History Of The New York Giants NFL Football Team looks back at New York Giants’ History as one of the most successful and oldest teams in the NFL. Starting in 1925, the New York Giants as we know it now began to make history as a football team when Tim Mara first name his brand new team the New York Football Giants. He did this as the city already had a baseball team that was also known as the Giants. Furthermore, Mara wasn’t the first to assemble a team meant to join the National Football League.
The first attempt to establish the New York Giants in the NFL came about in 1919 when the league was brand new. Charles Stoneham, who already owned the New York Giants baseball franchise, hoped to add to his roster of pro team ownership by installing a football team. However, before it could even play its first game, Stoneham’s Giants folded as a team due to the red tape that was involved at the time.
Two years later, Stoneham was able to set up his dream football team in Brooklyn. As the Brooklyn Giants, the team played two games in the NFL before it dropped out. Two years after that, Stonham’s football team existed no more.
Tim Mara’s Giants
Going into the 1925 NFL season, the league was determined to establish a team in New York City. There was a proposal for the revival of the Brooklyn Giants given to a boxing promoter named Billy Gibson. It was he who’d suggest the league to Tim Mara as an option. When the NFL approached Mara, he invested the $500.00 needed to install the team into the league as a franchise. It was also agreed at that time the team would keep the original name Stoneham had in place, which was the Giants.
On October 5, 1925, Tim Mara’s New York Giants began to carve its history as a team by playing its first game against All New Britain in New Britain, Connecticut. It was a debut game and season that worked in the team’s favor with a winning record. Out of the twelve games played, only four of them were lost. As successful as the team was on the field, the success level off the field was something entirely different. At the time, professional football wasn’t nearly as appealing as baseball, boxing, and college football.
Oddly enough, one would think pro football would become more popular than college games but this wasn’t the case. This was made obvious when the Giants played the second last game of the 1925 season.
Thanks to the presence of Harold “Red” Grange and the team he played for, the Chicago Bears, there were over seventy thousand fans who attended. For New York City and the Giants, this was the saving grace they needed to avoid suffering the same fate as Stoneham’s old football team. The popularity of Red Grange was credited to the stellar career he enjoyed as a college football superstar. There was also more to Grange than that. For a short period of time, he was on the roster of the New York Yankees as a baseball player.
Interestingly enough, it was reported that Grange could have played for New York instead of Chicago. One source suggested big money was offered to Grange to play for the Giants but this served as contrast stories about the NFL’s stance on college players and Mara’s financial situation as a team owner. However, Mara did visit Chicago the same day Grange joined the Bears and it was he who scheduled this historical game for December 6, 1925.
At the time, Grange was the last college player to also compete in the NFL in the same season. Going into 1926, the league put into place the “Red Grange Rule.” This was a measure taken to prevent college players from playing pro football in the league at the same time. Although this ruling had been tested many times over since its creation, the NFL continues this policy today.
We Are Family
For the first two seasons of the New York Giants, Doc Alexander starred as the team’s player who could do it all. Whatever position Mara needed him to play in the game, he’d do it. By the end of the 1927 season, the Giants lost and tied only one game a piece out of a thirteen-game season. The Giants led the league in defense, thanks to the team’s head coach, Earl Potteiger. After finishing as the top team in the NFL, it proceeded to win its first championship. Unfortunately, this pattern of success wasn’t repeated by the time the 1928 season was over. Potteiger went from hero to zero as he was booted off as coach and LeRoy Andrews was hired to take his place.
Before going into the 1929 NFL season, Mara bought and dismantled the NFL’s Detroit Wolverines. He was interested in its star quarterback, Benny Friedman. However, instead of undergoing trade agreements, he simply the entire team roster and brought them over to New York.
Mara’s investment paid off as his Giants saw a 1929 season end with thirteen wins, a loss, and a tie. However, as fate had it, the loss the team experienced was to the Green Bay Packers. If it wasn’t for this loss, the NFL championship would have gone to the Giants as the Packers enjoyed a season that had twelve wins and a tie. Unlike the Giants, it didn’t have a single loss and it was enough to claim the NFL title. Since then, the rivalry between the Giants and the Patriots has been ongoing.
