Giants head coach Joe Judge fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo on Wednesday. The Giants offensive line has struggled all season and the Giants are on their bye, so the timing makes sense. But quickly a report emerged that the real reason why Colombo was fired is that he beat up Judge. This was quickly refuted by many in the media, but the explanations have been unconvincing.
Did Joe Judge get his ass kicked? Let us examine.
These are the facts that are not in dispute:
Joe Judge and his now former offensive line coach Marc Colombo had a heated argument, there was some kind of incident, and Judge immediately fired Colombo. Prior to Wednesday, Judge was unhappy with his offensive line. He brought in former Patriots offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant. This wasn’t one of those situations where you bring in a retired guy to be a sounding board for a coach, DeGuglielmo is only 52. And Judge himself took a more active role in the offensive line preparation, according to Pat Leonard.
Judge’s plan wasn’t to fire Colombo, sources said. It was to bring in DeGuglielmo as a complementary resource to address their obvious inconsistency on the offensive line.
Judge had spent more time coaching the line himself in practices in recent weeks, per sources. Adding DeGuglielmo could give the O-line the help it needed from an experienced coach and free Judge up.
Clearly neither side was happy. Judge was understandably frustrated at the lack of performance by the offensive line. 4th overall pick Andrew Thomas has really struggled, and Colombo was really up front about it. Colombo was in a bad spot. He had his replacement in waiting brought in, and his boss was looking over his shoulder. The boss brings in a trusted face to help out, and they wind up replacing the person they were ostensibly brought in to assist. Situations happen like this in all walks of life. The only way this was going to end was with Colombo leaving the Giants. No one could see it happening so spectacularly.
Why now though? Everyone agrees that there was a heated argument, but what led up to it or happened after is in dispute.
It is up to us to determine which version of events is more true. All we have is hearsay and conjecture.
Joe Judge did not get his ass kicked.
The case that Joe Judge did not get his ass kicked is that multiple reporters have said that Joe Judge did not get his ass kicked. Since none of them were in the room when it did or did not happen, this is hearsay. Nothing else has been offered up to back up this claim. It is perhaps worth pointing out that many of these reporters are water carriers for owners, and media water carriers seem to particularly love bootlicking the Giants.
Joe Judge got his ass kicked.
The case that Joe Judge got his ass kicked is the initial report that Joe Judge got his ass kicked and conjecture on the ways by which the fight was disputed in the media. The denials of an altercation seem a little off.
First, the initial report.
SCOOP: I’m told NY Giants coaches Joe Judge and Marc Colombo got into a fistfight this morning.
Punches thrown. I’m told Colombo got the better of him, and Judge fired him instantly. https://t.co/O2DmYNnkmW
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 18, 2020
Jason McIntyre is not the kind to usually break news, but at the same time he’s not just some random guy. That does not make his claim true, but we shouldn’t dismiss it outright. Additionally, after the wave of pushback by others, he reinforced his claim rather than walked it back.
I’d say the same if I wanted to work again on a team next year. But 100% a fight
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 18, 2020
But McIntyre’s claim is of course also hearsay. So we’re on to the conjecture.
The denials of an altercation are puzzling. From the same Pat Leonard article quoted earlier:
The Fox Sports Radio report of a fistfight between Judge and Colombo, meanwhile, was unusual because neither coach has much incentive to trash the other. They are represented by the same agent.
What? The first part isn’t unusual at all. Marc Colombo just got fired after a win, he has plenty of incentive to trash Joe Judge, who rightfully or wrongly appeared to be planning to replace him. What is unusual is using “they have the same agent” as a reason why. Who would cite this as a reason for there not to be a fight? The agent, who in the interest of both clients has plenty of incentive to say nothing happened. It is in the agent’s best interests for people to not think one of his clients beat up his boss, and for people to not to think one of his clients lost control of a situation so badly that he got his ass beat. Anytime you see an agent mentioned in a story or tweet, it is because the agent said it.
There’s another part of that story that is curious as well, emphasis mine.
Colombo’s unprofessional reaction and the loud and heated ensuing argument, however, prompted Judge to fire him just 10 games into their Giants tenure together.
What makes this notable is that there was apparently an “unprofessional reaction” that was separate from and led to a “loud and heated argument.” If there was simply a loud, heated, unprofessional argument, then that’s what would have been reported (and it wouldn’t haven’t ruled out a fight). Instead we get two separate components. What was that unprofessional reaction—for a football coach—that was not an argument and not a fight? The explanations are thin.
Heard from a bunch of people today. I am convinced Joe Judge & Mark Colombo never got physical. I do believe Colombo called Judge, his boss, one of the dirtiest words in the English language.
(Shoutout to person who told me prior to season that Colombo wouldn’t work out.) #NYG
— Kim Jones (@KimJonesSports) November 18, 2020
Given that Joe Judge is a white man (and so is Colombo), there are very few words this can describe. This is asking us to believe that either this was the first time Colombo had used such language, or that Judge allowed it until it was directed at him, which is a problem of its own.
So… No fist fight at Giants facility , but certainly a disagreement today. Judge going a different direction with the O-Line coaching , and well, that decision wasn’t received as warmly by all involved. No fight, though.
— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) November 18, 2020
So if it wasn’t a fight, what was it? Are we really to believe that Colombo got fired for having an argument? Isn’t it strange that we don’t even know what the argument was about? Isn’t it strange that the denials of a fight only offer that there was a non-fight incident and then an argument, but give no details that would dispute that there was a fight? If there really wasn’t a fight, wouldn’t the team, on background, give reporters a version of events that was detailed enough to debunk the fight report? Everyone agrees there was a heated argument, you don’t just beat up your boss out of the blue unless you’re insane. But we don’t know what the argument was about, and if there was a fight, keeping people in the dark about it is the way you would want it if you’re the Giants.
Let’s say for a moment that Colombo, in the middle of a discussion with Judge about his and DeGuglielmo’s role, said “fuck this”, turned his back on Judge as he stormed out of the office or punched a wall or filing cabinet in close proximity to Judge, said “one of the dirtiest words in the English language” and a heated argument ensued in the hallway or office. That’s an unprofessional reaction, even in the macho world of football and the sequence of events, attitude of Colombo towards being given assistance, and general performance of his unit is enough to have him replaced, especially with the timing of the Giants on their bye.
But if something like that had happened, we would know about it. The Giants would go straight to a reporter no one doubts like Peter King or Chris Mortensen, give them the story, and that would be the end of it. Instead, reporters have claimed there wasn’t a fight, but haven’t given an explanation of what happened. The worse it is, the less you want people to know, and the Giants have plenty of ways to get that information out in a way that ends the discussion. They haven’t.
We must conclude two things:
Marc Colombo kicked Joe Judge’s ass.
Marc Colombo put up more of a fight against Joe Judge than the Eagles did.