New York Giants Team History and Timeline

Updated on April 2, 2020
New York Giants grand entrance before Super Bowl XLVI, February 7, 2012.
New York Giants grand entrance before Super Bowl XLVI, February 7, 2012. | Source

The Formation of the New York Giants

In 1925, the National Football League (NFL) wanted to add a New York City franchise to the league to draw more fans. At the time, college football was still more popular than the professional game.

Although the league had begun play in 1920 (as the American Professional Football Association (APFA), changing its name in 1922), the nation's largest city did not have a team. A team known as the New York Brickley Giants played two games in the APFA in 1921, but it quickly folded.

NFL President Joseph Carr offered a franchise to New York boxing promoter Billy Gibson. But Gibson had financed the Brickley Giants and lost a lot of money. He turned down the offer, but he referred Carr to his friend Tim Mara. Although Mara knew very little about football, he accepted the offer and bought the franchise for $500.

The Early Years: 1925–1930

The Giants began the 1925 season with two losses on the road. They also lost their first home game at the Polo Grounds on October 18, falling 14-0 to the Frankford Yellow Jackets. But they followed that up with seven straight wins, all at home, and finished the season with a record of 8-4-0. Despite the Giants' good play, attendance was fairly poor for most of the season until the Chicago Bears visited in December with their star Red Grange and drew a large crowd.

The Giants posted an 11-1-1 record in 1927 and won their first NFL Championship. Although the Giants were drawing more fans, Mara wanted to find a star of the magnitude of Red Grange. He tried to make a deal for star quarterback Benny Friedman of the Detroit Wolverines but was unsuccessful. His solution was to buy the entire Wolverines franchise in 1929 in order to bring Friedman to New York.

The Giants had 13-win seasons in both 1929 and 1930, but their second-place finishes weren't enough for a championship in that era before playoff games.

Best Seasons

  • 1927: 11-1-1, won championship with the best record in the league
  • 1929: 13-1-1, finished second
  • 1930: 13-4-0, finished second

Notable Games

  • October 11, 1925: first game in franchise history, a 14-0 loss to the Providence Steam Roller
  • November 1, 1925: first win in franchise history, 19-0 over the Cleveland Bulldogs
  • November 24, 1929: only loss in an otherwise unbeaten season, 20-6 to the Green Bay Packers
  • December 14, 1930: exhibition game win 22-0 over a team of Notre Dame All-Stars coached by Knute Rockne, raised over $110,000 for New York's unemployed

Top Players

  • Doc Alexander: Center / Guard, 1925–1927
  • Ray Flaherty: End, 1928–1929, 1931–1935
  • Benny Friedman: Quarterback, 1929–1931
  • Joe Guyon: Halfback, 1927
  • Hinkey Haines: Tailback, 1925–1928
  • Cal Hubbard: End, 1927–1928
  • Jack McBride: Fullback, 1925–1928
  • Hap Moran: Back, 1928–1933

The 1934 New York Giants pose for a roster photo.
The 1934 New York Giants pose for a roster photo. | Source

The Steve Owen Era: 1931–1953

Late in the 1930 season, offensive tackle Steve Owen was named co-coach of the Giants along with quarterback Benny Friedman. Owen, a future Hall of Famer, became the Giants' sole head coach in 1931 and held the job for more than two decades, through the 1953 season.

The first two years were lean ones. But in 1933, with the NFL divided into two divisions, the Giants won the Eastern Division and played in the first-ever NFL Championship game. Although they lost to the Chicago Bears, they redeemed themselves the following year when they again reached the championship game and this time beat the Bears 30-13. The game, played on an icy field, was dubbed the "Sneakers Game" because the Giants players replaced their cleats with sneakers for better footing.

Beginning with the 1933 game, the Giants played in a remarkable eight championship games in the 14-year span through 1946. They won the 1938 NFL Championship with a thrilling 23-17 win over the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, they came up short in their other trips to the championship game during this period, losing to the Detroit Lions in 1935, the Green Bay Packers in 1939 and 1944, and the Bears again in 1941 and 1946. The 1946 game marked the Giants' last championship game appearance under Owen. Although they tied for first in their division in 1950, they lost a divisional playoff game to the Cleveland Browns.

In 1948, quarterback Charlie Conerly and defensive back Emlen Tunnell made their Giants debuts, followed by offensive backs Kyle Rote in 1951 and Frank Gifford in 1952 and tackle Rosey Brown in 1953. All would go on to become mainstays of the Giants' great teams that emerged in the mid-1950s, with Tunnell, Gifford and Brown ultimately heading to the Hall of Fame. But after a disappointing 3-9-0 season in 1953, Owen announced his retirement with 150 wins and two NFL Championships to his credit.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1933: 11-3-0, lost Championship game to the Chicago Bears 23-21
  • 1934: 8-5-0, won Championship over the Chicago Bears 30-13
  • 1935: 9-3-0, lost Championship game to the Detroit Lions 26-7
  • 1938: 8-2-1, won Championship over the Green Bay Packers 23-17
  • 1939: 9-1-1, lost Championship game to the Green Bay Packers 27-0
  • 1941: 8-3-0, lost Championship game to the Chicago Bears 37-9
  • 1943: 6-3-1, lost in Divisional round to the Washington Redskins 28-0
  • 1944: 8-1-1, lost Championship game to the Green Bay Packers 14-7
  • 1946: 7-3-1, lost Championship game to the Chicago Bears 24-14
  • 1950: 10-2-0, lost in Divisional round to the Cleveland Browns 8-3

