Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge was officially hired Wednesday as head coach of the New York Giants.
The Giants and representatives for Judge reached a contract agreement less than 24 hours after the 38-year-old was offered the job and asked to turn around a franchise that has made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012.
Judge succeeds Pat Shurmur, who was fired a week ago Monday after winning nine games in two seasons.
“Over the past couple of days we had great conversations about where this team is and where it is headed and how we are going to get there,’’ Judge said in a statement. “My job is to lead our players and coaches. The mission is clear, to win games.”
The hiring was surprising because Judge was not considered a favorite for the job. He had never been a head coach. However, he had worked for two of the top head coaches in football — Bill Belichick of the Patriots and Nick Saban of Alabama.
Giants co-owner John Mara said Judge was very impressive in his interview Monday.
“He knows what winning looks like and should look like,’’ Mara said. “His exposure and experience in New England and Alabama have helped shape his philosophy of building a winning program and culture. ” The two men considered the front runners for the Giants’ job opted to coach other teams.
Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl and went to the playoffs nine times in 12-plus seasons, accepted the Cowboys’ head job. He interviewed with the Giants last week. Baylor coach Matt Rhule, a former Giants assistant, was hired by the Panthers on Tuesday, the day he was supposed to interview with New York. The planned meeting never happened.
One of the biggest decisions Rhule will have to make is choosing a quarterback — a move that could determine the direction of his tenure with the Panthers and the franchise’s future for years to come.
Rhule said Wednesday he spoke to Cam Newton after accepting the job, but added that it’s way too early to make any decisions about the roster before sitting down and talking at length with general manager Marty Hurney.
“I did talk to Cam [on Tuesday] and I have the utmost respect for him and what he has done,’’ Rhule said Wednesday during an introductory news conference. “And I love the way he talked to me, quite honestly. He didn’t want to talk about the past, he wanted to talk about the future.’’
But Rhule isn’t quite ready to talk about the future just yet: ‘‘I would much rather talk to those guys and kind of get a feel for not just Cam, but all of the players on the roster, and really have a good process in place moving forward.”
Hurney, who kept his job after coach Ron Rivera was fired, said he has not discussed the quarterback situation with Rhule.
“That is something we will have to sit down and talk about,” Hurney said. ‘‘We have a guy who was the MVP of the NFL. And Matt knows that. This is all going to be a process. He is going to have to get to know these guys and get to know the roster.’’
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who started out as a scout and errand runner under Belichick in Cleveland, interviewed Wednesday to be the Browns’ next coach. Schwartz has more head coaching experience than any of the other five candidates who have spoken to the team. Schwartz had a five-year run as Detroit’s coach, and he long has been regarded as one of the league’s top assistants. The 53-year-old is looking for another shot as head coach, and he could get the chance with the Browns, who are the only team still looking. Owner Jimmy Haslam and his search committee, which includes chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, have interviews scheduled with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski on Thursday and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Friday. The Browns also interviewed Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll . . . Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen has an ankle injury that limited him Wednesday in practice.