STARKVILLE, MS (WLBT) - Former Mississippi State student-athlete and graduate assistant coach Joe Judge will try for his third Super Bowl ring with New England on Sunday when the Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Judge is in his seventh season with the Patriots and his fourth as the special teams coach. He joined New England’s staff as an assistant special teams coach in 2012 and has been a part of Super Bowl victories in 2015 over Seattle and 2017 against Atlanta.
Under Judge’s guidance, New England’s special teams units have been a strength of the organization, and they frequently rank in the top of the NFL in kicking, returning and coverage.
Before his coaching career, Judge went to MSU as a backup quarterback in 2000. He played three seasons for Coach Jackie Sherrill and one for Sylvester Croom. He found a special teams role on punt protection and as a holder for the place kicker, earning three letters from 2000-04. He was also named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and made the Dean’s List.
Following his playing days, Judge began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Bulldogs from 2005-07. He mentored freshman All-SEC punter Blake McAdams, five All-SEC linebackers and returner Derek Pegues, who finished as the all-time SEC leader in career return yards and kickoff return yards.
Judge briefly served as the kindergarten physical education teacher at West Point Elementary before he got a call to join the coaching staff at Birmingham Southern for the 2008 season. He was later hired at Alabama in 2009 as an analyst and special teams assistant.
After a three-year stint in Tuscaloosa, Judge went to Southern Miss for a special teams coaching job, but after just a few months, Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick hired him as a special teams assistant. Judge was promoted to lead the special teams unit in February 2015.
New England’s special teams units have enjoyed successful seasons in Judge’s seven years. This season, they rank third in the NFL in kickoff return average (27.0) which is the best average in team history. Last year, the kickoff and kickoff receiving teams each finished third in the NFL in average drive start position. In 2016, the kickoff team led the AFC in kickoff drive start position and finished third in the NFL, after finishing second in the league in drive start position in 2015. Additionally, the kickoff return team finished seventh in the NFL in kickoff return drive start and fourth in the AFC in 2016.
In his first five years in New England, Judge’s field goal blocking unit had the second-most blocked field goals across the entire NFL with seven blocked field goals.
Judge’s punt teams also experienced success in 2016, finishing second in the NFL in punt coverage and second in opponents return average.
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has led the NFL in scoring for four of the past seven seasons under Judge’s leadership. With 156 points in 2017, Gostkowski became the first player in NFL history with five 150-point seasons. Judge’s first season in 2012 saw the Patriots lead the NFL in extra points and finish second in punt return yards and fewest punt return yards allowed.
Judge played quarterback and strong safety during a four-year high school career at Landsdale (Pa.) Catholic High School under Jim Algeo. He was named All-Area as a junior and senior.
His father, Joseph, played football at Temple and professionally with the Hamilton Tigercats of the CFL. Judge is currently working on his PhD in education. His wife, Amber, was an All-SEC soccer player at MSU, and they have four children together – Sean, Michael, Emma Riley and Ella Grace.