There was also the possibility that the Giants’ current and longstanding management structure — in which the coach reports to a general manager, in this case Dave Gettleman — had become an impediment to attracting a new coach. Increasingly, teams have begun allowing head coaches to handle many personnel matters once reserved for general managers.
Jed Hughes, a leading coaching and executive search consultant for the sports industry, said on Tuesday that the momentum of the N.F.L. was carrying it toward a model in which the head coach runs the football operations.
“Having the head coach in control is important,” Hughes said. “The coach has the ability to create the culture.”
It is not clear whether Judge, especially given his lack of head coaching experience, will be granted any added off-field duties with the Giants. In a news conference last week, the team’s co-owner John Mara, speaking alongside his ownership partner, Steve Tisch, conceded that he would consider altering the power dynamic within the organization.
“I’m always willing to look at whatever’s going to improve the team,” Mara said when asked about making such changes, “and if I felt that there was somebody coming in here as a head coach who wanted a different role and he could convince Steve and I that that would make sense for our organization, we would certainly consider that.”
Whatever Judge’s specific role will be, the Giants acted swiftly after the news that Rhule would be going to Carolina, agreeing to hire Judge by midday, although ESPN reported that the Giants and Judge began negotiating contract terms on Monday night.
The Giants had no comment on Judge’s hiring Tuesday, but it’s possible they saw an inspiring example in one of this season’s strongest teams. A leading candidate for the Coach of the Year Award in the N.F.L. this season is Baltimore’s John Harbaugh, a former special teams coach. Harbaugh won the Super Bowl seven years ago with the Ravens, who have boldly built their current offense around the second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson. They are the top-seeded team in the A.F.C., and Jackson is the prohibitive favorite to win the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.