The 1930 season began with Tim Mara handing the ownership of the New York Giants to his sons. He did this as a means to protect himself and the team from creditors. His oldest son, Jack, was twenty-two years old at the time when this happened. As for his second son, he was only fourteen.
Going to College
One of the main reasons why Tim Mara was concerned about the financial well-being of the Giants was the fact the NFL had yet to earn a solid fan base that truly felt profitable. This was especially the case in New York as the fans were still too much in love with baseball. The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the baseball team version of the New York Giants was epic. These rivalries also extended to the Brooklyn Dodgers, so this three-way battle between the teams won most of the attention, both from fans and the media.
In order for the NFL to survive as a league, something needed to be done. At the time, it looked as if the NFL’s Red Grange Rule might have been a bad idea as college football was still more popular than its professional counterpart.As for Mara, he engineered a game in December 1930 for his New York Giants to square off against the Notre Dame All-Stars at the Polo Grounds. He did this as a charitable fundraiser for the city’s unemployment situation at the time.
The idea was to prove how superior pro football was to college football. It was a marketing ploy to “wake up” the fans and the media. This strategy worked as it raised over one hundred thousand dollars for the homeless and it established the NFL as a legitimate league.
Ideally, the game between New York and Notre Dame was supposed to be more dramatic. A highly confident Knute Rockne expected his team to score early with its infamous Notre Dame lineup, then defend against a team he assumed didn’t have it in them to win. When Benny Friedman scored two touchdowns for the Giants, followed by Hap Moran passing for another, this finished as a lopsided game.
The December 15, 1930 game ended with the final score of 22-0. The humbled Rockne admitted he saw the Giants perform as the greatest football machine he ever saw. He was also grateful nobody was hurt while playing. There were fifty thousand fans in attendance who watched this historical event take place. They, along with Rockne and his infamous lineup included Jim Crowley, Elmer Layden, Don Miller, and Harry Stuhdreher. Collectively, they were Notre Dame’s “Four Horsemen” who dominated college football while they were in their prime.
Steve Owen’s Giants
Going into the 1931 season, the New York Giants brought Steve Owen on board as the team’s head coach. This came after Friedman quit the team when Mara refused to let him invest shares in it. Mara pointed out the team was for his sons and nobody else. When Owen was hired in Friedman’s place, it was by handshake agreement with Mara and his sons. There never was a signed contract in place. He would keep this position, as-is, until 1953. During this time, he led his team to two NFL championships before his run with them was done.
Upon agreeing to coach the Giants, Steve Owen was already playing for the team as an offensive tackle. He, along with Mel Hein, led the Giants together until the center/linebacker retired as a player in 1945. At first, the Giants didn’t do as well as hoped in 1931 and 1932. This changed in 1933 when the team recruited Red Badgro, Ray Flaherty, Harry Newman, and Ken Strong to the team. Together, they were able to make it all way to the championship final. However, the Chicago Bears beat them in Wrigley Field, 23-21. The Giants had to wait another season before they could try again.
Stars on Ice
In 1934, the Giants were able to get their revenge against the Bears with a 30-13 score, which was achieved at New York City’s Polo Grounds. This win was credited to the preparations Mara made for his team to ensure they performed well on the field. The weather conditions on December 9, 1934, were frosty, to say the least. The field had a closer resemblance to a skating rink. The temperature was below freezing, causing the playing surface of the footballers to become icy.
At the time, Flaherty was the captain of the Giants and was already familiar with this type of field condition. He made a suggestion for the team sport sneakers. Agreeing to this, the team’s equipment manager was assigned to locate an athletics store that would be open on a Sunday. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find one and time was of the essence. It then hit him he had a key to Manhattan College’s locker rooms. He went there and rounded up nine pairs of basketball sneakers, bringing them to the game that was already underway between the Bears and the Giants.
For the first half of the game, the Giants wore conventional shoes. Once the sneakers arrived, nine of the players were able to make the footwear switch. By the time the game was over, the Giants came back from behind and won the game, as well as the NFL championship. This was the game that earned the moniker “The Sneakers Game.” Abe Cohen, the equipment manager who made this possible, received praise from the Giants as his innovative thinking saved the day, at least for them.
