New York Giants Team History and Timeline

Brian Lokker

new-york-giants-team-history-and-timeline
The Giants' grand entrance before Super Bowl XLVI, Feb. 7, 2012.SAB0TEUR, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr

The Formation of the Giants

In 1925, the 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 to the National Football League in 1922the 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 lost money financing the Brickley Giants, and he turned down the offer. He referred Carr to his friend Tim Mara instead. Although Mara knew very little about football, he accepted the offer and bought the franchise for a reported $500.

The Early Years: 19251930

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 140 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 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 a decent number of 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 before the 1929 season in order to bring Friedman to New York.

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

Best Seasons

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

Notable Games

  • Oct. 11, 1925: first game in franchise history, a 140 loss to the Providence Steam Roller
  • Nov. 1, 1925: first win in franchise history, 190 over the Cleveland Bulldogs
  • Nov. 24, 1929: only loss in an otherwise unbeaten season, 206 to the Packers
  • Dec. 14, 1930: exhibition game win 220 over a team of Notre Dame All-Stars coached by Knute Rockne, raised over $110,000 for New York's unemployed

Prominent Players

  • Doc Alexander: Center/Guard, 192527
  • Ray Flaherty: End, 192829, 193135
  • Benny Friedman: Quarterback, 192931
  • Joe Guyon: Halfback, 1927
  • Hinkey Haines: Tailback, 192528
  • Cal Hubbard: End, 192728, 1936
  • Jack McBride: Fullback, 192528, 193234
  • Hap Moran: Back, 192833
  • Mule Wilson: Fullback, 192730
new-york-giants-team-history-and-timeline
The 1934 New York Giants pose for a roster photo.Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Steve Owen Era: 19311953

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 1933with the NFL divided into two divisionsthe Giants won the Eastern Division and played in the first-ever NFL championship game. Although they lost to the Bears, they redeemed themselves the following year when they again reached the championship game, this time beating Chicago 3013. 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 2317 win over the Packers. Unfortunately, they came up short in their other trips to the championship during this period, losing to the Lions in 1935, the Packers in 1939 and 1944, and the Bears again in 1941 and 1946. The 1946 game marked the Giants' last championship appearance under Owen. Although they tied for first in their division in 1950, they lost a divisional playoff game to the 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 153 winsstill a Giants recordand two NFL championships to his credit. In 1966, he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1933: 11-3-0, lost championship game to Chicago 2321
  • 1934: 8-5-0, won championship over Chicago 3013
  • 1935: 9-3-0, lost championship game to Detroit 267
  • 1938: 8-2-1, won championship over Green Bay 2317
  • 1939: 9-1-1, lost championship game to Green Bay 270
  • 1941: 8-3-0, lost championship game to Chicago 379
  • 1943: 6-3-1, lost in divisional round to Washington 280
  • 1944: 8-1-1, lost championship game to Green Bay 147
  • 1946: 7-3-1, lost championship game to Chicago 2414
  • 1950: 10-2-0, lost in divisional round to Cleveland 83

Notable Games

  • Dec. 9, 1934: 3013 win over the Bears in the so-called "Sneakers Game" on an icy field, for the Giants' first championship in the playoff era
  • Dec. 11, 1938: 2317 win over the Packers in the NFL championship game, making the Giants the first team to win two championships in the playoff era
  • Dec. 3, 1939: final regular-season game 97 win over Washington, giving the Giants their second consecutive Eastern Division championship
  • Nov. 7, 1943: scoreless 00 game against with the Lions, the last scoreless tie in NFL history to date
  • Nov. 12, 1950: 5121 win over the Cardinals, with Gene Roberts rushing for 218 yards to set a Giants single-game record that would stand until 2005
  • Dec. 10, 1950: 97 road win over the Eagles in the final regular-season game to preserve a first-place tie and playoff berth for the Giants

