New York Sports Franchises: New York Giants
April 27, 2011 Leave a comment
NFL Championships: 1927, 1934, 1938, 1956 (all pre-Super Bowl)
Super Bowl Championships: 1986 (XXI), 1990 (XXV), 2007 (XLII)
Retired Numbers: #1 Ray Flaherty, #4 Tuffy Leemans, #7 Mel Hein, #11 Phil Simms, #14 Y.A. Tittle, #16 Frank Gifford, #32 Al Blozis, #40 Joe Morrison, #42 Charlie Conerly, #50 Ken Strong, #56 Lawrence Taylor
Rivals: Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets
The New York Giants were one of five teams that joined the NFL in 1925, but the only one admitted that year which still exists. The franchise ranks third among all NFL franchises with seven NFL titles, with four coming in the pre-Super Bowl era, and three since the advent of the Super Bowl. Their championship tally is surpassed only by the Green Bay Packers (13), and the Chicago Bears (9).
In the 1930’s, there were still many who questioned the quality and legitimacy of the professional game, claiming that the college players played with more intensity. To combat this dispute, the Giants played a team of Notre Dame All-Stars at the Polo Grounds to raise money for the unemployed of New York City. It was also an opportunity to establish the superiority of the pro game. The Giants won by a landslide, and this game is often credited with establishing the legitimacy of the professional game.
In a fourteen-year span from 1933 to 1946, the Giants qualified to play in the NFL championship game 8 times, winning twice. This period also included the famous “Sneaker Game,” in which the Giants defeated the Bears on an icy field in the 1934 NFL Championship game, while wearing sneakers for better traction. However, they did not win another league title until 1956, when they were aided by a number of future Pro Football Hall of Famers, including Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, and Roosevelt Brown. From 1958 to 1963, the Giants played for the NFL title five times, but failed to win. Things got even worse, as the Giants registered only two winning season and no playoff appearances from 1964 to 1978.
In 1979, the Giants began to take steps that would eventually return them to legitimacy in the league. Such steps included the drafting of Phil Simms in 1979, and Lawrence Taylor in 1981. After 9-7 and 10-6 finishes in 1984 and 1985, respectively, things began to turn around under new head coach Bill Parcells. The Giants compiled a 14-2 record in 1986, led by league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Taylor, and the strong New York defense. Ousting the 49ers and Redskins in the divisional and NFC title games, respectively, the team advanced to Super Bowl XXI against the Denver Broncos. Led by MVP Phil Simms, who completed 22 of 25 passes for a Super Bowl record 88% completion percentage, they defeated the Broncos 39-20, winning their first championship since 1956.
In 1990, the Giants went 13-3 and set an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season. The defeated the 49ers, who were attempting to win the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year, and then defeated the Bills 20-19, clinching Super Bowl XXV. Following the 1990 season, Parcells resigned as head coach, sparking a period of quick coaching turnovers and declining production from the aging roster. The Giants struggled a hefty amount in the first years of the post Simms and Taylor era.
The Giants returned to relevance once again in 2000, led by Kerry Collins, eliminating the Eagles and Vikings, enroute to a 34-7 embarrassment of a loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. In 2004, three years after their last Super Bowl appearance, Tom Coughlin was brought on as head coach. Although he had experienced several solid seasons as the Giants’ quarterback, Coughlin struggled from the get go. It wasn’t until a draft day trade for quarterback Eli Manning in 2004, as well as acquisitions of standouts such as Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber that the media scrutiny turned into respect for the New York Football Giants.
Going into 2007, the Giants had made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. In a season in which the franchise grabbed its 600th victory, Coughlin’s squad finished 10-6 and became NFC Champions after defeating the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Packers in the playoffs. Facing the 18-0 Patriots, who were 12 point favorites going in to the game, the Giants pulled off the unexpected, beating New England 17-14, and winning Super Bowl XLII.
In 2008, the Giants won the NFC East with a record of 12-4, but lost to the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs. In 2009, the Giants lost in their final game in Giants Stadium to the Panthers, and thus were eliminated from playoff eligibility. In 2010, the team moved from Giants Stadium into New Meadowlands Stadium, and also suffered a few late season losses, particularly to the Eagles, and were effectively eliminated from playoff eligibility. Stay tuned later this week as we discuss the current state of the G-men!