EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Tom Coughlin had people wanting to run through a wall for him five minutes into his introductory press conference back in 2004. Three years later, he was nearly run out of town, one year before winning a Super Bowl.
Ben McAdoo was mocked for his goofy haircut and ill-fitting suit in 2016, then went 11-5 as a rookie head coach before the walls caved in one year later.
And two years ago, Pat Shurmur looked every bit the "adult" the Giants needed -- a mature, calm, football lifer. Two years later, he was out with a record of 9-23.
So when Joe Judge took the stage on Thursday afternoon as the 19th head coach in Giants history and the fourth in the last six years, it was great that he hit all the right notes. He promised "toughness" and "old school" football, hearkening back to the Giants' better days. And he tugged at the heart strings by leaning on the "blue collar" fan base, saying he wanted his players to be more like them.
It was perfect. It was inspiring. It seemed to energize a lot of people in the organization.
But it just won't mean a thing if the Giants don't end up competing for a ring.
That's the reality that every new head coach faces, but it's even more true for the 38-year-old first-timer. He's the flavor of the moment, but that taste will turn sour if the Giants start 0-1. Maybe that's why Judge was so short on specifics, refusing to give any analysis of anyone on the roster, and no thoughts about how long he can turn this mess of a franchise around.
He knew he was staring at a skeptical media and a scorched fan base. All he could do was take command and give everyone a reason to believe.
"There's a question out there a lot of people are asking: Who am I?" Judge said. "Well, maybe I can explain it a little better by instead of saying 'Who am I?', I'll tell you what's relevant to this conversation is what I'm about. What I'm about is an old-school, physical mentality. We're going to put a product on the field that the people of this city and region can be proud of. This team will represent this area. We will play fast. We will play downhill. We will play aggressive. We'll punch you in the nose for 60 minutes. We'll play with a relentless competitive attitude."
I mean, who can't appreciate that? And what Giants fan doesn't want to punch someone in the nose for 60 minutes after the last eight seasons -- a hellish stretch that has included only one playoff berth, six losing seasons and five seasons with double-digit losses.
As Giants co-owner John Mara said later, everyone understands they've lost the trust and faith of the fan base.
They didn't exactly earn it back by dipping into what Mara called "the deepest group of quality candidates I can recall" and coming out of it with perhaps the most anonymous coach they've ever hired.
But boy did Judge, the Lansdale, Pa. native know exactly what to say.
"I want this team to reflect this area," he said. "I want the people that pay their hard-earned money in the neighborhoods of New York, North Jersey, South Jersey to come to our games and know that the players on the field play with the same attitude that they wake up with every morning. That is blue collar. That is hard work. It's in your face. We're not going to back down from anybody. We're going to come to work every day and grind it out the way they do in their jobs every day."
Sixteen years after Coughlin stormed into town and promised the "restoration" of Giants pride, Judge went even farther -- the restoration of New York pride. And even New Jersey pride, too.
It was great. It really was. It was hard not to believe the Giants didn't make a good choice. But the reality is the same as it ever was. Judge enters the head coach's office as green as Bill Parcells was in 1983, as Ray Handley was in 1991, as Jim Fassel was in 1997, and as McAdoo was in 2016. First year coaches who have never sat in the captain's chair are wild cards. They are all selected because their new bosses think they are diamonds in the rough.
Some become Sean McVay. Some become Handley. All anyone can do is watch and hope.
"There are always risks when you hire a coach who has never been a head coach before," Mara said. "But I think as you could see in there, I'm just excited about what he brings to the table. He has a certain poise and presence about him. You guys have pointed out the last couple of years that I've had a lot of experience interviewing coach candidates. But I'm just telling you that's the best interview I've ever been a part of."
A great interview, followed by a great opening press conference. That's a great start and it will be enough to carry him into September.
After that, like every other coach who has occupied his new office, Judge has a simple mission: He better win.