Prominent Players

  • Red Badgro: End, 193035
  • Al Blozis: Tackle, 194244
  • Ward Cuff: Wingback/Quarterback, 193745
  • Ed Danowski: Quarterback, 193439, 1941
  • Mel Hein: Center, 193145
  • Arnie Herber: Quarterback, 194445
  • Tuffy Leemans: Halfback/Fullback, 193643
  • Eddie Price: Fullback, 195055
  • Ken Strong: Halfback, 193335, 1939, 194447
  • Arnie Weinmeister: Defensive Tackle, 195053

A Decade of Winning Seasons: 19541963

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 Bears 477 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 championship game between the Giants and the 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 2317. 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 seasonhe set new NFL records for touchdown passes in 1962 and again in 1963the 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 Bears 477
  • 1958: 9-3-0, lost championship game to the Colts 2317
  • 1959: 10-2-0, lost championship game to the Colts 3116
  • 1961: 10-3-1, lost championship game to the Packers 370
  • 1962: 12-2-0, lost championship game to the Packers 167
  • 1963: 11-3-0, lost championship game to the Bears 1410

Notable Games

  • Dec. 30, 1956: 477 win over the Bears for the Giant's first NFL championship since 1938
  • Dec. 28, 1958: 2317 sudden-death overtime loss to the Colts in the NFL championship game, widely considered "the Greatest Game Ever Played"
  • Nov. 20, 1960: 1710 loss to the 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
  • Oct. 28, 1962: Y.A. Tittle ties an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a 4934 win over Washington

Prominent Players

  • Rosey Brown: Offensive Tackle, 195365
  • Charlie Conerly: Quarterback, 194861
  • Frank Gifford: Halfback/Flanker, 195260, 196264
  • Sam Huff: Linebacker, 195663
  • Dick Lynch: Defensive Back, 195966
  • Andy Robustelli: Defensive End, 195664
  • Kyle Rote: End/Halfback, 195161
  • Del Shofner: Split End, 196167
  • Y.A. Tittle: Quarterback, 196164
  • Emlen Tunnell: Defensive Back/Safety, 194858
  • Alex Webster: Halfback/Fullback, 195564

Playoff Drought and Brief Resurgence: 19641982

The Giants' fortunes took a nosedive in the 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 after the 1969 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 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 seasons with double-digit losses, the Giants reached the playoffs in 1981 for the first time since 1963. With a strong offense and a much-improved defense, they beat the Eagles in a wild-card game before falling to the 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 49ers 3824

Notable Games

  • Oct. 16, 1966: come-from-behind 1310 win over Washington for what was to be the Giants' only win in a 1-12-1 season, their worst ever
  • Nov. 27, 1966: 7241 loss to Washington in the highest-scoring game in NFL history
  • Nov. 19, 1978: crushing 1917 loss to the Eagles on a bone-headed play forever afterward known to all Giants fans as "the Fumble"
  • Dec. 27, 1981: 2721 wild-card game win over the archrival Eagles for the Giants' first playoff victory since 1958

Prominent Players

  • Pete Gogolak: Kicker, 196674
  • Earnest Gray: Wide Receiver, 197984
  • Dave Jennings: Punter, 197484
  • Ron Johnson: Running Back, 197075
  • Homer Jones: Split End/Wide Receiver, 196469
  • Doug Kotar: Running Back, 197481
  • Greg Larson: Center/Guard/Tackle, 196173
  • Joe Morrison: Running Back/Flanker, 195972
  • Fran Tarkenton: Quarterback, 196771
  • Bob Tucker: Tight End, 197077
  • Brad Van Pelt: Linebacker, 197383
new-york-giants-team-history-and-timeline
A view of Super Bowl XXI ring to commemorate the Giants' 39-20 victory over the Broncos at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 25, 1987. © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bill Parcells Era: 19831990

The Bill Parcells era began in 1983 with a quarterback controversy, as Parcells chose Scott Brunner to start at quarterback over Phil Simms. Against the Eagles In Week 6, with the Giants heading for their fourth loss of the season, Parcells replaced Brunner with Simms in the third quarter, but Simms broke his thumb and was out 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.