Notable Games

  • December 9, 1934: 30-13 win over the Chicago Bears in the so-called "Sneakers Game" on an icy field, for the Giants' first championship in the playoff era
  • December 11, 1938: 23-17 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship game, making the Giants the first team to win two championships in the playoff era
  • December 3, 1939: final regular-season game 9-7 win over the Washington Redskins, giving the Giants their second consecutive Eastern Division Championship
  • November 7, 1943: scoreless 0-0 tie with the Detroit Lions, the only scoreless tie in NFL history
  • November 12, 1950: 51-21 win over the Chicago Cardinals, with Gene Roberts rushing for 218 yards to set a Giants single-game record that would stand until 2005
  • December 10, 1950: 9-7 road win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the final regular-season game to preserve a first-place tie and playoff berth for the Giants

Top Players

  • Red Badgro: End, 1930–1935
  • Al Blozis: Tackle, 1942–1944
  • Ward Cuff: Wingback / Quarterback, 1937–1945
  • Ed Danowski: Quarterback, 1934–1939, 1941
  • Mel Hein: Center, 1931–1945
  • Arnie Herber: Quarterback, 1944–1945
  • Tuffy Leemans: Halfback / Fullback, 1936–1944
  • Eddie Price: Fullback, 1950–1955
  • Ken Strong: Halfback, 1933–1935, 1939, 1944–1947
  • Arnie Weinmeister: Defensive Tackle, 1950–1953

A Decade of Winning Seasons: 1954–1963

In 1954, the Giants improved to 7-5-0 under new head coach Jim Lee Howell and his assistants, offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi and defensive coordinator Tom Landry, both future Hall of Famers. In 1955, the Giants added another important player to the roster in halfback Alex Webster and had another solid season at 6-5-1.

In 1956, the Giants left the Polo Grounds behind and moved to Yankee Stadium. They strengthened their defense significantly by signing rookie linebacker Sam Huff and trading for veteran defensive end Andy Robustelli, both of whom became Hall of Famers. Using a quarterback platoon of Charlie Conerly and Don Heinrich, the offense also jelled, and the Giants won their first NFL Championship since 1938, crushing the Chicago Bears 47-7 at Yankee Stadium.

The Giants continued to post winning seasons every year through 1963, and they reached the championship game five more times during that stretch. Unfortunately, they came away with a loss each time.

The thrilling 1958 game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts became known as "the Greatest Game Ever Played." With the Giants leading late in the fourth quarter, Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas led a long comeback drive that culminated in a game-tying field goal with seven seconds left. For the first time in NFL playoff history, the game went into sudden-death overtime, and the Colts beat the Giants 23-17. The game was televised to a national audience and played a big role in broadening the NFL's popularity. Six players from each team ended up in the Hall of Fame, along with five coaches and executives.

The Giants lost the championship game again in 1959 and missed the playoffs in 1960, Howell's last year as coach. Under new coach Allie Sherman and with veteran quarterback Y.A. Tittle leading the offense, the Giants put together three consecutive seasons with double-digit wins from 1961 to 1963. But despite Tittle's brilliance in the regular season—he set new NFL records for touchdown passes in 1962 and again in 1963—the Giants again came up empty in the big game. Still, it was a remarkable decade-long run of great football.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1956: 8-3-1, won Championship game over the Chicago Bears 47-7
  • 1958: 9-3-0, lost Championship game to the Baltimore Colts 23-17
  • 1959: 10-2-0, lost Championship game to the Baltimore Colts 31-16
  • 1961: 10-3-1, lost Championship game to the Green Bay Packers 37-0
  • 1962: 12-2-0, lost Championship game to the Green Bay Packers 16-7
  • 1963: 11-3-0, lost Championship game to the Chicago Bears 14-10

Notable Games

  • December 30, 1956: 47-7 win over the Chicago Bears for the Giant's first NFL Championship since 1938
  • December 28, 1958: 23-17 sudden-death overtime loss to the Baltimore Colts in the NFL Championship game, widely considered "the Greatest Game Ever Played"
  • November 20, 1960: 17-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, remembered for Chuck Bednarik's bruising tackle of Frank Gifford that sent Gifford to the hospital and kept him out of action for the entire 1961 season
  • October 28, 1962: Y.A. Tittle ties an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a 49-34 win over the Washington Redskins

Top Players

  • Rosey Brown: Offensive Tackle, 1953–1965
  • Charlie Conerly: Quarterback, 1948–1961
  • Frank Gifford: Halfback / Flanker, 1952–1960, 1962–1964
  • Sam Huff: Linebacker, 1956–1963
  • Dick Lynch: Defensive Back, 1958–1966
  • Andy Robustelli: Defensive End, 1956–1964
  • Kyle Rote: End / Halfback, 1951–1961
  • Del Shofner: Split End, 1961–1967
  • Y.A. Tittle: Quarterback, 1961–1964
  • Emlen Tunnell: Defensive Back / Safety, 1948–1958
  • Alex Webster: Halfback / Fullback, 1955–1964

Playoff Drought and Brief Resurgence: 1964–1982

The Giants' fortunes took a nosedive in 1964 season, as they finished in last place with a record of 2-10-0. They climbed back to .500 the following year, but in 1966, the defense gave up 501 points, and they tumbled to a record of 1-12-1, the worst record in Giants' history, before or since.