Almost But Not Quite
1935’s NFL Championship game for the New York Giants wasn’t quite as successful, though. This time, the Detroit Lions were able to secure the win and the Giants would have to simply keep trying. For the team from New York, this wasn’t a problem. In 1938, they were able to beat the Green Bay Packers to win what became their third NFL championship. Until 1941, the New York Giants dominated the NFL, at least in the regular season. However, when it came down to the NFL championship, they couldn’t quite pull it off. It wouldn’t be until after the hiccup of WWII in 1944 would the Giants make another appearance as NFL’s top team contender.
Although the 1944 edition of the New York Giants still remains in the history books as one of the best defensive teams in NFL history, they weren’t able to fend off the Green Bay Packers as its star player, Ted Fritsch, scored two touchdowns. It was enough for the Packers to emerge victorious. Part of the problem at that time was the team’s offense wasn’t nearly as performant as the defense.
A Family Affair
As soon as 1946 hit, Tim Mara handed full control of the New York Giants to his sons. Jack was in charge of business relations while Wellington focused on the team’s performance specifically. By the time the season was over, the Giants once again was impressive enough to make it to the NFL championship but fell short to seize the title. For the next three seasons, the Giants failed to present themselves as a top-notch team. It wouldn’t be until 1950 they’d make an NFL championship appearance again, However, the latest roadblock to victory came from the Cleveland Browns.
Despite disappointments in 1949 and 1950, one highlight for the Giants was Gene “Choo-Choo” Roberts. In 1949, he scored a league-high of seventeen touchdowns in a single season. Then he set a team record for 218 rushing yards on November 12, 1950. It was a record that hung on for over five decades.
Ending a Curse
After the 1953 season was over, Steve Owens was kicked off the team when the fed-up sons of Jim Mara grew tired of waiting for this head coach to turn their New York Giants into NFL champions for the fourth time. They always came close but it was a title that eluded them as if the team was cursed.
Taking Mara’s place was Jim Lee Howell. For the Mara brothers, saying goodbye to Owens was difficult but it was a move that needed to be done. Changes needed to be made and it seemed as if it was overdue. In 1954, the Giants hadn’t quite realized their potential as a team with Howell at the helm. This changed in 1955, thanks to a running back named Frank Gifford. Up until now, the Giants played as a team focused that focused more on defense instead of offense.
It was a strategy that paid off in 1956. Finally, the New York Giants claimed the NFL Championship. Adding more drama to this momentous occasion was the fact it was done at Yankee Stadium. It was also against the Chicago Bears. Ironically, this was a game played on an icy field that had the Giants pull off the same footwear strategy that was used in 1930. It was also played by an all-star lineup that included Gifford, Roosevelt Brown, and Sam Huff. The coaching team at the time was Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi.
Regarded as the greatest NFL game ever played, the New York Giants met against the Baltimore Colts in a championship game of the ages. Up until December 28, 1958, professional football was somewhat popular as a sport but still fell short of its rival sport, baseball. In a game that literally changed everything, this was an extremely competitive match between two teams that refused to back down from a good fight on the field. At first, the Giants drew first blood with a field goal before the Colts bounced back and scored two touchdowns in the process.
Upon going into the second half of the game, the Giants needed to retake the lead and they knew it. Fans watched the team from New York form a goal line stand as a defensive move that would shift the momentum of the game. It was after this a ninety-five-yard drive resulted in a touchdown that narrowed the gap from 14-3 to 14-10.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Giants managed to pull ahead with another touchdown so they could retake that lead. However, it was short-lived when the Colts bounced back with a field goal that tied the game. Because this was a championship match that needed a winner, it was declared both teams had to go into overtime until someone scored a tiebreaker. Unfortunately for the Giants, the Colts were able to pull off the win in a dramatic finish that still remains a conversation piece among football fans who also happen to be history buffs.
Bucked Off Again
The bitter sting of 1958’s defeat had the New York Giants come back in 1959 with the hope this time they would come out on top. This didn’t happen as the Colts once again bucked them out in a game that was considerably more lopsided. From 1960 until 1963, the Giants continued to impress in the Eastern Division but continued to fail in the NFL championship. When New York went up against Chicago in 1963 in what would be yet another icy final, the Bears had a defensive lineup that was too effective to beat.
