My name is Stan and I’ve been a Giants fan since the 1950s. I grew up with Frank Gifford as my hero and watched what I believed were the greatest 3 years of any Giants’ quarterback in my lifetime; those of Y.A. Tittle in, ’61, ’62, and ’63. Back then, the east coast Giants really were the ones who invented the west coast offense. 1963 was truly a year to behold. Tittle threw 7 touchdowns one game. It was pass, pass, pass with a ton of shotgun.
I’ve seen some really great Giants teams but most have been disappointing. That being said I believe we now have reason for optimism. It looks like we have a franchise quarterback, a tough results-oriented head coach, and some sensible draft picks. Hopefully, the desperate GM moves the over-the-top contracts to Odell Beckham Jr. and Nate Solder are out of Dave Gettleman’s system, and he and Joe Judge can settle on sound player evaluation and decisions. I do believe Judge has asserted himself in the decision-making process and will temper any wild moves Gettleman may be tempted to make.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 09: Joe Judge talks after being introduced introduced as the new head coach of the New York Giants during a news conference at MetLife Stadium on January 9, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Watching Judge in post-draft interviews, it sure seems like he’s an alpha dog. Gettleman is the GM, but Judge is not a subordinate and looks like a co-equal manager of the team. I don’t think Gettleman minds in the least, but rather is relieved to have a strong talented partner who is smart and will complement him. After all - all that matters is winning and Gettleman wants to win. I think he believes Judge gives him a better chance than the passive Pat Shurmur or befuddled Ben McAdoo and craves Joe’s input.
Based on his interviews, Judge brings a no-nonsense, disciplinarian attitude to the team; the type of demanding structure of Bill Belichick, but, it would appear, in a more humane package. At least that’s what some former Patriot players have indicated. My expectation is that we won’t have a defense with a Chinese fire drill secondary like the one Shurmur/Bettcher had last year. One reporter observed the opposing receivers looked like golden retrievers chasing down frisbees in the park. Shurmur is a very nice guy but seemed to watch the team burn and became paralyzed with what to do about it. Rather than getting a bucket, or doing anything, to put out the fire, he seemed a little lost in space.
How did the Giants draft go? Well, I remember when Gettleman was the NFL player evaluator for the Giants. Gettleman is very smart. Former associates claim he was always the smartest guy in the room. What free agents did he bring onto the team one year that were key factors in the Giants’ first Super Bowl win over the Pats (’06/07)? Plaxico Burress (WR), Antonio Pierce (MLB), and Kareem MacKenzie (RT). This year he selected the first Offensive Tackle (Andrew Thomas, Georgia) and Safety (Xavier McKinney, Alabama) in the entire draft. I have no doubt he picked extremely well. He can evaluate talent; think Daniel Jones.
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 05: Andrew Thomas #71 of the Georgia Bulldogs looks to block DeAndre Johnson #13 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the fourth quarter of the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
Some other things to like about Judge. When asked about not getting certain players in the draft, he said: “the draft wasn’t about collecting talent but building a team.” Great talents don’t always make great teams. Think back to the Eagles “Dream Team” of 2011/12. Their roster featured 10 players who had made 25 Pro Bowl appearances but the team never gelled and the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. Also, think about how many ordinary players came up big in Belichick teams.
Judge elaborated, “there’s a lot of good players but there’s not a lot of right fits.” They (Gettleman, Judge, and staff) spent a lot of time on the “character of players” so they could “build a great culture.” “I don’t want 53 independent contractors,” he continued, “I want one team.”
That’s music to my ears. I think about how great the Patriots were because of their cohesiveness and unselfishness. Maybe the Giants can capture a little (or a lot) of that Patriot culture and bring some good times back to the Meadowlands. Let’s hope.
Stan the Man