Ranking The Five Greatest NY Giants In Franchise History

June 23, 2022

The NY Giants have a storied franchise history in the NFL. You might not know that if you’ve watched them for the last decade or so, but it is true. A team that has won four Super Bowls and played in a fifth. They have some of the greatest players that have graced the field of battle. We outline the top five in franchise history here.

5. Frank Gifford

1952-1960, 1962-1964

Halfback/Flanker

9,862 total combined yards

Eight Pro Bowls

Four-time All-Pro

1956 NFL Championship

1956 NFL Player Of The Year

Pro Football Hall of Fame 1977

No. 16 jersey retired in 2000

Giants ROH 2010

Frank Gifford was an All-American at the University of Southern California and was drafted by the NY Giants in the first round of the 1952 NFL Draft. He immediately made his mark. Gifford was one the most versatile players in NFL history, he made the Pro Bowl at three different positions.

He actually began his career as a defensive back and the NY Giants used him as a two-way player. It wasn’t until 1954 when a young coach named Vince Lombardi moved Gifford to the offensive side of the ball for good. Gifford would thrive as a running back and flanker for his career and continued to do it all; as he would contribute on special teams and even kick field goals and extra points.

Complete toughness was his trademark as he was forced to retire in 1960 after an infamous hit by Philadelphia Eagle legend Chuck Bednarik. He ultimately came back in 1962 to play three more seasons at yet another position, flanker, and make the Pro Bowl.

4. Mel Hein

1931-1945

Center

Four Pro Bowls

Eight-time All NFL

1934 and 1938 NFL Championships

1938 MVP

No. 7 Jersey retired in 1963

Pro Football Hall of Fame 1963 (Charter Member)

Pro Football Hall Fame All-1930’s team

Giants ROH 2010

Hein played his college ball at Washington State University. He was an All-American and without an NFL Draft, the NY Giants outbid the other teams and earned the right to have Hein play on their team. The winning bid you ask? $150 a game, for a player that would become one of the best at his position.

Hein played in an era that you most now couldn’t play in. There were no facemasks, pretty much no personal fouls and he thrived in that environment. He was as tough as he was a great blocker. He played 170 games in his 15-year career, not only as the center but Hein was an ironman playing defensive tackle as well. 60 minutes every game for 15 years. Imagine Hein blocking for Saquan Barkley?

Hein was so well respected he won the NFL MVP as a center, that will never happen again.

3. Micheal Strahan

Defensive End

1993-2007

Seven Pro Bowls

Four-time All-Pro

Super Bowl XLII

Two NFL sack titles, All-Time season leader with 22.5

2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

No. 92 jersey retired 2021

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2014

Pro Football Hall of Fame All-time 2000s team

Giants ROH 2010

Strahan was a relatively unknown prospect out of Texas Southern University. The NY Giants drafted him in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft, much to the chagrin of Giants fans. Strahan injured his foot in his rookie year and the Giants were not seeing much.

1997 all changed that, Strahan registered 14 sacks and recorded six more seasons of double-digit sacks. He became a team leader who shined in the spotlight. The NY Giants lost Super Bowl XXXV to the Baltimore Ravens, but Strahan had 1.5 sacks along with 5 tackles. His elusive title came in the Super Bowl XLII upset of the previously undefeated New England Patriots. He recorded one sack and two tackles then announced his retirement while on top.

He finished his great career as the NY Giants sack leader with 141.5 (fifth All-Time).

2. Eli Manning

Quarterback

2004-2019

57,023 yards passing

386 touchdowns

Four Pro Bowls

Super Bowl XLII and XlVI Championships

Two-time Super Bowl MVP

Co-Winner of Walter Payton Man of the Year 2016

No. 10 jersey retired in 2021

Giants ROH 2021

Manning who starred at Ole Miss was actually drafted #1 overall by the San Diego Chargers. Manning and his father made it clear early that they did not want to play in San Diego. Right after the NY Giants drafted Phillip Rivers number 4, the two teams made a trade and the Giants legend began his career.

Manning became the starter at the beginning of 2005 after relieving NFL Hall of Famer Quarterback Kurt Warner for the last seven games of 2004. Eli was the man that Giants fans loved to hate and hated to love. They could however doubt his toughness or heart, as he started 234 games, including 210 consecutively.

Manning ultimately endeared the fan base with his “aww shucks” attitude; the two Super Championships probably did not hurt. Eli led the Giants downfield 83 yards in Super Bowl XLII, he found a wide-open Plaxico Burress for a 17-yard game-winning touchdown on a throw that seemed to stay in the air forever. He made famous “The Helmet Catch” along with receiver David Tyree on a throw Tyree used his helmet to catch to keep the Giants alive.

Eli would then do it again in Super Bowl XLVI and prove he was no fluke; leading the Giants to a game-winning drive, scoring with 1:04 left. Manning hit Mario Manningham with a 38-yard pass that will go in Super Bowl history as one of its greatest throws.

Manning was awarded the MVP in both games.

1. Lawrence Taylor

Outside Linebacker

1981-1993

Super Bowl XXI and XXV champion

Ten Pro Bowls

Eight-time All Pro

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year

NFL MVP 1986

No. 56 jersey retired in 1994

Pro Football Hall of Fame 1999

Giants ROH 2010

Choosing “LT” on this list was pretty simple. Not only is he the greatest NY Giants in history there is a debate that he was the greatest football player of all time; certainly on the defensive side of the ball.

The second pick overall in the 1981 NFL Draft Taylor joined future Hall of Famer Harry Carson (who could have made the list), along with Brad Van Pelt, and Brian Kelley. The foursome was dubbed the “Crunch Bunch” but it was evident early LT would have no equal.

His rookie season in 1981 saw him win Defensive Rookie of the Year as well as his first of three Defensive Player of the Year. LT had a speed, never seen in an outside linebacker, which used to easily run around offensive lineman. In the case, he was stopped his raw strength would just overpower anyone trying to block him. The young man from the University of North Carolina was beginning to revolutionize the game of football.

LT recorded double-digit sacks in seven consecutive seasons and ended his career with 132.5 total (not including the 9.5 in 1981 when sacks were not totaled).

Taylor helped anchor some great NY Giants defenses that helped the team to their first two Super Bowls in XXI and XXV.

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