Even though the Giants weren’t able to secure NFL championship titles during the first half of the 1960s, they were still a prize team to watch on major networks like CBS and NBC. Since 1958, the interest Americans had in football spiked and it was finally becoming a profitable business for successful teams that were able to prove themselves on the field.
By this time, the Giants were one of the most popular NFL teams. They were also doing well financially. Realizing in order for the NFL to thrive as a league, the Maras approached other team owners in an agreement with the NFL to share the wealth. To this day, this business practice continues.
After the 1963’s season, the New York Giants fell into a slump. It didn’t help that the aging roster and the management direction of the team served as thorns on the team’s side. Changes needed to be made but the decisions made at that time were iffy at best. Dubbed “the wilderness years,” the Giants fell in popularity as a respectable football team loaded with talent. This was also a team that did so much bouncing around between home arenas. It wouldn’t be until 1976 they would finally have a home to call their own at Giants Stadium. Beforehand, it went from Yankee Stadium to Yale Bow to Shea Stadium.
Until 1972, the Giants struggled as a professional football team. After enjoying a season finish of twenty-three games won and only three games lost, this short-lived triumph was promptly met with another string of losing streaks that had fans wondering if the Giants simply forgot how to play football.
Goodbye New York
Before moving to their own stadium, the New York Giants had no real home turf to call their own. They bounced between stadiums like nomads until 1976. After an agreement was made in 1973 to have something built for them in East Rutherford, New Jersey, reality sunk in this team was no longer going to be in New York City. Up until 1973, the Giants hosted their home games in Yankee Stadium as a tenant. When they had to move out due to renovations, they held their games briefly at Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut before moving into Shea Stadium in Queens.
Aside from changing location, the Giants also looked into hiring a general manager for the first time. This came about after another disappointing season, which also took its toll on the business partnership between the Mara brothers. As Tim and Wellington squabbled to determine who would make the right choice, they asked the NFL Commissioner at the time, Pete Rozelle, to come up with a suggestion. He provided the name of George Young, whose coaching expertise developed while he was with the Baltimore Colts and the Miami Dolphins.
Although a new general manager was in place, the damage done to the brotherly relationship between Tim and Wellington took a much longer amount of time to heal. As for Young, the first move he did was to hire Ray Perkins from the San Diego Chargers as the team’s new head coach. The 1979 season began with the recruitment of Phil Simms, a quarterback that nobody really seemed to know much about.
Neither the 1979 nor the 1980 season proved to be winning years for the Giants. However, the fate of the team changed when Lawrence Taylor became the team’s draft pick in 1981. He was a linebacker that proved to be a real game-changer for the team. This dramatic improvement to the team’s defense resulted in Taylor earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year as recognition for his efforts. He was the first rookie ever to make this achievement.
He, along with Harry Carson and Brad Van Pelt, established themselves as NFL Hall of Famers in the making. Together, they played an instrumental role in team morale and performance. Finally, the Giants were in championship form. Although the 1981 season didn’t end with a Super Bowl victory, it seemed to be only a matter of time before they would. However, a 1982 strike wound up interfering in what would have been a regular NFL season. When it was over, Young replaced Perkins with Bill Parcells as the team’s head coach. Previously, Parcells was the team’s defensive coordinator.
At first, the Giants struggled as Parcells chose Scott Brunner over Phil Simms as the team’s starting quarterback. What seemed like an unpopular decision at the time proved to be exactly what the team needed. However, the fans didn’t see it that way. They preferred Simms but Parcells chose to mostly stick with Brunner. When Simms finally was given the green light to start a six-game run, the quarterback sustained an injury that kept him sidelined for the rest of the 1983 season.
The start of the 1984 season had the fans finally getting what they wanted. Simms returned as the team’s starting quarterback and Brunner was traded to another team. The Giants were strong enough as a team to make a solid run for the NFL Super Bowl but not strong enough to overcome the San Fransisco 49ers. In 1985, the Giants continued to impress during the regular season. However, just like in 1984, the team’s playoff run was cut short, this time by the Chicago Bears. On both occasions, the Bears and the 49ers were teams that won the NFL Super Bowl at the expense of the Giants. At this point, the question lingered, will the Giants ever overcome the curse of almost making it to the final so they can become champions themselves?
