PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — First-year Giants head coach Joe Judge — the former New England Patriots special teams coordinator — hails from Bucks County, where he attended Lansdale Catholic High School.
Thursday night won’t be the first time he leads a squad against his childhood team, but it will be as New York’s head coach.
“I’ll probably wear a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries,” Judge joked, referencing a stereotype about Philadelphia sports fans stemming from a one-time brawl. In 1999, Phillies fans threw batteries at former Major League Baseball player J.D. Drew.
Drew didn’t want to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997.
According to a 2016 Philadelphia Daily News article, Drew wasn’t the only target of charged aggression. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said fans threw D batteries at him during his brief — and unsuccessful — 2-7 stint as the Eagles quarterback in 1999.
Jokes aside, Judge acknowledged Philly’s “great, passionate fans.”
“It’s an excellent team,” he continued. “It’s obviously a great rivalry. I grew up watching these games. They were always tough games, blue-collar type games when the Eagles and the Giants played when I was growing up.”
Ahead of Thursday night’s NFC East affair, Judge said many of his cousins requested tickets — as far as back as the summer, when the schedule was released. Of course, his wife and children will be in attendance, who, he said, doesn’t like missing games.
Regardless of who’s in the stands — and where their true allegiance lies — Judge has one request.
“My only rule is really anyone who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with — they gotta wear blue,” he said. “I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but hey, look man, you ain’t showing up and cheering against my kids’ Christmas now. So, you better put on the blue and cheer for us.”