Many people were skeptical of the New York Giants when they hired Joe Judge due to his previous experience being a special teams coordinator. On the other hand, Mike Ditka thinks that Judge's special teams background will help him as a head coach.
“You’re dealing with all the starters, the backups, the whole team,” Ditka told NJ Advance Media by phone. “It’s not rocket science or anything. But, when I was with Tom Landry, he told me, ‘Use whoever you need.’ So, we used some of the starters and it worked out for us. You have to address the whole team every day and get guys to want to play special teams. I think that helps.”
Ditka is famously known for leading the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl in 1985 as head coach. He also is considered to be one of the best tight ends in the history of the NFL.
But before he was the head coach of the Bears, Ditka spent his time as Tom Landry's special teams coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Therefore, Ditka knows more than most how beneficial being a special teams coach can help with leading a team.
As for Judge, he has spent the past five seasons as the special teams coordinator of the New England Patriots. Judge also held the position of wide receivers coach for the Patriots during the 2019 season.
Over the years, not many teams have considered special teams coordinators when considering head coaching candidates. The most notable head coach that has experience as a special teams coordinator in the NFL is John Harbaugh.
Without a doubt, the Baltimore Ravens found a gem in Harbaugh—winning a Super Bowl in 2012. Despite the public perception, the Giants are hoping that Judge becomes the next outlier at head coach.