaches. You’re hiring your third head coach in five years because the last two haven’t worked. If Rhule is your guy, don’t cut corners. Get your guy. You’re the New York Freaking  Football Giants. Act like it.

You tell me, What’s more expensive? A contract for Rhule or another couple of seasons of mediocrity? 

And if the argument was that Rhule would be a first-time NFL head coach and they didn’t want to pay a lot for that, surprise: so is Joe Judge. At least Rhule has been a head coach somewhere. 

But maybe it’s about none of that. Maybe Judge was the guy all along. And yes, I know that everyone was clowning him yesterday for being the Patriots wide receivers coach and the Pats wideouts sucked and Tom Brady was nearly permanently pissed about them, but that Judge really made his bones as a special team’s coordinator and the Pats special teams were great. 

And I know that John Harbaugh was a special team’s coordinator before getting the Ravens head coaching job. And maybe Joe Judge is the next John Harbaugh. I guess.  Maybe. And yes, I know both Nick Saban and Bill Belichick have gone to bat for him, so there must be something there. But just having their seal of approval doesn’t guarantee anything. How many former assistants has the Hood sent out into the world only to see them get punched in the face, repeatedly?  

And just as I’m still not totally sold on Daniel Jones, how do we know Judge is the guy to hold Jones and get the most out of him? We don’t.   

So even the most die-hard Giants fan, rocking an old school Rodney Hampton jersey, can’t tell me that you passed up on Rhule for a sure thing in Judge. Because one: we don’t know that you passed on Rhule or he passed on you. And two, Judge is certainly not a sure thing. He’s never been a head coach on any level. Who knows, maybe he is the one guy from the Belichick tree that does kill it. Maybe, he really is the next big thing.  Maybe he is the guy to return the Giants prominence. They better hope so, because they’re an embarrassment right now. And have been the last few years. The only other thing that is certain, is the Giants really, really want you to believe that Judge is the guy they really wanted. And that they wanted him way more than Rhule despite what you’ve seen or heard for the last several weeks. And that they didn’t get stiffed by Rhule, they were ones who stiffed him. Believe what you want to believe. I choose to believe, you’re the New York freaking Giants: and you’ve cratered, which means you need to get the best coach available and pay him the market rate. And that’s exactly what Carolina did and the Giants didn’t. We’ll see if it works it for them: pretty nothing else has the last few years. Or they wouldn’t be in this position and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.