The Giants acquired veteran quarterback Fran Tarkenton from the Minnesota Vikings before the 1967 season. Tarkenton, a future Hall of Famer, was selected to the Pro Bowl in the first four of his five seasons with the Giants, but the team could finish no better than second in its division. Allie Sherman was fired as head coach in the 1968 preseason and replaced by Alex Webster, but Webster wasn't the answer, as the Giants finished two seasons with double-digit losses during his five-year tenure.

Bill Arnsparger took over as head coach in the 1974 season, but the team didn't improve. The Giants finished at 2-12-0 in 1974 and 5-9-0 in 1975. In 1976, they moved into the new state-of-the-art Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands, but the move didn't result in better football. The Giants lost the first seven games of the season before Arnsparger was replaced by John McVay. Under McVay, they managed to win three of the remaining seven games, but they found themselves in last place again in 1977 and 1978.

A November loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on a last-minute fumble by quarterback Joe Pisarcik was an especially low point of the 1978 season. Known around the NFL as "the Miracle at the Meadowlands," to Giants fans it is just remembered as "the Fumble."

In 1979, the Giants began making moves that would turn the franchise around. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle persuaded the Giants to hire their first general manager, George Young. Young hired no-nonsense coach Ray Perkins, who in turn hired talented assistants including Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. In Young's first NFL Draft, he chose quarterback Phil Simms in the first round. Two years later, Young drafted linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Both Simms and Taylor would become stars who defined the next era of Giants football.

The on-field results for the Giants did not immediately improve under Perkins in 1979, but the draft choices and other moves promised better football ahead. After two more seasons with double-digit losses, the Giants reached the playoffs in 1981 for the first time since 1963. With Simms leading the offense and Taylor and the "Crunch Bunch" linebackers on defense, they beat the Eagles in a Wild Card game before falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.

A players' strike reduced the 1982 season to nine games. After the season, in which the Giants finished 4-5-0, Perkins resigned to take the head coaching job at the University of Alabama.

Best Seasons

  • 1970: 9-5-0, did not make the playoffs
  • 1972: 8-6-0, did not make the playoffs
  • 1981: 9-7-0, lost in Divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers 38-24

Notable Games

  • October 16, 1966: come-from-behind 13-10 win over the Washington Redskins for what was to be the Giants' only win in a 1-12-1 season, their worst ever
  • November 27, 1966: 72-41 loss to the Washington Redskins in the highest-scoring game in NFL history
  • November 19, 1978: crushing 19-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on a bone-headed play forever afterward known to all Giants fans as "the Fumble"
  • December 27, 1981: 27-21 Wild Card game win over the archrival Philadelphia Eagles for the Giants' first playoff victory since 1958

Top Players

  • Pete Gogolak: Kicker, 1966–1974
  • Earnest Gray: Wide Receiver, 1979–1984
  • Ron Johnson: Running Back, 1970–1975
  • Dave Jennings: Punter, 1974–1984
  • Homer Jones: Split End / Wide Receiver, 1964–1969
  • Doug Kotar: Running Back, 1974–1981
  • Greg Larson: Center / Guard / Tackle, 1961–1973
  • Joe Morrison: Running Back / Flanker, 1959–1972
  • Fran Tarkenton: Quarterback, 1967–1971
  • Bob Tucker: Tight End, 1970–1977
  • Brad Van Pelt: Linebacker, 1973–1983

A view of Super Bowl XXI ring to commemorate the New York Giants' 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 25, 1987.
A view of Super Bowl XXI ring to commemorate the New York Giants' 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 25, 1987. | Source

The Bill Parcells Era: 1983–1990

The Bill Parcells era began in 1983 with a quarterback controversy, as Parcells chose Scott Brunner to start at quarterback over Phil Simms. With the Giants at 2-5 at the midway point of the season, Parcells switched to Simms, but Simms suffered an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. The Giants finished with a 3-12-1 record, their worst since 1976. Two bright spots were wide receiver Earnest Gray, who had over 1,000 receiving yards, the first Giant to accomplish that in 15 years, and kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh, who set a Giants scoring record with 127 points.

The Giants improved dramatically and reached the playoffs as a Wild Card in 1984 and 1985. In both seasons, they won their Wild Card game before losing in the Divisional Round.

In 1986, the Giants had the best season in franchise history—in fact, it was one of the best seasons in NFL history. Led by NFL MVP Lawrence Taylor and the "Big Blue Wrecking Crew" defense, the Giants compiled a 14-2-0 regular-season record on their way to their first Super Bowl appearance. Parcells was named Coach of the Year and eight Giants were selected to the Pro Bowl.

After convincing playoff wins over the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins, the Giants beat the Denver Broncos 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI. It was the first NFL Championship for the Giants in three decades. Simms was named the Super Bowl MVP after completing 88% of his passes to set a Super Bowl record.

The Giants fell to 6-9-0 in 1987 but rebounded to post a 10-6-0 record in 1988, although they missed the playoffs. In 1989, they reached the playoffs with a 12-4-0 record but lost a Division round game to the Los Angeles Rams in overtime.

