The New York Giants are a professional football team in the National Football League (the NFL). The New York Giants play in the National Football Conference (NFC) East Division with three other teams: the Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. The New York Giants have won 4 NFL Championships and 2 Super Bowl Championships. Giants Stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, hosts all New York Giants home games.
The New York Giants joined the ranks of professional football in 1925. At that time, the addition of a profession football team in a large market like the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut brought a much needed boost to the vitality of professional football in this country. While the team struggled financially during its first 10 years, the perseverance of the Mara family through the fall of the Stock Market and the Great Depression enabled one of football’s most storied traditions to continue to grow over the next 75 years. Few other NFL teams have had as much of a storied history and tradition as the New York Giants.
In its 3rd year in the NFL, the New York Giants finished the regular season in first place with an 11-1 record. Because the NFL did not play any championship games until 1932, the New York Giants were crowned NFL Champions in 1927 as the team with the best record. During that memorable 1927 season, the New York Giants recorded shutouts in 10 of the team’s 11 victories. For 14 years, from 1933 through 1946, the New York Giants fielded one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. In 1933, the New York Giants finished 1st in the NFL East with an 11-3 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the New York Giants lost to the Chicago Bears 23-21 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. In 1934, the New York Giants once again finished 1st in the NFL East with an 8-5 record. The New York Giants exacted revenge on the Chicago Bears when the New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 30-13 in the NFL Championship Game at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The 1934 NFL Championship was the New York Giants 2nd NFL Championship. In 1935, the New York Giants finished atop the NFL east for the third consecutive season with a 9-3 record. In the NFL Championship Game, however, the New York Giants lost to the Detroit Lions 26-7. After a 2-year absence from post-season play, the New York Giants won back-to-back NFL East titles in 1938 and 1939. In each season, the New York Giants faced the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship Game. In 1938, the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers 23-17 to win the franchise’s 3rd NFL Championship. In 1939, the Green Bay Packers exacted revenge on the New York Giants when the team defeated the New York Giants 27-0 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The next three times the New York Giants advanced to the NFL Championship Game, the New York Giants lost. In 1941, the New York Giants finished 1st in the NFL East with an 8-3 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the New York Giants lost to the Chicago Bears 37-9. In 1943, the New York Giants finished 1st in the NFL East with an 8-1-1 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the New York Giants lost to the Green Bay Packers 14-7. In 1946, the New York Giants finished 1st in the NFL East with a 7-3-1 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the New York Giants lost to the Chicago Bears 24-14. From 1947 through 1955, the New York Giants qualified for post-season play only once. But in 1956, the New York Giants secured another NFL East title by finishing the NFL regular season with an 8-3-1 record. The New York Giants went on to win the NFL Championship with a 47-7 drubbing of the Chicago Bears. From 1958 through 1963, although the New York Giants enjoyed much NFL regular season success with 5 NFL East titles in 6 years, the New York Giants suffered some heart-breaking losses in 5 different NFL Championship Games. In 1958, the New York Giants finished in a tie for 1st place in the NFL East with a 9-3 record. The New York Giants defeated the Cleveland Browns 10-0 in the Divisional round of the playoffs by holding Cleveland Browns Running Back Jim Brown to only 8 total yards rushing. The following week, in the NFL Championship Game, the New York Giants lost to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 when the Baltimore Colts scored the game winning touchdown halfway into the first overtime period. This was the first NFL Championship that was decided in an overtime period. In 1959, the New York Giants finished in 1st place in the NFL East with a 10-2 record. But once again, the New York Giants lost to the Baltimore Colts 31-16 in the NFL Championship Game. In 1961, the New York Giants finished in 1st place in the NFL East with a 10-3-1 record. But then the Green Bay Packers crushed the New York Giants 37-0 in the NFL Championship Game. In 1962, the New York Giants finished in 1st place in the NFL East with a 12-2 record. But once again, the Green Bay Packers defeated the New York Giants 16-7 in the NFL Championship Game for the Green Bay Packers’ 2nd consecutive NFL Championship. In 1963, the New York Giants finished in 1st place in the NFL East with an 11-3 record. But the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants 14-10 in the NFL Championship Game, slamming the New York Giants with their 5 NFL Championship Game loss in 6 years.
