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Top 10 New York Giants in NFL History

Updated on February 14, 2015

They embraced the New York spotlight to win four Super Bowls. Today I rank the top 10 New York Giants of all time.

10. Tiki Barber

He went from being a third down back, to being the team's starter.

A second round pick in 1997, Tiki Barber made his way into the starting lineup. By 2000, he gained a reputation for his exceptional cutback running, quick feet, and running vision. He also was an adept receiver out of the backfield. In 2004, he added upper-body strength which allowed him to break more tackles and become a more powerful runner. He improved his patience as a runner and learned to deliver blows to defenders instead of being on the receiving end of them. Due to his extra strength, he had his best seasons in the latter portion of his career.

Barber retired after the 2006 season as a three time pro bowler and a 2005 All-Pro. He retired as the Giants all time leading rusher and leader in receptions.

9. Ottis Anderson

Due to playing for bad teams early in his career, people forget how talented he was.

After spending his first nine and a half seasons with the Cardinals, Ottis Anderson was traded to the Giants midway through the 1986 season. A more elusive runner with the Cardinals, OJ transformed into a power back in New York. Anderson revived his career in New York when he won the leagues comeback player of the year award in 1989 and led the Giants to a victory over the Buffalo in Super Bowl XXV. In 1990 he ran wild at the age of 34. Anderson put up 1,023 yards and led the Giants to their second Super Bowl in five years. His performance in Super Bowl XXV was unforgettable as he rumbled for 102 yards and a touchdown, and was named the game's MVP.

Anderson retired after 1992 with over 10,000 career rushing yards and 86 touchdowns. he was a two time pro bowler, two time All-Pro, and two time Super Bowl champion.

8. Mel Hein

He is still seen as one of the most dominant interior offensive linemen ever to play.

Playing both center and linebacker, Mel Hein signed with the Giants in 1931. He was so dominant in 1938, he was named the NFL MVP. Hein is the only offensive lineman in league history to ever win the award. During his 15 year career in New York, he never missed a game due to injury and helped the Giants win two NFL Championships.

Hein retired after the 1945 season as four time pro bowler, five time All-Pro, and a member of the 50th anniversary team, 75th anniversary team, and 30's all decade team. In 1963, he was a member of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame.

7. Mark Bavaro

"Rambo" was one of the most versatile tight ends ever to play.

A fourth round pick in 1985, Mark Bavaro was projected to be used as a blocking tight end. He surprised everyone with his intense playing style, blocking, and toughness as a pass catcher and quickly became one of Phil Simms favorite targets. The most well-known play of Bavaro's career occurred in a Monday Night Football game in 1986 against San Francisco when he caught a pass and ran 20 yards dragging along seven different defenders helping the Giants win the game.

Bavaro spent his final three seasons in Cleveland and Philadelphia. He was a two time pro bowler and All-Pro and helped the Giants to two Super Bowl victories.

6. Phil Simms

If he had played with any other franchise, he would have been more appreciated than he was.

A first round pick in 1979, Phil Simms gained a lot of early criticism in New York despite playing with inferior talent around him. By 1985, Simms molded into a pro bowl talent and in the next season he help the team to their first Super Bowl victory. In Super Bowl XXI, he set a game record for highest completion percentage by going 22 of 25 for 268 yards and three touchdowns with two of his three incompletions being dropped passes. After Simms was named the game's MVP, he is credited for being the first to use the phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" following a championship victory.

Simms retired after the 1993 season. He was a two time pro bowler, one time All-Pro, and two time Super Bowl champion.

5. Harry Carson

He's one of the great run stopping middle linebackers of all time.

A fourth round pick in 1976, Harry Carson was an instant impact on defense. He lead the team in tackles for five seasons, and also served as their captain for ten. Carson was at his best of the goal line, rarely allowing teams to score on him in the red zone and forced teams to settle for field goals. He was one of the first practitioners of the "Gatorade shower," dunking head coach Bill Parcells with Gatorade when the team won big games.

Carson retired after the 1988 season as a nine time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, and Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

4. Sam Huff

He was one of the league's first great middle linebackers.

A third round pick in 1956, Sam Huff struggled at first to fit in with the team. When defensive coordinator Tom Landry developed the 4-3 defense, Huff was put at middle linebacker because he could keep his head up and use his superb vision to see the whole field. In his rookie year, he helped the team win the NFL Championship. Huff played in five more NFL Championships with the Giants but never won any of them. He was one of the first professional football players to be featured in mainstream media.

In a very unpopular decision, Huff was traded to Washington in 1964. He retired after 1969 as a five time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, and a member of the 50's all decade team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

3. Frank Gifford

He was one of the league's most versatile players ever.

A first round pick in 1952, Frank Gifford began his career playing running back and cornerback. In 1956, he was named the league MVP and helped the Giants win the NFL Championship. After missing a year and a half due to an injury at the hands of Philadelphia linebacker Chuck Bednarik, Gifford came back in 1962 playing wide receiver and winning the comeback player of the year. During his 12 seasons in New York, he had 3,609 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns. He also had 367 receptions for 5,434 yards and 43 touchdowns. Gifford completed 29 of the 63 passes he threw for 823 yards and 14 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. The 14 touchdowns is also the most among any non-quarterback in NFL history.

Gifford retired after 1964 as a 8 time pro bowler and six time All-Pro. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

2. Michael Strahan

He was one of the most dominant pass rushing defensive ends of the 2000s.

A second round pick in 1993, Michael Strahan had a rough start to his NFL career. In 1997, he had a breakout year recording 14 sacks. In 2001, Strahan broke the NFL record for most sacks in a season with 22.5. In 2007, he passed Lawrence Taylor as the Giants all time sack leader and retired after helping the team upset the unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Strahan had 141.5 career sacks, 854 career tackles, 4 career interceptions, 24 forced fumbles and three career touchdowns in 200 games over a 15 year career.

In his 15 seasons, he was a seven time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, led the league in sacks twice, and was the 2001 NFL defensive player of the year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.


1. Lawrence Taylor

He changed the way the linebacker position was played in the NFL.

The second overall pick in 1981, Lawrence Taylor made an instant impact on the Giants defense. He is the only rookie to win the NFL defensive player of the year award as a rookie. Taylor was a disruptive force at outside linebacker, and is credited with changing the pass rushing schemes, offensive line play, and offensive formations used in the NFL. Taylor produced double-digit sacks each season from 1984-1990. In 1986, he became only the second defensive player in history to be named league MVP and the only defensive player to be named the award unanimously. Taylor led the team to two Super Bowl victories in five seasons.

Taylor retired after 1993 as a 10 time pro bowler and All-Pro, three time defensive player of the year, and a member of the 80's all decade team and the 75th anniversary team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

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