Rigid is vanishing in sports. Relatable is en vogue.
There's a reason for that. The generations that populate our favorite teams grew up with Netflix, not cable. Rushing to a TV to catch a commercial-laden, censored program seems archaic when they can stream whatever, whenever, wherever.
From Uber Eats to grocery delivery apps, options have defined Gen Z and millennials, and they don't take kindly to inflexibility.
Enter: Giants' rookie head coach Joe Judge making his players and coaches run laps.
Now, I have to be honest here. Joe Judge is my kind of guy. Totally blue collar, hails from the rust belt of this country, and just generally salt of the earth. He's what a "football guy" used to be in the 80s and 90s. The problem is, recent history across all sports tells me Judge is part of a dying breed.
Jim Boylen was just fired by the Bulls for an inability to acquiesce to his players.
Tom Coughlin was just kicked out of Jacksonville for being a hard-ass.
Jim Harbaugh exhausted the people in San Francisco, even after a Super Bowl appearance.
Meanwhile, players are responding most favorably to easy-going coaches like Monty Williams, Andy Reid and Doug Pederson.
At first, I scoffed when Lane Johnson said this:
That, however, is a growing attitude amongst all athletes, and you adapt, or die.
So, when I read the news about Joe Judge - after I got done chuckling about the idea of Jason Garrett running laps one year removed from coaching America's team - I couldn't help but give props to the Cardinals for being ahead of the curve on this.
I was initially disappointed by Kliff Kingsbury's hire because I viewed it as a superficial ripoff of Sean McVay. You know - the looks, the offense, the youth.
But, maybe there was more to it.
Maybe Steve Keim and Michael Bidwill spent a year with a rigid defensive head coach in Steve Wilks, and a cement-footed 90s style quarterback in Josh Rosen, and decided it was time to step into the 21st century.
Maybe that started with a coach so relatable that he garnered the respect of Larry Fitzgerald, connected with Kyler Murray, and went viral for his James Bond abode before his second year coaching in the NFL.