In 1990, the Giants almost matched their 1986 performance with a 13-3-0 regular-season record, and they reached the Super Bowl for the second time under Parcells. Simms broke his foot in the 14th game of the season, but backup Jeff Hostetler took over and led the Giants the rest of the way. They beat the Chicago Bears 31-3 in the Divisional round before winning the Conference Championship 15-13 over the San Francisco 49ers on five field goals by Matt Bahr.

Their 20-19 win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV was a nail-biter, with the outcome in doubt until the Bills' Scott Norwood missed a field goal with eight seconds left on the clock. Veteran Giants running back Ottis Anderson was named the Super Bowl MVP.

Parcells resigned after the season, and offensive line coach Ray Handley replaced him. In his eight years at the helm, Parcells led the Giants to 77 wins and their first two Super Bowl Championships.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1984: 9-7-0, lost in Divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers 21-10
  • 1985: 10-6-0, lost in Divisional round to the Chicago Bears 21-0
  • 1986: 14-2-0, won Super Bowl XXI over the Denver Broncos 39-20
  • 1989: 12-4-0, lost in Divisional round to the Los Angeles Rams 19-13
  • 1990: 13-3-0, won Super Bowl XXV over the Buffalo Bills 20-19

Notable Games

  • December 23, 1984: 16-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams in a Wild Card game, for their first playoff win in under Bill Parcells
  • January 25, 1987: 39-20 Super Bowl XXI win over the Denver Broncos in the Giants' first Super Bowl appearance, for their first championship since 1956
  • November 18, 1990: 20-0 shutout win over the Detroit Lions, improving the Giants' season record to 10-0, a franchise record for wins to start a season
  • January 27, 1991: 20-19 win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV, in Bill Parcells's last game as the Giants' head coach

Top Players

  • Ottis Anderson: Running Back, 1986–1992
  • Carl Banks: Linebacker, 1984–1992
  • Mark Bavaro: Tight End, 1985–1990
  • Rob Carpenter: Running Back, 1981–1985
  • Harry Carson: Linebacker, 1976–1988
  • Lionel Manuel: Wide Receiver, 1984–1990
  • Leonard Marshall: Defensive End, 1983–1992
  • George Martin: Defensive End, 1975–1988
  • Joe Morris: Running Back, 1982–1988
  • Phil Simms: Quarterback, 1979–1993
  • Lawrence Taylor: Linebacker, 1981–1993

Seesaw Years: 1991–2003

The Giants slid into mediocrity under Ray Handley. The 1991 season was marred by a quarterback controversy, with Handley deciding to start Jeff Hostetler over Phil Simms. Hostetler started 11 games before breaking his back, after which Simms took over for the rest of the season. The Giants finished with an 8-8-0 record. In 1992, they started the season 5-4 but went 1-6 the rest of the way, and Handley was fired after the season. In fairness to Handley, the Giants suffered a rash of injuries to key players, including both Simms and Hostetler, as well as rookie quarterbacks Kent Graham and Dave Brown. Lawrence Taylor also went down with a torn Achilles tendon.

Dan Reeves took over as the Giants' head coach in 1993 and led the Giants back to the playoffs as a Wild Card with an 11-5-0 record. Reeves released Hostetler before the season, and Simms started all 16 games at quarterback. The Giants won their Wild Card game at Giants Stadium over the Minnesota Vikings behind two touchdowns by Rodney Hampton, but they were crushed by the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.

Both Simms and Taylor retired after the 1993 season, ending careers that had bookended the Bill Parcells era. The 1994 season was streaky, with the Giants winning their first three games, then losing seven, and closing out the season with six more wins. Although their 9-7 record was respectable, it wasn't good enough to get them into the playoffs. Reeves coached for two more seasons, but the Giants had losing records in both, and they fired Reeves after the 1996 season.

Jim Fassel took over in 1997. The Giants were up and down during his seven-year tenure, with three playoff years, one .500 season, and three losing seasons. Several star players emerged for the Giants during this period, including eventual Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan, running back Tiki Barber, wide receiver Amani Toomer and quarterback Kerry Collins.

In 1997, Fassel's first year, the Giants made the playoffs with a 10-5-1 record but lost a close Wild Card game 23-22 to the Minnesota Vikings. They declined to 8-8-0 and 7-9-0 records in the next two years, but they again rebounded in the 2000 season with a record of 12-4-0. Led by Kerry Collins, the Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional round and crushed the Vikings 41-0 to win the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship. But in their third Super Bowl appearance, they lost 34-7 to the Baltimore Ravens.

In 2001, Michael Strahan broke the NFL single-season sack record with 22.5 sacks and was named Defensive Player of the Year. But the Giants were only able to muster a 7-9-0 record. The seesaw took an upswing again in 2002 as the Giants won a Wild Card berth, but they lost the Wild Card game to the San Francisco 49ers when the 49ers mounted a ferocious come-from-behind attack in the fourth quarter to win by a point.