The New York Giants suffered a long stretch of mediocre play from 1964 through 1980. During that 17-year stretch, the New York Giants recorded only 2 winning seasons and the team never qualified for post-season play. The New York Giants finally qualified for post-season play in 1981, but the New York Giants lost to the San Francisco 49ers 38-24 in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The excitement that surrounded the 1981 post-season appearance was short-lived, however, as the New York Giants failed to make the playoffs during the next 2 seasons. The New York Giants regained the winning tradition following the 1983 hiring of Head Coach Bill Parcells. Bill Parcells coached the New York Giants from 1983 through 1990. During Bill Parcells 8-year tenure as Head Coach, the New York Giants won the NFC East twice, advanced to post-season play 5 times and won its only 2 Super Bowl Championships in 1986 and 1990. In the 1986 Championship season, the New York Giants had one of the most balanced teams in NFL history. The New York Giants could rush the football against any team with Running Back Joe Morris and Fullback Maurice Carthon. The New York Giants also had an efficient passing attack led by Quarterback Phil Simms, reliable Tight End Mark Bavaro and consistent Wide Receivers Stacy Robinson, Bobby Johnson and Phil McConkey. On the other side of the football, the New York Giants had one of the most dominant defenses in NFL history. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor, the leader of the defense, led the NFL with 20 ½ sacks during the NFL regular season, won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award (for the 3rd time) and won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award – only the 2nd time in NFL history that a defensive player won the award typically reserved for offensive stars. In addition to Taylor, the linebacker corps of Harry Carson, Carl Banks and Gary Reason was one of the best units ever assembled on a football field. With the New York Giants sporting such team dominance on both sides of the football, the New York Giants lost only twice during the regular season, finishing first in the NFC East with a 14-2. In the Divisional round of the playoffs, the New York Giants crushed the San Francisco 49ers 49-3. Quarterback Phil Simms threw for 4 touchdown passes, Joe Morris rushed for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns and Lawrence Taylor returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown. The following week, the New York Giants continued their defensive dominance by shutting out the Washington Redskins 17-0. The New York Giants held the Washington Redskins to less than 200 yards of total offense and advanced to their first ever Super Bowl appearance. In Super Bowl XXI, the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39-20. Although the New York Giants trailed 10-9 at halftime, the New York Giants outscored the Denver Broncos 30-10 in the 2nd half to secure the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl Championship. Quarterback Phil Simms completed 88% of his passes, as he threw for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns. Based on that effort, Phil Simms won the Super Bowl MVP award.
The New York Giants suffered a Super Bowl “let down” the next 2 seasons as the team did not qualify for post-season play. But in 1989 and 1990, the New York Giants finished atop the NFC East with 12-4 and 13-3 records, respectively. Despite winning the NFC East in 1989, however, the Los Angeles Rams upset the New York Giants in the Divisional round of the playoffs with a 19-13 overtime victory in Giants Stadium. After allowing the Los Angeles Rams to tie the game at 13 with two 4th quarter field goals, Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Jim Everett connected on a 30-yard touchdown pass to Flipper Anderson with only 1 minute to play in the 1st overtime period to give the Los Angeles Rams the playoff victory. Fortunately, the New York Giants had much more success in the playoffs the following season. The New York Giants dominated NFL regular season play by only losing 3 times during the course of the season. However, the team would be without their offensive leader, Quarterback Phil Simms, who had suffered a season-ending injury. In the Divisional round of the playoffs, the New York Giants crushed the Chicago Bears 31-3 in Giants Stadium behind a stingy defense that only allowed 27 rushing yards and a solid performance by back-up Quarterback Jeff Hostetler. Hostetler threw for 2 touchdowns and rushed for another. The following week, the New York Giants had to travel to San Francisco to face the #1 seed in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers. In a defensive struggle, the San Francisco 49ers enjoyed a 13-12 late 4th quarter lead. As the San Francisco 49ers were trying to run out the clock, Running Back Roger Craig fumbled and the New York Giants Lawrence Taylor recovered the football. The fumble then set-up Matt Bahr’s game winning 42-yard field goal as time expired, giving the New York Giants their 2nd Super Bowl appearance in 5 years. In Super Bowl XXV, the New York Giants survived another nail-biter with a 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills. As time expired, Buffalo Bills Kicker Scott Norwood had a chance to give the Buffalo Bills the Super Bowl Championship with a 47-yard field goal attempt. However, Norwood’s kick sailed wide right and Bill Parcells and the New York Giants brought the franchise its second Super Bowl Championship. New York Giants Running Back Ottis Anderson rushed for over 100 yards and one touchdown and was named the Super Bowl MVP for his efforts. The Bills loss also set off a dubious streak of four consecutive Super Bowl losses from 1990 through 1993. Head Coach Bill Parcells retired from coaching after the 1990 Super Bowl Championship season. Parcells has since come back to coach in the NFL for the New England Patriots, the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys.
