Remembering the Big Blue Wrecking Crew!
It was way back in 1925 when the New York Giants were one of just five teams that joined the NFL. The Giants have a tremendous history in the National Football League, ranking third among all the franchises by owning seven NFL titles occurring in both the pre and post-Super Bowl eras.
We are speaking about a stellar history that features fifteen Hall of Fame players – and even more in the making. Now of course, they had to compete with the fact that the Giants was also the name of New York’s baseball team (before they headed to San Francisco), and to do this, the football team originally began as the “New York National League Football Company, Inc.” in 1929, then changed to “New York Football Giants, Inc.” in 1937.
The Giants also have the slightly silly luxury of being called by many nicknames including, Big Blue, the G-Men, and the Jints – with the latter coming from an intentionally ‘messed-up’ word that is seen all the time in the New York Post and the New York Daily News. In addition, the huge, frightening, hardened defense of the Giants were also given a nickname at one time – the Big Blue Wrecking Crew – which came about during the 1980’s – a time when no offense or quarterback could seem to get by them!
The Giants have many rivalries in the world of football, but most fans would say that the oldest is an NFC East rivalry that began way back in 1933 with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the intensity of their competition began to grow even larger when both teams became number one heroes to their fans throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Yes, the rivalry is most-likely just based on the fact that they are in the same division, but it was Sports Illustrated who ranked this rivalry among the top ten BEST NFL rivalries of all-time.
You really have to go back to see where this all began, because even the General Manager of the Giants from 1998 until 2006 can speak all about the Eagles versus Giants history. He saw – live and in person – the first NFL game ever played between these two football teams back in 1951, where he was born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania and grew up as a true Eagles fan. He will be the first one to tell you that he sincerely despised the Giants – before managing them, of course.
It was in 1960 that an Eagle cleanly blindsided a famous Giants’ running back by the name of Frank Gifford. Gifford was sent into a retirement for eighteen months due to a severe concussion from that game and the hit spawned some serious name calling which is not a surprise. I mean, let’s face it, Frank Gifford is still one of the most beloved football players in the world.
In 1978, at Giants Stadium, the home team was in the lead 17-12 with twenty seconds remaining on the clock. It was then that the offensive coordinator called for a running play when all the Giants had to do was take a knee. Unfortunately, this would be one of the dumbest calls in history. The hand-off between quarterback, Pisarcik, and Larry Csonka, ended up to be a fumble, and an Eagles’ cornerback grabbed the loose ball and returned it for a score – a winning score! To this day, this is still referred to by Eagles’ fans everywhere as “The Miracle at the Meadowlands.” Of course…Giants’ fans don’t refer to it at all.
It was in 2001, during a divisional playoff game, that the Giants defeated the Eagles 20-10, because of a kickoff return and a seriously innovative and amazing interception that has gone down in history books. This win was what sent the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV.
In the first meeting of the 2006 season, Philadelphia had the lead going into the fourth quarter, but the Giants rallied, tied, and went into overtime where the Giants took the game. And in their second meeting that year, the Eagles would get payback with an interception and return for a touchdown. The rivalry continued on. It seems that each and every season these teams meet to take it out on each other, and the games and results are always among the best games of the year!
There were many ups and downs for the Giants, but they really ‘came back’ to the top in 1979 when they drafted quarterback, Phil Simms, and then linebacker, Lawrence Taylor in 1981. Simms and Taylor became the backbone of the Giants and brought them to the playoffs for the first time since 1963.
Unfortunately, with greatness comes scandal. Early in the 1988 season, it was Lawrence Taylor who was involved in a serious media blitz regarding the use of cocaine, and was suspended for the first four games of that season. But, despite the controversy, the Giants did go on to finish the regular season, 10–6, and Taylor recorded 15.5 sacks after his return from the suspension. They flew to a 12–4 record in 1989; a 13-3 record in 1990; and even defeated the San Francisco 49ers who were attempting to win the Super Bowl for an unprecedented third straight year.
Bill Parcells was the head coach during all these fantastic years that the Giants kept getting bigger and better in the NFL. But he resigned in 1990 and was replaced by the team’s offensive coordinator, who served as coach for two extremely disappointing seasons (1991–92). These seasons saw the Giants fall off the pinnacle of their football success – going from Super Bowl champions to 6–10 records.
Former Denver Broncos’ coach, Dan Reeves, stepped in, but in the early 1990’s the seemingly unstoppable team of Simms on offense and Taylor running the defense came to an end – when they played out the last seasons of their careers. The Giants did experience a better season with Reeves in that ill-fated year of 1993, allowing Simms and Taylor to retire as members of a true playoff team.
Whether up or down – on the field with rivals or not – the Giants have experienced one of the longest histories in the sport of American football. And, perhaps, with time, there will come another Big Blue Wrecking Crew to take the rest of the NFL back down!