The Giants dropped to 4-12-0 in 2003, and Fassel was fired after the season.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1993: 11-5-0, lost in Divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers 44-3
  • 1997: 10-5-1, lost Wild Card game to the Minnesota Viking 23-22
  • 2000: 12-4-0, lost Super Bowl XXXV to the Baltimore Ravens 34-7
  • 2002: 10-6-0, lost Wild Card game to the San Francisco 49ers 39-38

Notable Games

  • January 9, 1994: 17-10 Wild Card game win over the Minnesota Vikings in the Giants' first playoff game since Super Bowl XXV
  • December 23, 1995: 27-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers in the final game of the season, nicknamed the "Snowball Game" because disgruntled Giants fans threw snowballs onto the field, leading to numerous ejections and arrests
  • October 31, 1999: thrilling 23-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on an interception in overtime, giving the Giants their third consecutive season series sweep against the Philadelphia Eagles
  • January 14, 2001: 41-0 win over the Minnesota Vikings for the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship

Top Players

  • Jessie Armstead: Lineback, 1993–2003
  • Tiki Barber: Running Back, 1997–2006
  • Chris Calloway: Wide Receiver, 1992–1998
  • Kerry Collins: Quarterback, 1999–2003
  • Keith Hamilton: Defensive Tackle / Defensive End, 1992–2003
  • Rodney Hampton: Running Back, 1990–1997
  • Ike Hilliard: Wide Receiver, 1997–2004
  • Michael Strahan: Defensive End, 1993–2007
  • Amani Toomer: Wide Receiver, 1996–2008

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012.
New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012. | Source

The Tom Coughlin Era: 2004–2015

The 2004 season marked the beginning of a new era for the Giants when they brought in Tom Coughlin as the head coach. Coughlin had served as the Giants' wide receivers coach for three years under Bill Parcells before leaving to take the head coaching job at Boston College. From there he became the first head coach of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. He led the Jaguars to the playoffs in only their second season and for the next three years after that.

The Giants didn't improve much in Coughlin's first year. They began the season with veteran Kurt Warner, a future Hall of Famer, at quarterback, and were 5-4 after nine games. But Coughlin decided to switch to rookie Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in the draft, whom they had acquired in a trade with the San Diego Chargers. The Giants lost their first six games with Manning at the helm but won the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys in a foretaste of the success they would enjoy with Manning in the years to come.

The Giants reached the playoffs for four years in a row beginning in 2005—the longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances in their history. Off the field, the 2005 season was marred by the deaths of longtime Giants patriarch Wellington Mara and co-owner Bob Tisch within three weeks of each other. But on the field, the Giants exceeded expectations as they won the NFC East with an 11-5-0 record.

Running back Tiki Barber set a new Giants rushing record with 1,860 yards for the season. With a 220-yard performance against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 17, he also broke the team's single-game record of 218 yards that Gene Roberts had set in 1950.

The Giants fell to third place in the NFC East in 2006. Despite their 8-8-0 record, they qualified for a Wild Card but lost the Wild Card game to the Philadelphia Eagles. Tiki Barber retired after the season.

The Giants improved to 10-6-0 in 2007 and reached the playoffs again as a Wild Card team. Despite their winning record, they were not at all dominant during the season, with only a +22 point differential. Fans and media commentators were harshly critical of both Coughlin and Manning. But in true underdog fashion, they ran the table in the playoffs all the way to their third Super Bowl title, beating the previously undefeated and highly favored New England Patriots. Three of the four teams that the Giants beat in the playoffs had beaten the Giants in the regular season: the Patriots, the Dallas Cowboys (twice), and the Green Bay Packers.

The Super Bowl game itself was a classic. After the Patriots went ahead late in the fourth quarter, Manning led the Giants down the field for a touchdown with 39 seconds left for the win. Manning was named the Super Bowl MVP.

In 2008, the Giants improved on their 2007 regular-season record and captured the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. But they ran out of gas towards the end of the season, losing three of their last four games and then losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional round.

The Giants missed the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, but in 2011 they won the NFC East again and had another successful playoff run, beating the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers to reach Super Bowl XLVI. Once again, they faced off against the New England Patriots. This time, the challenge was not quite as daunting as it had been four years earlier. Although the Patriots were favored, the Giants had beaten them on the road in Foxborough in November. But once again, the Giants came through. Manning put together a late touchdown drive to put the Giants ahead with a minute left. The Giants had their fourth Super Bowl Championship in five tries, and Manning had his second Super Bowl MVP trophy.

Although Coughlin remained as the Giants' head coach through the 2015 season and Manning was often brilliant, the Giants finished in the middle of the pack each year and did not qualify for the playoffs again under Coughlin. In his last three seasons, the Giants had losing records. Coughlin resigned after the 2015 season. His 12 years as Giants head coach and his 102 wins were the second-most in franchise history after Steve Owen.

Playoff Seasons

  • 2005: 11-5-0, lost Wild Card game to the Carolina Panthers 23-0
  • 2006: 8-8-0, lost Wild Card game to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-20
  • 2007: 10-6-0, won Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots 17-14
  • 2008: 12-4-0, lost in Divisional round to the Philadelphia Eagles 23-11
  • 2011: 9-7-0, won Super Bowl XLVI over the New England Patriots 21-17

Notable Games

  • January 2, 2005: Eli Manning's first career win, a come-from-behind 28-24 thriller over the Dallas Cowboys as Manning engineered a touchdown drive in the last two minutes
  • December 17, 2005: 27-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, with Tiki Barber setting a new Giants single-game rushing record with 220 yards, eclipsing Gene Roberts's record set in 1950
  • February 3, 2008: thrilling 17-14 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII to ruin the Patriots' perfect 16-0 season
  • December 19, 2010: heartbreaking 38-31 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on a 65-yard punt return by the Eagle's DeSean Jackson as time ran out—known as "the Miracle at the New Meadowlands" or to Giants' fans, "the Punt Return"
  • February 5, 2012: 21-17 win in Super Bowl XLVI over the New England Patriots on a late fourth-quarter drive

