During Joe Judge's tenure in New England, the Patriots had one of the top special teams units in the NFL.
New England's special teams grade ranked in the top 10 in each of his five seasons as coordinator, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF uses a combination of factors in determining its special teams grades, including hang time, snap time, missed tackles, resulting field position and many more. In 2016, the unit finished with the highest grade in the league, while it finished with the fifth-best grade in 2018.
"It has been a real joy working with Joe over the past eight years," said Patriots six-time All-Pro special teamer Matthew Slater. "Joe's commitment, work ethic and love for the game are incredible. His intelligence and knowledge of the game set him apart. We have shared many personal and professional mountaintop experiences together. I'm thankful for the time he coached me and know that without his contributions my personal NFL experience would not have been the same. I wish him nothing but the best moving forward. He will always have a fan in me."
This past season, the Patriots finished with the seventh-highest special teams grade. However, the unit's success went well-beyond their PFF score. New England ranked No. 1 in average starting field position (32.7) as well as opponent starting field position (25.1). On top of that, Judge's unit was the only one in the league to return two blocked punts for touchdowns in 2019. The Patriots' coverage unit also did not allow a single punt to be returned for 20 or more yards.
So it's no surprise the Giants made Judge the first special teams coordinator to be hired as a head coach since 2008, when the Baltimore Ravens tapped John Harbaugh.
"Joe has done an outstanding job," Belichick said. "He's an excellent coach. He understands the game well, works extremely hard and is a very good teacher of fundamentals. Joe picks up concepts and coaching points quickly. He is an exceptional leader and one of the best coaches I have been around. He has been responsible for coaching units comprised of nearly every player on the roster. That requires an ability to handle many moving parts, make constant adjustments and immediate decisions. I appreciate Joe's many contributions to our staff and team and wish him well."
Prior to joining the Patriots in 2012, Judge spent three seasons as a special teams assistant for Nick Saban at Alabama. The Crimson Tide went 36-4 with Judge on the coaching staff and won two BCS National Championships.
"Joe did a fantastic job for our program early on in our tenure in Tuscaloosa," Saban said in a statement this week. "He went on to have a lot of success on Bill's staff in New England. Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done. We wish Joe and his entire family the best of luck with the Giants."
View photos of Joe Judge's first day after being named head coach of the New York Giants.