We Are the Champions
When the New York Giants began the 1986 season, the odds seemed to be in their favor to finally win the Super Bowl. Although the regular season itself suggested perhaps this wouldn’t be the case, the Giants managed to at least pull off enough wins to enter the playoffs. Between the inspiring plays by Mark Bavaro, Ronnie Lott, and Phil Simms, not only did the Giants do well but it finally led them to the Super Bowl final.
First, the Giants defeated the San Fransisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs before taking out the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game. From there, it was now to buck off the Denver Broncos. There were over one hundred thousand fans in attendance at the Rose Bowl that witnessed the losing Giants bounce back and finally earn the right to call themselves Super Bowl champions. As a feather in his cap, Paul Simms was awarded Most Valuable Player, thanks to setting a Super Bowl record of twenty-two successful passes out of the twenty-five he threw.
The 1987 season once again saw a players’ strike to interfere with the NFL’s schedule. This time, the team owners opted to use replacement players as a response to the strike. For the Giants, this didn’t work in their favor as the team had yet to obtain a single win. It was hard to believe this was the same team that won the Super Bowl the season prior.
The 1988 season didn’t exactly go as planned for the New York Giants. Star linebacker Lawrence Taylor was caught in a scandal for drug abuse. His cocaine habit was a direct violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy and it was enough to suspend him for the first four games of the season. When he returned, it seemed his game improved, as well as his lifestyle choices. This came as a relief for the team, as well as the fans who looked to Taylor as a star player.
Unfortunately for the team, 1988 was a turbulent season. Their performance on the field wasn’t good enough to look like a team that performed like champions just a couple of seasons ago. So when the 1989 season began, there was a question of whether or not the Giants would be able to bounce back. As it turned out, the Giants enjoyed a solid NFC season that had them qualify for the NFL playoffs. However, they were unable to overcome the Los Angeles Rams in order to move forward in the division. The team would have to wait another year before they could try again.
The 1990 season witnessed the Giants win the first ten games of the season. Their rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, also did the same. By season’s end, the Giants experienced a serious blow to the team when Phil Simms was sidelined with an injury serious enough to put his football season to an end. The Giants simply had to carry on without him. For Jeff Hostetler, he had big shoes to fill and it didn’t look good as his regular season performance up to this point was not very impressive.
Luckily for the Giants, Hostetler was able to step up. He, along with the rest of the star lineup, first beat the Chicago Bears in the divisional playoffs, then topple the San Fransisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. At first, it didn’t look good for the Giants as the 49ers looked like they had their number but the last play of the game witnessed Matt Bahr deliver a forty-two-yard field goal to edge past their rivals, 15-13.
With the 49ers out of the way, this left only one team left to beat before winning the Super Bowl. That was the Buffalo Bills. At the time, American patriotism was heightened due to the tensions rising in the Middle East that would escalate to the Persian Gulf War. Super Bowl XXV took on a special meaning among the fans that year and the teams from Buffalo and New York found themselves caught up in the moment, too.
It was one of the most dramatic Super Bowls in NFL history and not simply because America was at war at the time. The Bills and the Giants fought in a game that had the scoring bounce back and forth between the teams until it was finally decided by a failed field goal attempt by Scott Norwood. Norwood was unable to secure the victory for his Buffalo Bills, allowing the Giants to earn what became their second Super Bowl victory in the NFL. Adding to this accomplishment was Ottis Anderson’s recognition as MVP after rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown. As for possession of the ball, the Giants also set a new record of forty minutes and thirty-three seconds.
Expect the Unexpected
While the 1990 Super Bowl victory started the new decade on a positive note for the New York Giants, this was a momentum that wouldn’t last. Going into the 1991 season, the team lost their head coach, Parcells as he changed career paths to become a broadcaster. There was also a transfer of ownership as Tim Mara sold his half of the team’s shares to Bob Tisch. This was a decision Mara made after learning he was diagnosed with cancer.
Up until now, the Giants were owned entirely by the Maras. With such profound changes going into the start of the 1991 season, the question came up of how these dramatic changes would affect the team. When Ray Handley was asked to replace Parcells as the team’s new head coach, he was reluctant at first to accept. His coaching style was distinctly different from his predecessor’s as his approach was considerably calmer by comparison.