Top Players

  • Odell Beckham Jr.: Wide Receiver, 2014–2018
  • Ahmad Bradshaw: Running Back, 2007–2012
  • Plaxico Burress: Wide Receiver, 2005–2008
  • Victor Cruz: Wide Receiver, 2010–2016
  • David Diehl: Guard / Tackle, 2003–2013
  • Brandon Jacobs: Running Back, 2005–2011, 2013
  • Eli Manning: Quarterback, 2004–2019
  • Hakeem Nicks: Wide Receiver, 2009–2013, 2015
  • Jason Pierre-Paul: Defensive End, 2010–2017
  • Antrel Rolle: Defensive Back, 2010–2014
  • Steve Smith: Wide Receiver, 2007–2010
  • Chris Snee: Guard, 2003–2013
  • Justin Tuck: Defensive End, 2005–2013
  • Osi Umenyiora: Defensive End, 2003–2007, 2009–2012

Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, August 2017.
Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, August 2017. | Source

Coaching Carousel: 2016–Present

The Giants entered the 2016 season with Ben McAdoo, their former offensive coordinator, as their new head coach. The coaching change paid dividends in McAdoo's first season. The Giants went 11-5-0, with a 7-1 record at home, their best in MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010. Unfortunately, the McAdoo magic failed to carry over into the playoffs, as the Green Bay Packers demolished them 38-13 in the Wild Card game.

Things started to go downhill fast in 2017, as the Giants lost their first five games of the season. Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was out with a fractured fibula. In Week 13 of the season, with the Giants already disqualified from playoff contention with a 2-9 record, McAdoo decided to bench Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith, breaking Manning's streak of 210 consecutive starts, the longest in the NFL at the time. The change didn't help, as the Giants lost to the Oakland Raiders. In response, the Giants fired both McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. Steve Spagnuolo took over as the interim coach for the rest of the season. The team finished with a record of 3-13-0, equaling the lowest win total since 1983.

Under new coach Pat Shurmur, the Giants didn't fare much better in 2018 or 2019, posting records of 5-11-0 and 4-12-0, respectively. Although running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants' 2018 first-round draft pick, contributed two 1,000-yard-plus seasons, it wasn't enough. In the 2019 draft, the Giants drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones in the first round, and Shurmur named him the starter for the Giants' third game of the season. After Jones suffered an injury late in the season, Manning started two games, but after the season, he announced his retirement after 16 seasons with the Giants.

The Giants fired Shurmur after the season. In January 2020, they announced the hiring of Joe Judge, an assistant coach with the New England Patriots, as their new head coach.

Playoff Season

2016: 11-5-0, lost Wild Card game to the Green Bay Packers 38-13

Notable Games

January 1, 2017: 19-10 road win over the Washington Redskins for the Giants' 11th win of the season, knocking the Redskins out of the playoffs

December 3, 2017: 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders, as Eli Manning is benched after 210 consecutive starts as Giants quarterback

December 15, 2019: 36-20 win over the Miami Dolphins in Eli Manning's last start before his retirement

Top Players

  • Saquon Barkley: Running Back, 2018–2019
  • Landon Collins: Strong Safety, 2015–2019
  • Damon Harrison: Defensive Tackle, 2016–2018
  • Sterling Shepard: Wide Receiver, 2016–2019

Giants Head Coaches

Bob Folwell
Doc Alexander
Earl Potteiger
Roy Andrews
Benny Friedman
1930 (co-coach)
Steve Owen
1934, 1938
Jim Lee Howell
Allie Sherman
Alex Webster
Bill Arnsparger
John McVay
Ray Perkins
Bill Parcells
1986, 1990
Ray Handley
Dan Reeves
Jim Fassel
Tom Coughlin
2007, 2011
Ben McAdoo
Steve Spagnuolo
2017 (interim)
Pat Shurmur
The NFL did not begin using playoff games to determine the championship until 1933. Friedman and Owen were co-head coaches for the last two games of the 1930 season. In 1976, McVay replaced Arnsparger after the first seven games of the season.

The Giants' Home Stadiums

Polo Grounds: 1925–1955

  • Location: West 155th Street and Eighth Avenue, New York, New York
  • Seating capacity: 55,000
  • Surface: Natural grass
  • Giants' regular-season record: 132-62-11
  • Giants' playoff record: 2-3

Originally the home of the New York Giants in baseball's National League, the Polo Grounds welcomed the football Giants as a tenant in their inaugural 1925 season. Although the stadium was built for baseball, its configuration and dimensions also made it well-suited for football, and the Giants played there for three decades.

The football Giants hosted four NFL Championship games and one Eastern Division Championship game at the Polo Grounds. They won the 1934 NFL Championship 30-13 over the Chicago Bears in the famous "Sneakers Game" with a 27-point outburst in the fourth quarter. In 1938, they won another championship by beating the Green Bay Packers 23-17. The Giants' other playoff appearances in the Polo Grounds were losses: they lost the Eastern Division Championship game in 1943 and the NFL Championship games in 1944 and 1946.