In 1984, the Giants improved dramatically, and they reached the playoffs as a wild card in both 1984 and 1985. In both seasons, they won their wild-card game before losing in the divisional round.

In 1986, the Giants had what was arguably their best season in franchise history. Led by MVPs Lawrence Taylor on defense and Phil Simms on offense, the Giants compiled a 14-2-0 regular-season record on their way to their first Super Bowl appearance. Parcells was named AP Coach of the Year, and eight Giants were selected to the Pro Bowl.

After convincing playoff wins over San Francisco and Washington, New York beat Denver 3920 in Super Bowl XXI. It was the first NFL championship for the Giants in three decades. Simms was named the NFL 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 divisional-round game to the 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 severely injured 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 Chicago 313 in the divisional round before winning the NFC championship game 1513 over San Francisco on five field goals by Matt Bahr.

Their 2019 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV was a nail-biter, with the outcome in doubt until Buffalo's Scott Norwood missed a field goal with eight seconds left on the clock. Veteran Giants running back Ottis Anderson was named the NFL Super Bowl MVP.

Parcells resigned in May 1991, and offensive line coach Ray Handley replaced him. In his eight years at the helm, Parcells led the Giants to 77 regular-season wins and their first two Super Bowl championships.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1984: 9-7-0, lost in divisional round to the 49ers 2110
  • 1985: 10-6-0, lost in divisional round to the Bears 210
  • 1986: 14-2-0, won Super Bowl XXI over the Broncos 3920
  • 1989: 12-4-0, lost in divisional round to the Rams 1913
  • 1990: 13-3-0, won Super Bowl XXV over the Bills 2019

Notable Games

  • Dec. 23, 1984: 1613 win over the Rams in a wild-card game, for their first playoff win under Bill Parcells
  • Jan. 25, 1987: 3920 Super Bowl XXI win over the Broncos in the Giants' first Super Bowl appearance, for their first championship since 1956
  • Nov. 18, 1990: 200 shutout win over the Lions, improving the Giants' season record to 100, a franchise record for wins to start a season
  • Jan. 27, 1991: 2019 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV, in Parcells' last game as the Giants' head coach

Prominent Players

  • Ottis Anderson: Running Back, 198692
  • Carl Banks: Linebacker, 198492
  • Mark Bavaro: Tight End, 198590
  • Rob Carpenter: Running Back, 198185
  • Harry Carson: Linebacker, 197688
  • Lionel Manuel: Wide Receiver, 198490
  • Leonard Marshall: Defensive End, 198392
  • George Martin: Defensive End, 197589
  • Joe Morris: Running Back, 198288
  • Phil Simms: Quarterback, 197993
  • Lawrence Taylor: Linebacker, 198193

Seesaw Years: 19912003

The Giants slid into mediocrity under Ray Handley. The 1991 season began with another quarterback controversy, as Handley named Jeff Hostetler as the starting quarterback over Phil Simms. Hostetler started 12 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 54 but went 16 the rest of the way to finish at 6-10-0, 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 tore an Achilles tendon in Week 10 and missed the rest of the seaon.

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. Early in the offseason, Reeves chose Simms as the starting QB, and the Giants released Hostetler. Simms stayed healthy and started all 16 games. The Giants won their wild-card game at Giants Stadium over the Vikings with two touchdowns by Rodney Hampton, but they were crushed by the 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 97 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 2322 to Minnesota. 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 Collins, the Giants beat the Eagles in the divisional round and crushed the Vikings 410 to win the NFC championship. But in their third Super Bowl appearance, they lost 347 to the Ravens.

In 2001, Strahan broke the NFL single-season sack record with 22.5 sacks and was named the NFL AP 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 49ers when San Francisco 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 in December.

