You expected — OK, wanted — at least a hint of euphoria afterward.
To say Giants coach Joe Judge isn’t an advocate of hyperbole is as much a gross understatement as Bill Belichick relishing a deep delve into his relationship with Tom Brady.
But even those who know the low-key Judge best expected perhaps a moment of excitement and breathlessness after the biggest win of his head-coaching career to date.
At least a smile.
But Judge, in a performance ripped directly from the pages of Belichick’s postgame press conference playbook, offered no such things after his previously-winless team saved its season with Sunday’s scintillating 27-21 overtime comeback victory over the favored Saints at the Superdome.
“I’m a believer in the process,’’ Judge said. “I not a believer in the letting the results justify what you do. Results are the most deceiving thing in mankind. If you keep focused on what’s away from you and forget about the steps you have to complete on the way there, you’re not going to get to where you want to be.’’
Judge’s tactic is understandable. His team was 0-3 when it went to New Orleans and, to the world outside of the sanctity of his locker room, it was floundering, headed for yet another miserable losing season, the names changing the results remaining the same.
Judge stuck with his “process’’ in the face of 0-3 and that adversity of the outside noise ridiculing his team, and it finally paid off in the a high-degree-of-difficulty game in the Superdome.
The true reality, though, is that this is a results business, and if Judge’s “process’’ failed to produce a positive result Sunday in New Orleans the Giants would be 0-4 heading to Texas this weekend to play the high-flying Cowboys.
The question is what effect Judge sticking to that “process’’ and the players being rewarded with Sunday’s result has on the team going forward.
This needs to be a major step in this team learning how to win, because this team needed to learn how to win.
Here’s how we know that the “process’’ Judge referred to is taking hold: If the Giants return from Dallas with a 2-3 record and have thrust themselves back into the NFC East race.
“Going forward, it kind of showed us what we can do as a team if we play together and finish games together,’’ receiver John Ross, who caught a 52-yard touchdown Sunday, said Monday of the win over the Saints.
“It meant a lot for us because we knew if we lost we were going to be 0-4,’’ cornerback James Bradberry, who had an interception Sunday, said Monday. “0-3 was terrible, 0-4 would have been worse. I feel like this was a momentum booster for us, a morale booster.”
As Judge stood before reporters at a podium in a room in the bowels of the Superdome minutes after Sunday’s game, the sound of Giants players whooping it up inside the locker room on the other side of the door was audible.
The players should have been celebrating. They won a game few believed they’d win.
As those sounds of celebration leaked through the cracks of that door to the locker room, though, Judge refused to bite on Sunday’s win being any sort of season-turning moment.
“Look, we’re just sticking to the process,’’ he said. “Everyone wants to come in there with a big emotional whatever. The reality is we’re going to go back, we’re going to watch this tape and we’re going to identify things we need to correct. We can’t ride this roller coaster every week.’’
Former Giants coach Bill Parcells used to refer to the “psychology of results’’ as one of his mantras. And Judge, a protégé of Belichick who was a protégé of Parcells, seems to be adhering to that Parcells principle: Don’t let the troops get too high after a win or too low after a loss.
“The psychology of results is a powerful deterrent to a team’s success,’’ Parcells wrote in his book “Parcells: A Football Life.’’ “It affects everybody — owners, the GM, the fans, the press, everybody. The same thing is true of individual performances. Some players are satisfied with performing well despite their team losing. I don’t want those players on my team. The best players I had, when they played well and we lost were miserable. If they played poorly and we won, they were happy we won.’’
Said Judge: “We’ve got understand who we are as a team and look at the results and play a certain way. We’ve got to make sure we look at the tape and be very honest with ourselves in terms of what the Cowboys are looking at right now on the tape.
“In terms of the team … I see a lot of mental toughness there, I see guys sticking together as a team.’’
All good news as Giants fans await the next test: Validation day in Dallas.