As soon as he did take over, he replaced Phil Simms as the team’s starting quarterback. Jeff Hostetler would take his place in that role but it would go back to Simms later in the season. Unfortunately, the momentum the team had in 1990 was not matched in 1991. There were too many changes that affected what was now an aging team, especially in defense. For the fans, they expected something better. As it turned out, so did team management. As soon as the disappointing season was over, Handley was fired.
Taking Handley’s place was Dan Reeves. He was the same head coach that led his Denver Broncos to three Super Bowls in four years before he was kicked from the team. When he saw the door was open to coach the Giants, he seized the opportunity with so much enthusiasm that both the fans and management welcomed him with open arms. As a coach, Reeves saw to it Simms was the team’s starting quarterback. He also whipped the defense back to its former glory. The impressive 1992 season suggested the Giants were shoe-ins for an NFL playoff berth. However, in the last two games left in the season, they couldn’t pull it off. Once the season was over, Simms, along with Lawrence Taylor, announced they would be going into retirement.
With Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor gone, Reeves recruited Dave Brown as the team’s new starting quarterback. He was the top supplemental draft choice in 1992 that would begin the 1994 season. At first, it looked good for the Giants with three wins. Then the team floundered with a regular season that kept them out of the playoffs. Things didn’t get any better for the 1995 season, either. The blame was poured on Brown’s performance as a team player, which also made Reeves look bad as it was his decision to make the draft pick the team’s starting quarterback. When 1996 resulted in disappointment as well, this was the end of the road for Reeves.
Jim Fassel from the Arizona Cardinals replaced Reeves to coach the Giants. He replaced Dave Brown with Danny Kanell as the team’s starting quarterback. These moves weren’t enough to see much improvement as the 1997 NFL season played itself out. The Giants were able to finish the season with a playoff spot but it was short-lived when the Minnesota Vikings eliminated them. After this, general manager George Young left the team and was replaced by Ernie Accorsi.
The 1998 season didn’t show any sign of improvement as the Giants continued to struggle. Upon going into the 1999 season, Accorsi looked to starting quarterback Kerry Collins as the man to lead the team. Unfortunately, the Giants entered the twenty-first century as a team that couldn’t make it into the NFL playoffs.
For Accorsi and Fassel, they needed to make the 2000 season work in favor of the New York Giants. After Fassel made a public statement that he would lead the Giants to the playoffs, the team made good on that promise. It was good enough to make it all the way to the final game of the Super Bowl series. Now, all they needed to do was beat the Baltimore Ravens and go home as the victors.
Unfortunately, the Giants couldn’t pull that victory off. The Ravens made the team from New York look small with a 34-7 score that suggested the Giants forgot how to play championship football. After this humiliating loss, the Giants couldn’t seem to get it together well enough from 2001 until 2003. While Collins did shine as a star player, the team itself continued to have issues. It was enough to cost Fassel his job as head coach.
Replacing Fassel was Tom Coughlin. He was a stark contrast to the easy-going Fassel as someone who pulled no punches. With a new head coach in place, general manager Accorsi acquired star quarterback Eli Manning. Disgruntled at the idea of being demoted to backup, Kerry Collins was sent packing in place of seasoned veteran Kurt Warner. Originally, Warner was signed up to serve as the starting quarterback while Manning was supposed to be groomed to eventually take over. Warner’s performance was better than expected while Manning found himself struggling at first. Although Manning did improve as expected, it was too little too late and the Giants were unable to get into the 2004 playoffs.
Death in the Family
On October 25, 2005, Wellington Mara passed away. For him, the New York Giants was his life as he grew up with the team since he was a small boy. First owned by his father, then as a co-owner, Tim, the Giants, and the Maras literally grew together as a family. When he died, both the fans and the team were hit hard with the sad news.
In addition to Mara’s death was Bob Tisch. He died on November 15, 2005. These two deaths were bitter pills for the Giants to swallow, which made an impact on the team’s performance throughout the season. It may have also had an impact going into the 2006 season. Although the Giants did make it to the playoffs at the end of both seasons, they still fell short in their quest to make it to the Super Bowl.