Playoff Seasons

  • 1993: 11-5-0, lost in divisional round to the 49ers 443
  • 1997: 10-5-1, lost wild-card game to the Vikings 2322
  • 2000: 12-4-0, lost Super Bowl XXXV to the Ravens 347
  • 2002: 10-6-0, lost wild-card game to the 49ers 3938

Notable Games

  • Jan. 9, 1994: 1710 wild-card game win over Minnesota in the Giants' first playoff game since Super Bowl XXV
  • Dec. 23, 1995: 2717 loss to the 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
  • Oct. 31, 1999: thrilling 2317 win over the Eagles on an interception in overtime, giving the Giants their third consecutive season series sweep against Philadelphia
  • Jan. 14, 2001: 410 win over the Vikings for the NFC championship

Prominent Players

  • Jessie Armstead: Linebacker, 19932001
  • Tiki Barber: Running Back, 19972006
  • Chris Calloway: Wide Receiver, 19921998
  • Kerry Collins: Quarterback, 19992003
  • Keith Hamilton: Defensive Tackle / Defensive End, 19922003
  • Rodney Hampton: Running Back, 19901997
  • Ike Hilliard: Wide Receiver, 19972004
  • Michael Strahan: Defensive End, 19932007
  • Amani Toomer: Wide Receiver, 19962008
new-york-giants-team-history-and-timeline
New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012.Mike Morbeck, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr

The Tom Coughlin Era: 20042015

In 2004, the Giants brought in Tom Coughlin as the head coach, marking the beginning of a new era for the franchise. 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 Jaguars in 1995. He led Jacksonville 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 54 after nine games. But for Game 10, Coughlin decided to switch to rookie Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in the draft, whom they had acquired in a trade with the Chargers. The Giants lost their first six games with Manning at the helm but won the season finale against the 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 2005the 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.

Tiki Barber had the greatest season by a running back in Giants history. He set a new Giants rushing record with 1,860 yards for the season. With a 220-yard performance against the Chiefs on December 17, he broke Gene Robertss single-game record of 218 yards from 1950. And his 95-yard run against the Raiders on December 31 eclipsed Hap Morans 91-yard run against the Packers in 1930. Barber was named the Sports Illustrated Player of the Year.

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

The Giants improved to 10-6-0 in 2007 and reached the playoffs again as a wild-card team. Their winning record was somewhat deceptive, as they were not particularly dominant during the season, with only a +22 point differential. But the underdog Giants ran the table in the playoffs all the way to their third Super Bowl title, beating the previously undefeated and highly favored Patriots. Three of the four teams that the Giants beat in the playoffs had beaten the Giants in the regular season: the Patriots, the Cowboys (twice), and the 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 35 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 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 Falcons, Packers, and 49ers to reach Super Bowl XLVI. Once again, they faced off against New England. 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. Once again, the Giants came through. Manning put together a late touchdown drive to put the Giants ahead with 57 seconds left. The Giants had their fourth Super Bowl Championship in five tries, and Manning had his second Super Bowl MVP trophy.

The Giants had a 9-7-0 record in 2012 but missed the playoffs. After they finished with losing records in 20132015, Coughlin resigned. His 12 years as Giants head coach and his 102 regular-season wins were the second-most in franchise history after Steve Owen.

Playoff Seasons

  • 2005: 11-5-0, lost wild-card game to the Panthers 230
  • 2006: 8-8-0, lost wild-card game to the Eagles 2320
  • 2007: 10-6-0, won Super Bowl XLII over the Patriots 1714
  • 2008: 12-4-0, lost in divisional round to the Eagles 2311
  • 2011: 9-7-0, won Super Bowl XLVI over the Patriots 2117

Notable Games

  • Jan. 2, 2005: Eli Manning's first career win, a come-from-behind 2824 thriller over the Cowboys as Manning engineered a touchdown drive in the last two minutes
  • Dec. 17, 2005: 2717 win over the Chiefs, with Tiki Barber setting a new Giants single-game rushing record with 220 yards, eclipsing Gene Roberts's record set in 1950
  • Feb. 3, 2008: thrilling 1714 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII to ruin New England's perfect 160 season
  • Dec. 19, 2010: heartbreaking 3831 loss to the Eagles on a 65-yard punt return by Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson as time ran outremembered, especially to Eagles fans, as "the Miracle at the New Meadowlands"
  • Feb. 5, 2012: 2117 win in Super Bowl XLVI over the Patriots on a late fourth-quarter drive