Yankee Stadium: 1956–1973

  • Location: East 161st Street and River Avenue, Bronx, New York
  • Seating capacity: 67,000
  • Surface: Natural grass
  • Giants' regular-season record: 66-49-6
  • Giants' playoff record: 2-2

The Giants played their first home game at Yankee Stadium on October 21, 1956, less than two weeks after Don Larsen pitched his famous perfect game for the New York Yankees en route to their World Series Championship over the crosstown Brooklyn Dodgers.

Their first year in their new home was a great success. They went 4-1-1 at the stadium and finished first in the Eastern Division. On December 30, 1956, they routed the Chicago Bears 47-7 before a Yankee Stadium crowd of 56,836 fans for the Giants' first NFL Championship since 1938.

The Giants had five more first-place finishes in their division in the next seven years, but they failed to win another championship. In the 1964 season, their fortunes took a turn for the worse, and they began a playoff drought that would last for the rest of their Yankee Stadium tenure and beyond. They began the 1973 season with two games at the stadium, a win over the Houston Oilers and a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles, before moving to the Yale Bowl, where they continued their losing ways.

Yale Bowl: 1973–1974

  • Location: 81 Central Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Seating capacity: 70,896
  • Surface: Natural grass
  • Giants' regular-season record: 1-11-0

Opened in 1914, the Yale Bowl on the campus of Yale University was the first bowl-shaped stadium in the United States. The Giants moved their home games there in October 1973, after the end of the baseball season when Yankee Stadium's conversion to a baseball-only stadium began. They played five home games at the Yale Bowl in 1973 and seven in 1974. Their only win came on November 18, 1973, when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 24-13. It was clearly time to move on.

Shea Stadium: 1975

  • Location: 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, New York
  • Seating capacity: 60,372
  • Surface: Natural grass
  • Giants' regular-season record: 2-5

In 1975, while they awaited the completion of their new stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Giants played their home games at Shea Stadium, home of the New York Jets and baseball's New York Mets. Because Yankee Stadium was still undergoing renovations, the Yankees also played at Shea in 1975, making Shea the only venue to host four professional sports teams in the same year.

The Giants continued their losing ways at Shea. Their only two wins came against the woeful San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints, both of whom posted 2-12-0 records and finished last in their respective divisions.

Giants Stadium: 1976–2009

  • Location: 50 Route 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • Seating capacity: 80,242
  • Surface: AstroTurf (1976–1999), Grass (2000–2002), FieldTurf (2003–2009)
  • Giants' regular-season record: 155-117-0
  • Giants' playoff record: 7-4

After sharing stadiums with Major League Baseball teams for half a century (except for their two years at the Yale Bowl), the Giants finally got a true football stadium to call their own in 1976 when they moved to the newly built Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands. The move didn't end their futility immediately, though. It took them four tries to win their first game at the Meadowlands, and they continued to post losing records for several more seasons.

The Giants finally made the playoffs as a Wild Card team in the 1981 season after a 17-year drought. They won their first playoff game at the stadium in 1985, beating the San Francisco 49ers 17-3 in the Wild Card game.

In the 1986 season, the Giants won their first Super Bowl after posting a perfect record at home during the regular season, followed by two convincing wins at Giants Stadium in the Divisional Round and the Conference Championship game. When they won their second Super Bowl in the 1990 season, they had only one home loss.

Beginning with the 1984 season, the Giants again shared their stadium with the Jets, as they had done during the 1975 season when they played at Shea Stadium. Although the stadium retained the Giants Stadium name, it was decorated with the Jets' green and white colors for Jets home games.

The Giants had good and bad seasons during the 34 years in which they called Giants Stadium home, but they treated their fans to many memorable games during those years. They reached the playoffs a total of 14 times and advanced to the Super Bowl four times, winning three of four.

Aerial view of MetLife Stadium January 2014.
Aerial view of MetLife Stadium January 2014. | Source

MetLife Stadium: 2010–present

  • Location: 1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • Seating capacity: 82,550
  • Surface: Artificial turf (Act Global Speed S5)
  • Giants' regular-season record: 41-49-0
  • Giants' playoff record: 1-0

By the early 2000s, Giants Stadium was showing its age. After the Jets' plans for a new stadium in Manhattan fell through, the Giants and Jets formed a joint venture to build a new stadium in East Rutherford adjacent to Giants Stadium. The stadium was initially called New Meadowlands Stadium when it opened in 2010, but it became MetLife Stadium when the MetLife insurance company purchased the naming rights before the 2011 season. In order to accommodate both the Giants and the Jets, the stadium features a unique design that allows easy switching of the team logos and lighting schemes—blue for the Giants and green for the Jets.

The Giants opened NFL play in the stadium in September 2010 with a 31-18 win over the Carolina Panthers. But in December, the stadium crowd witnessed one of the worst collapses in the Giants' history when they blew a 21-point lead with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter to lose 38-31 to the Philadelphia Eagles. The game became widely known as "the Miracle at the New Meadowlands," but because the collapse was capped by a stunning punt return by the Eagles' DeSean Jackson with 14 seconds left, many Giants fans just remember it as "the Punt Return."

The Giants put that debacle in the rearview mirror in the following season when they won their fourth Super Bowl. Although they only went 4-4 at home during the regular season, they added their first (and so far, only) MetLife Stadium playoff win when they beat the Atlanta Falcons in the Wild Card game.

