New York Giants History

New York Giants - Team History

New York Giants, professional football team and one of five teams in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The team plays at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and wears uniforms of blue, red, and white. The club was named after the New York Giants baseball team, which moved to San Francisco, California, in 1958.

The Giants appeared in 15 NFL Championship Games from 1927 to 1963, winning four league titles. (The Super Bowl was not played until 1967.) For 23 seasons of this time, head coach Steve Owen led the team. His clubs captured eight division crowns and two league titles. Starring on the dominant New York squads of the 1950s and early 1960s was Frank Gifford, one of football’s most versatile players.

New York also built powerful teams during the 1980s and early 1990s, winning two Super Bowls and making seven playoff appearances from 1981 to 1993. Lawrence Taylor, the dominant defensive player of these Giants, became one of the most feared linebackers in NFL history.

In 1925 New York City sports enthusiast Tim Mara paid $500 for an NFL franchise, which he named the Giants. The team played its home games at the Polo Grounds, which was also the home of the baseball Giants. Legendary halfback Jim Thorpe was recruited to join the team, which earned its first league title in 1927 under head coach Earl Potteiger. The Giants shut out 9 of 12 opponents and surrendered only 20 points during the entire season.

Steve Owen was an innovative offensive coach who also designed the platoon system, in which separate players fill offensive and defensive positions. He guided the Giants to the NFL Championship Game eight times from 1933 to 1946. The team came away with victories in 1934 over the Chicago Bears and in 1938 over the Green Bay Packers. New York fielded the league’s toughest defense five times during that period. Owen had many offensive stars as well, including end Red Badgro, center Mel Hein, and halfback Tuffy Leemans—all future Hall of Fame members. Hein, who was also a defensive lineman, earned player of the year honors in 1938. Owen left the Giants in 1953, having posted just six losing records in 23 seasons.

In 1952 the Giants chose Frank Gifford in the first round of the NFL draft. Gifford, who played as a halfback and a defensive back, was one of the NFL’s last stars to play both offense and defense. With Gifford and a new home in New York’s Yankee Stadium, another Giants dynasty was born. The team appeared in six NFL Championship Games from 1956 to 1963, collecting the league crown in 1956 before losing five title contests over the next seven years. Gifford led the team in both rushing and receiving from 1956 to 1959, earning player of the year honors in 1956. In addition to Gifford, New York produced four other future Hall of Fame members during that era: offensive tackle Rosey Grier, linebacker Sam Huff, defensive end Andy Robustelli, and defensive back Emlen Tunnell.

The passing combination of quarterback Y. A. Tittle to receiver Del Shofner keyed New York’s offense in the early 1960s. Shofner broke the 1000-yard mark in receiving yardage in 1961, 1962, and 1963, and Tittle’s 36 touchdown passes in 1963 stood as an NFL record for 21 years. (It was broken by Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins in 1984 when he threw 48 touchdown passes.)

New York failed to reach the playoffs from 1964 to 1980. During this time the Giants played in the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, and Shea Stadium in New York City before moving to Giants Stadium in 1976.

After several losing seasons in the 1970s, the Giants rebounded during the 1980s. The club reached the second round of the playoffs in 1981, 1984, and 1985. In 1987 the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl to capture their first league title in 31 years. Lawrence Taylor was named player of the year, Bill Parcells earned top coaching honors, running back Joe Morris set a team rushing record, and quarterback Phil Simms compiled his third consecutive 3000-yard passing season. New York and Parcells won their second Super Bowl four years later, defeating the Buffalo Bills. Simms won the NFC passing title, and the Giants defense held 15 of 16 regular-season opponents to 21 or fewer points. The Giants played inconsistently during the 1990s after Simms and Taylor retired and Parcells left the team. The Giants returned to prominence in 2000, posting a 12-4 regular-season record and reaching the 2001 Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

1987 Super Bowl XXI Defeated Denver Broncos, 39-20

1991 Super Bowl XXV Defeated Buffalo Bills, 20-19

2001 Super Bowl XXXV Lost to Baltimore Ravens, 34-7

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