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The New York Giants lost 20-17 to the struggling Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, and while poor clock management wasn't the only reason they lost, it was certainly noticeable.
The biggest example of coach Joe Judge's poor clock management came in the second quarter. Judge burned two timeouts in the first five minutes of the second quarter, leaving him with just one for the final 10 minutes of the half. According to NJ.com, both of those timeouts were used due to miscommunications on defensive substitutions — not exactly the most productive way to use them.
Judge blames headset malfunction
Judge had an explanation for why he had to use those two timeouts: headset malfunction. No, seriously. That's not a joke he made to lighten the mood, it was his serious explanation. And not just for Monday night's clock management. He blamed the headsets on clock management issues he's had throughout the entire season.
“The headsets were going out,” Judge said via NJ.com. “This has been happening in every game so far. We deal with the league and they keep telling us about different software updates or whatever it is.”
Judge then also blamed the hardware for the issues. Via Zack Rosenblatt at NJ.com:
Judge said the Giants had to call those two timeouts because the headsets weren’t “getting reception” when they were trying to make substitutions.
“That’s the issue right there,” Judge said. “We are trying to make the right call. ... We have to make sure the hardware is working. So whatever the issue with that is, the people involved better get it fixed fast.”
That seems like a pretty big problem, especially since Judge said “at every single stadium this year, home and away, I’ve had issues personally.”
Judge said that he wanted to go back to the headsets they used in 2020, but the NFL wouldn't let them.
“If we can’t rely on the equipment then we’ll try to figure something else out,” Judge said via NJ.com. “We tried at one point to go back to the old equipment but they told us we weren’t allowed to do it for whatever reason. We didn’t have issues with it last year. Hopefully, we figure it out ...
“Whoever is in charge of it, I don’t know if it’s through the league or us exactly, but they’ve gotta fix it fast. That’s it.”
Judge says it's not about the 'stupid headsets'
Can you spot the common factor here? It's Judge and his staff. When your headsets have problems everywhere you go, the issue might be you and not the technology, especially since it appears that every other team is getting on just fine.
Plus, according to an informative and in-depth article about NFL headsets in PC Mag, technicians get to the stadium four hours early to set up and test all the equipment for both teams. The system is complex so it can be both reliable and secure, but for coaches, it's reduced to a headset and a box with four programmable buttons that can allow them to speak to or listen to certain coaches.
"So when a coach blames their headset in a postgame press conference, headset is shorthand for a complex chain of near-military-grade communication devices and technology from four distinct vendors."
Despite all that, it's definitely possible that the Giants' headsets have caused miscommunications during key moments throughout the season, causing them to burn timeouts at inopportune times. Though when the media began asking him more and more questions about the tech issues, Judge tried to walk things back just a bit.
“Again, look, I don’t want to make this about stupid headsets," Judge said. "That wasn’t the factor in the game. We got to do other things on our own for us to be successful.’’
Well that certainly clears things up. Something tells me this won't be the last time we hear about these "stupid headsets" this season.