Since that championship 2011 season, the Giants have reached the playoffs only once, and they've ended their seasons with losing records more often than not. But the Giants and their fans are confident that things will turn around again and there will be many more wins for Big Blue at MetLife Stadium.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Giants one of the original NFL teams?

No. The Giants are the fourth-oldest franchise in the NFL. They joined the league in 1925, which was its sixth season.

The two original franchises that still exist are the Chicago Bears (known as the Decatur Staleys in 1920 before moving to Chicago in 1921 and changing their name to the Bears in 1922) and the Chicago Cardinals (who moved to St. Louis in 1960 and to Arizona in 1988). The Green Bay Packers joined the league in 1921.

Four other teams joined the league with the Giants in 1925, but the other four all folded within the next few years.

How did the New York Giants get their name?

When Tim Mara bought the new NFL franchise for New York City in 1925, he named the team the Giants in order to capitalize on the popularity of the existing New York Giants baseball team in the National League. The football Giants also shared the baseball Giants' home stadium, the Polo Grounds in Manhattan.

This was not an entirely uncommon tactic, especially in New York. Among other teams whose names matched existing baseball teams were the New York Yankees, who played at Yankee Stadium from 1927 to 1928, and the Brooklyn Dodgers, who shared Ebbets Field with the baseball Dodgers from 1930 to 1943. When the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960, they kept the name "Cardinals" even though the baseball Cardinals had been long established in the city.

The other part of the Giants' name, of course, is the city designation "New York." When the Giants moved to Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands to the west of New York City in 1976, there was some discussion of changing the name or dropping "New York." But the name change didn't happen, and the team is still known as the New York Giants.

How many Super Bowl rings do the New York Giants have?

Four. The Giants have appeared in the Super Bowl five times, and they've won four of the five games. Their Super Bowl wins:

  • Super Bowl XXI: January 25, 1987, over the Denver Broncos 39-20
  • Super Bowl XXV: January 27, 1991, over the Buffalo Bills 20-19
  • Super Bowl XLII: February 3, 2008, over the New England Patriots 17-14
  • Super Bowl XLVI: February 5, 2012, over the New England Patriots 21-17

The Giants' only Super Bowl loss came in Super Bowl XXXV on January 28, 2001, at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 34-7.

What is the highest number of points the Giants have scored in a game?

The Giants scored 62 points against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 26, 1972, in a 62-10 win at Yankee Stadium. This was the only game in which they scored more than 60 points.

They have scored over 50 points in nine other games, including two on the road. Three of the games were shutouts, with the most lopsided margin of victory coming in a 56-0 shutout of the Eagles on October 15, 1933, in the Eagles' first-ever NFL game—an auspicious beginning to the best rivalry in the NFL.

Here's the list of all games in which the Giants scored 50-plus points:

  • 62-10 over the Philadelphia Eagles at Yankee Stadium on November 26, 1972
  • 56-0 over the Philadelphia Eagles at the Polo Grounds on October 15, 1933
  • 55-20 over the Baltimore Colts on the road at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 1950
  • 55-24 over the Green Bay Packers at Giants Stadium on December 20, 1986
  • 53-0 over the Frankford Yellow Jackets at the Polo Grounds on October 19, 1930
  • 53-0 over the Washington Redskins at Yankee Stadium on November 5, 1961
  • 52-27 over the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on December 9, 2012
  • 51-21 over the Chicago Cardinals at the Polo Grounds on November 12, 1950
  • 51-7 over the New York Yanks at the Polo Grounds on December 3, 1950
  • 51-21 over the Washington Redskins on the road at Griffith Stadium on October 10, 1954

What is the highest number of points the Giants have scored in a season?

The Giants scored 448 points in 1963, for an average of 32 points per game in the 14-game season. Y.A. Tittle set an NFL record with 36 touchdown passes. It was the first and only time since the early 1930s that the Giants ranked first in the NFL in the number of points scored.

The Giants have scored over 400 points in five other seasons, all 16-game seasons during the Eli Manning era: 429 points in 2012, 427 points in 2008, 422 points in 2005, 420 points in 2015, and 402 points in 2009.

Do the Giants have a mascot?

No. Since their formation in 1925, the Giants have never had a mascot. Four other NFL teams besides the Giants do not have a mascot: the Green Bay Packers, the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders, and the Washington Redskins.

Who owns the New York Football Giants?

The Giants are currently co-owned by John Mara and Steve Tisch.

John Mara represents the third generation of the Mara family to own and run the team. His grandfather Tim Mara purchased the franchise for $500 in 1925. He transferred ownership to his sons Jack and Wellington Mara in 1930 in a move to avoid creditors.

Jack held his 50% interest in the Giants until his death in 1965, when his son Tim, a grandson of the founder, inherited it. The younger Tim Mara sold his interest to Bob Tisch in 1991, for the first time transferring an interest in the Giants to someone outside the Mara family.

Wellington Mara died in 2005, and his son John inherited his 50% interest. Bob Tisch died three weeks after Wellington Mara, and his son Steve inherited his interest. As a result, John Mara and Steve Tisch each own 50% of the Giants.

Statistical Resources and References

Pro Football Reference: Comprehensive database of current and historical statistics, awards, and other information for NFL players, coaches, and teams, including the Giants.

New York Giants Website: The official website of the New York Football Giants. A great resource for keeping current with Giants news.


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