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Joe Judge is right coach for Giants; they just need to give him time to grow into job

Giants head coach Joe Judge talking to his

Giants head coach Joe Judge talking to his players on the field before the start of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team on Thursday in Landover, Md.  Credit: AP/Alex Brandon

LANDOVER, Md. — Joe Judge will not turn 40 until the last day of 2021. If that sounds young for a man in his professional position, it is.

To illustrate the point, consider some other 1981 babies who will beat the Giants coach to that milestone and who first made their marks at much earlier ages:

Beyonce. Justin Timberlake. Britney Spears. Serena Williams. Roger Federer. Ivanka Trump. Paris Hilton.

Syosset’s own Natalie Portman.

Eli Manning!

But Judge has only just begun, and even if his head coaching record was 6-11 entering Thursday night’s game at Washington, his youth and the impression he has made suggest he is going to be around for a while.

Or at least that he should be around for a while.

Unless he goes 2-15 and late in the season starts speaking Norwegian into Daniel Jones’ helmet speaker, there is no chance Judge will be gone as quickly as Ben McAdoo or Pat Shurmur, neither of whom saw Season 3.

Winning is all that matters in the end, but if the Giants fail to win enough this season, Jones and general manager Dave Gettleman figure to find themselves on hotter seats than Judge.

And that is as it should be. Judge has shown every indication he is comfortable in his own skin and comfortable with his role, in ways that neither McAdoo nor Shurmur did.

That includes not only his old-school approach but also his role as the face the franchise presents to fans and the news media, an area in which his predecessors flopped.

It says here that the Giants need to show some Steelers-like patience and let Judge grow into the job, even if that process drags beyond this season and next.

How much grasping for greatness can fans take? Stability is not an end-all, but it helps.

The Giants cannot afford for this Judge thing not to work out, given their mostly fruitless attempt to return to playoff glory in the decade since they won Super Bowl XLVI.

Things still are not as bad as in the lost years from 1964-80, but they are getting there. The pressure is on Judge to deliver sometime before the mid-2020s.

He certainly cannot be accused of being shy or uncommunicative.

His opening statement and first answer during his Tuesday news conference took three pages for the Giants to transcribe. Safety Jabrill Peppers answered 15 questions in a page-and-a-half.

On the sideline and in meeting rooms, his connections to Nick Saban and Bill Belichick give him gravitas, and his own personality is a finishing touch.

Judge scored huge points with Giants fans after the final game of last season when he blasted soon-to-be-former Eagles coach Doug Pederson — without saying his name — for not going all-out to beat Washington in Week 17.

Pederson replaced Jalen Hurts with Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a close game, and the Eagles lost, 20-14, to keep the Giants from winning the NFC East.

"To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League," Judge said then, "to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and not doing everything you can to help those players win, we will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants."

The Giants will not see the Eagles until Nov. 28, but Thursday was their first crack at the NFC East this season.

Judge spoke on Tuesday about the passion, history and hostility involved in divisional competition, and noted that unlike last year, fans will be back in force to emphasize all of the above.

Should be fun.

Now all Judge has to do is actually start winning, and perhaps someday stop being only the second-most famous guy surnamed "Judge" in New York sports.

Even if ownership and fans give Judge the benefit of the doubt, youthful promise does have an expiration date.

Looking at you, Mets manager Luis Rojas! He was born in 1981, too, and turned 40 on Sept. 1.

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