When the 2007 season ran its course, the New York Giants were able to make it to the playoffs for the third time in a row. This time, they were able to make it all the way to the Super Bowl. At the time, the New England Patriots were deemed as the team likely to emerge as the victor. However, the Giants managed to pull off the unexpected and come out on top with a 17-14 victory. The hero of the day was starting quarterback Eli Manning, as well as David Tyree. Despite such heavy coverage by the Patriots’ defense, Tyree was able to catch Manning’s long pass against his own helmet. Later in the game, Manning’s pass to Plaxico Burress resulted in the winning touchdown with just thirty-five seconds left in the game. This dramatic finish not only earned the well-deserved win over the Patriots but Manning’s first MVP.
2008 started off looking good for the Giants and they were able to enter the playoffs. However, they were unable to successfully defend their NFL championship after they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. It was hoped perhaps in 2009 they would do better. Instead, the Giants faired even worse as they were unable to perform well enough during the regular season to earn a playoff spot.
It was hoped perhaps moving into the brand new MetLife Stadium upon the start of the 2010 season that things would look up for the New York Giants. Instead, the team expressed attitude issues that affected their gameplay. This would play a factor in a necessary lineup change in 2011. The team roster made a series of changes that would see the morale among the players increase substantially. It was enough to make it to Super Bowl XLVI and defeat the New England Patriots.
However, the gap between 2012 and 2015 saw the New York Giants behave as a team that forgot how to play football at a championship level. All three seasons witnessed their inability to enter the playoffs. The only highlight was Odell Beckham Jr. as he starred on the field as Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014. Aside from this, the Giants once again floundered as a team.
In the meantime, the Giants’ Tom Coughlin stepped down after serving as the team’s head coach since 2004. He was replaced by Ben McAdoo going into the 2016 season. At first, it looked like the Giants were about to experience yet another disappointing NFL season. Although they made it to the playoffs, the team was unable to make it to the Super Bowl.
One would think after 2016, the Giants would have a great 2017. As it turned out, the polar opposite happened. After experiencing one of the worst seasons in franchise history, McAdoo was hurled out as coach and replaced by Pat Shurmur. Aside from yet another disappointing season in 2018, the highlight was rookie Saquon Barkley. The running back was a draft pick that became NFC’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
When 2019 ended in disappointment as well, Shurmur was fired and replaced by Joe Judge. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any better for the team, and Judge was replaced by Brian Daboll in 2022. He, along with current general manager, Joe Schoen, is now at the helm. The New York Giants are just a few years shy of celebrating its centennial as a professional football team.
The current owners of the New York Giants are John Mara and Steve Tisch. Mara serves as the team’s president and CEO while Tisch is the chairman. Together, they run what’s been in Mara’s family since his grandfather purchased the team in 1925. He is the son of the late Wellington Mara. As for Steve Tisch, he is the son of the late Bob Tisch. He inherited his shares after his father passed away in 2005. Like Mara, the New York Giants is as much a part of him as his own family. Together, he and Mara run the Giants like a family business
That family feeling is evident with the New York Giants. So far, the team’s legacy shows eight championships. Before the Super Bowl became the NFL’s top prize, the Giants won as champions four times. 1927, 1934, 1938, and 1956 were all pre-NFL Super Bowl victories. 1986, 1990, 2007, and 2011 were all the wins the Giants earned as Super Bowl champions. Currently, the only two teams that have faired better in the NFL have been the Chicago Bears at nine wins and the Green Bay Packers at thirteen wins.
However, the New York Giants’ legacy continues. As one of the oldest and most distinguished teams in the NFL, they’ve already established themselves as one of America’s finest examples of what makes a team feel more like family than a mere roster of players.
CREPEAU, R. I. C. H. A. R. D. C. (2020). Nfl Football: A history of America’s new national pastime. UNIV OF ILLINOIS Press.
Berkow, I. (2015). Giants among men: Y.A., L.T., Big Tuna, & other New York Giants stories. Triumph Books.
Jackson, Kenneth T. The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011.
Haskell, David. The Encyclopedia of New York. New York: Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2020.
History Of The New York Giants NFL Football Team ClassicNewYorkHistory.com ©2022
ClassicNewYorkHistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to republish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission.