Joe Judge’s Giants are not a clown show — they’re just a bad team


Joe Judge is correct. The Giants are not a clown show. 

They are a very bad football team. 

But not a clown show. 

They do not battle each other on the sideline. They do not scream at their coaches (OK, Kenny Golladay did that, once). They do not point fingers at each other, no matter how much we try (and we do) to get players on defense to rip into their teammates on offense. 

Judge had a lot — too much — to say after the 29-3 loss to the Bears in his 11-minute oration. Synthesizing nearly 2,700 words into a few: His team has made great strides behind the scenes. The culture is much better now than it was when he arrived. This late in a losing season, players are not openly planning vacations and there are no golf clubs (looking at you, Golden Tate) in the locker room. No one on the outside can witness any of this, which is why Judge took the filibuster trail when asked why fans should have faith he can turn this around. 

“I was asked a specific question about what the fans are asking and I responded to it,’’ Judge said Monday. “Look, people ask me a direct question and I give direct answers. Whoever is listening is going to get a dose of the truth, and I was honestly answering the question to the fans. That’s what the question was asked for, but obviously the response can apply to a number of different areas.’’ 

Ahh, there it is. The response can apply to a number of different areas. Such as: ownership. John Mara is in the building every day and, presumably, he is privy to the improvements Judge is referring to. Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch will determine if Judge, with a record of 10-22 heading into the season finale, gets to return for a third year. Ownership wants to give Judge another go at it, but the Giants are spiraling down to the finish on a five-game losing streak filled with lopsided results, and what was desired a month ago might not be what ultimately is decided. 

Judge said he did not regret anything he said after the game. 

Joe Judge insisted his Giants team is not a ‘clown show.’
Getty Images

He sure said plenty. 

When Judge said, “This ain’t a team that’s having fistfights on the sidelines … this ain’t some clown show organization or something else’’ was he referring to the next opponent? Washington attracted the wrong type of attention the day after Christmas when two defensive linemen, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, got into a scuffle on the sideline in the second quarter of an eventual 56-14 loss to the Cowboys. 

Judge had to know what he was doing when he dredged up the not-so-distant past in what can only be taken as a shot at Pat Shurmur’s command of the team? Judge said when he arrived players told him the 2019 Giants were “not a team, they don’t play hard, we’re out of the playoffs, everybody quit … they tapped out.’’ 

Hold on there. Did not the Giants after firing Ben McAdoo, hiring Dave Gettleman as general manager and bringing in “adult’’ Shurmur upgrade the culture in the building? Was that not what soon-to-be-fired or retired Gettleman insisted and Mara believed to be true? 

A question posed to Judge: If he were scouting the Giants, would he consider them to be a well-coached team? 

Judge paused for a full six seconds before responding. 

“Yes I would,’’ he said. “There’s obviously some things we have to do better. I’m not going to sit here and say we’re perfect in anything. Now, am I going to go through a diagnosis or an analysis of our team and every unit and every situation? No, I’m not going to do that.’’ 

If he did, it would be enlightening. 

“Obviously the most important thing in this league is winning,’’ Judge said. “So we’ve got to do a better job of putting ourselves in position to finalize and finish out some games and win ’em.’’ 

If this is a well-coached team and the culture is solid, is not the only reason for so much losing a lack of talent? 

Joe Judge
Joe Judge

“I’m not going to make any statements right now that’s going to put any one of my players under the bus,’’ Judge said. “I think you understand how I’m answering that question based on how it was phrased.’’ 

Translation: Right, we need more talent. 

“I’m going to tell you right now, if you’re looking for someone to go ahead and find a scapegoat and point a finger at someone, I’m not the guy who’s going to be the one to give you that answer you’re looking for,’’ Judge said. 

Is keeping a firm grip on a failing team actually building a foundation or merely fostering a healthy but losing environment? Judge’s Giants are not a clown show. What they are is certainly bad enough.

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