The recommendations from Nick Saban and Bill Belichick certainly played a part in Joe Judge's candidacy in getting the audience to convince team brass he deserved to be the next coach of the New York Giants.

"I knew fully every day that there were coaches out there that would pay thousands of dollars to sit in a staff meeting and just hear the wisdom [Saban and Belichick] were saying on a daily basis," Judge said. "I’d like to think I was not foolish enough to squander that."

Giants co-owner and team president John Mara admitted Thursday - and rightfully so - that the praise of Judge from Belichick and Saban had an impact. What was also significant: the fact that Saban, after Judge worked on his staff, passed him along to Belichick in New England.

“Obviously Nick is not going to send Bill a dog,” Mara said, adding: “One thing Bill said was that he gave Joe more and more responsibility and very quickly he stopped having to look over his shoulder. The more I spoke to him, the more excited I got about Joe Judge."

Judge shared what he considered the greatest coaching lesson learned from Belichick.