Following Bill Parcells’ retirement, the New York Giants endured mixed results on the football field. From 1991 through 1999, the New York Giants recorded only 3 winning seasons and only advanced to post-season play twice. In 2000, the New York Giants finished atop the NFC East with a 12-4 record. The New York Giants rode strong defensive play to another Super Bowl appearance by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 20-10 in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The New York Giants scored their only 2 touchdowns on a kickoff return by Ron Dixon and a 37-yard interception return. In the NFC Championship Game, the New York Giants crushed the Minnesota Vikings 41-0. Quarterback Kerry Collins threw for almost 400 yards passing and 5 touchdown passes. And while the New York Giants offense was firing on all cylinders, the New York Giants defense was also up to the task by limiting the Minnesota Vikings to only 114 yards of total offense and forcing 5 turnovers. The New York Giants successful playoff run came to an abrupt end when the team faced the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. The Baltimore Ravens defense dominated play, holding the New York Giants to only 152 yards of total offense and no points (the New York Giants only touchdown came on a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ron Dixon). Although the score was still only 17-7 following the Dixon touchdown return, the game was never really that close, and the Baltimore Ravens went onto win Super Bowl XXXV 34-7. Since that Super Bowl appearance, the New York Giants have advanced to the playoffs in 2002 and 2005, but both times the New York Giants lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
During the 2006-2007 NFL season, the New York Giants finished 3rd in the NFC East with an 8-8 record. Despite the mediocre .500 record, the New York Giants qualified for post-season play, but lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-20. During the 2007-2008 NFL season, the New York Giants finished 2nd in the NFC East with a 10-6 record. After starting the season with 2 straight losses, the New York Giants won 6 straight games to give new life to the team and its loyal fans. Despite going 4-4 the rest of the way, the New York Giants qualified for post-season play as the #5 seed, and proceeded to defeat all 3 of its NFC opponents on the road (Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-14; Dallas Cowboys 21-17 and Green Bay Packers 23-20) to advance to Super Bowl XLII against the undefeated New England Patriots. The New York Giants had lost to the New England Patriots 38-35 in the final game of the regular season, but the New York Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history by defeating the Patriots 17-14 in a hard-fought defensive battle. Giants Quarterback Eli Manning was named the Super Bowl MVP as he lead the New York Giants on a 12-play, 83-yard drive in the final minutes of the game, capped off with the game-winning touchdown to Plexico Burress with only 35 seconds remaining.
Hall of Famers
Ten men associated with the New York Giants have been inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame. Most notably, the NFL’s greatest linebacker, Lawrence Taylor, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1999. More recently, Lawrence Taylor’s teammate, linebacker Harry Carson, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Other notable defensive stars who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include Defensive Tackle Arnie Weinmeister (1984), Linebacker Sam Huff (1982), Defensive End Morris “Red” Badgro (1981), Defensive End Andy Robustelli (1971) and Defensive Back Emlen Tunnell (1967). Notable offensive stars who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include Halfback Frank Gifford (1977) – the future television legend who was an integral part of Monday Night Football for many years, Offensive Tackle Roosevelt Brown (1975), Halfback Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans (1978), Quarterback Benny Friedman (2005), Center Mel Hein (1963), Offensive Tackle Steve Owen (1966), Offensive Tackle Ken Strong (1967) and Quarterback Y.A. Tittle (1971). Founder and Owner Tim Mara was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1963. Tim Mara owned the New York Giants from 1925 through 1959. Tim Mara’s son, Wellington Mara, was honored as an inductee into the Hall of Fame in 1997. Wellington Mara served as an executive in the New York Giants front office from 1937 through 2005. Mara was a much-loved member of the New York Giants family and the entire NFL community sorely misses Mr. Mara following his death in 2005.