The Denver Broncos aren't alone when it comes to the list of NFL teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention. One such club is the New York Giants — whom Denver roundly trounced in the season opener.
It was a great way to open the season and had it was a grudge match of sorts for Broncos' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The last job Shurmur held before arriving in Denver was a two-year stint as Giants' head coach.
New York finished sub-.500 in both seasons Shurmur was at the helm and after his dismissal, the Giants hired Joe Judge to take over at head coach. Now, with the Giants sitting at 4-12, Judge is on his way out.
Apparently not one to go down with the ship, Judge is looking for any scapegoat he can find — and Shurmur — who has similarly floundered the past two years — was an easy mark. In the wake of New York getting decimated by the Chicago Bears 29-3, an apoplectic, and apparently class-less, Judge threw some big-time shade at Shurmur from the podium.
“When I came here and I sat down with all the players," Judge reminisced via Giants Wire of his initial arrival in New York circa January 2020, "I wanted to know what it was like in here, what we had to change from their mouths, all right. To a man every player looked me in the eye and said, Joe, it’s not a team, they don’t play hard, we’re out of playoffs, everybody quit, everybody tapped, they stopped showing up to captains meetings, all that stuff. Right? They tapped out. Okay?”
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Shurmur was mostly circumspect but begged to differ with Judge's insult.
"I obviously—that’s not an accurate assessment," Shurmur said on Thursday when asked about Judge's class-less remarks. "But beyond that, I have no comment.”
While the Giants had every justification for firing Shurmur after the 2019 season concluded, the results down the stretch did not imply that the players gave up on Shurmur. Just the opposite, as New York won two of its final three games.
At this very moment, Judge can say that he's been more successful as New York's head coach than Shurmur but the results are negligible. Shurmur won nine games in total while Judge won six in 2020 and the Giants sit at 4-12 this season (10).
These are the bloviations of a head coach who knows he's getting fired in less than a week's time. Shurmur is likely to join him in the unemployment line as many expect the Broncos to make changes to the coaching staff, which would see the offensive coordinator hit the bricks alongside Vic Fangio.
It's unfortunate that Judge would resort to such antics but the Broncos don't exactly have a moral leg to stand on after Fangio attacked Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh, and the entire Baltimore organization, following Denver's loss to them in Week 4.
When the shoe is on the other foot, sometimes you have no choice but to swallow your pride and keep on dancin'.
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Chad Jensen is the Founder of Mile High Huddle and creator of the wildly popular Huddle Up Podcast. Chad has been on the Denver Broncos beat since 2012.