Prominent Players

  • Odell Beckham Jr.: Wide Receiver, 201418
  • Ahmad Bradshaw: Running Back, 200712
  • Plaxico Burress: Wide Receiver, 200508
  • Victor Cruz: Wide Receiver, 201016
  • David Diehl: Guard/Tackle, 200313
  • Brandon Jacobs: Running Back, 200511, 2013
  • Eli Manning: Quarterback, 200419
  • Hakeem Nicks: Wide Receiver, 200913, 2015
  • Jason Pierre-Paul: Defensive End, 201017
  • Antrel Rolle: Defensive Back, 201014
  • Steve Smith: Wide Receiver, 200710
  • Chris Snee: Guard, 200413
  • Justin Tuck: Defensive End, 200513
  • Osi Umenyiora: Defensive End, 200312
new-york-giants-team-history-and-timeline
Browns vs. Giants, Aug. 2017Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via flickr

Coaching Carousel: 2016Present

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 71 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 Packers demolished the Giants 3813 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. missed the opening game due to a preseason ankle sprain and was then lost for the final 11 games after fracturing the same ankle in Week 5. In Week 13, with the Giants already disqualified from playoff contention with a 29 record, McAdoo benched Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith, breaking Manning's streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts that had begun in his rookie year. The change didn't help, as the Giants lost to the 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 Patriots, as their new head coach.

Playoff Season

2016: 11-5-0, lost wild-card game to the Packers 3813

Notable Games

Jan. 1, 2017: 1910 road win over Washington for the Giants' 11th win of the season, knocking Washington out of the playoffs

Dec. 3, 2017: 2417 loss to the Raiders, as Eli Manning is benched after 210 consecutive starts as Giants quarterback

Dec. 15, 2019: 3620 win over the Dolphins in Manning's last start before his retirement

Prominent Players

  • Saquon Barkley: Running Back, 2018Present
  • Landon Collins: Strong Safety, 201518
  • Damon Harrison: Defensive Tackle, 201618
  • Sterling Shepard: Wide Receiver, 2016Present

Giants Head Coaches

Name
Seasons
Record
Playoffs
Championships

Bob Folwell

1925

8-4-0

n/a

Doc Alexander

1926

8-4-1

n/a

Earl Potteiger

1927–1928

15-8-3

n/a

1927

Roy Andrews

1929–1930

24-5-1

n/a

Benny Friedman

1930 (co-coach)

2-0-0

n/a

Steve Owen

1930–1953

153-100-17

2–8

1934, 1938

Jim Lee Howell

1954–1960

53-27-4

2–2

1956

Allie Sherman

1961–1968

57-51-4

0–3

Alex Webster

1969–1973

29-40-1

0–0

Bill Arnsparger

1974–1976

7-28-0

0–0

John McVay

1976–1978

14-23-0

0–0

Ray Perkins

1979–1982

23-34-0

1–1

Bill Parcells

1983–1990

77-49-1

8–3

1986, 1990

Ray Handley

1991–1992

14-18-0

0–0

Dan Reeves

1993–1996

31-33-0

1–1

Jim Fassel

1997–2003

58-53-1

2–3

Tom Coughlin

2004–2015

102-90-0

8–3

2007, 2011

Ben McAdoo

2016–2017

13-15-0

0–1

Steve Spagnuolo

2017 (interim)

1-3-0

0–0

Pat Shurmur

2018–2019

9-23-0

0–0

The Giants' Home Stadiums

Polo Grounds: 19251955

  • 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: 23

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 to 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 3013 over the Bears in the famous "Sneakers Game" with a 27-point outburst in the fourth quarter. In 1938, they won another championship by beating the Packers 2317. 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: 19561973

  • Location: East 161st Street and River Avenue, Bronx, New York
  • Seating capacity: 67,337
  • Surface: Natural grass
  • Giants' regular-season record: 66-49-6
  • Giants' playoff record: 22

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 Yankees en route to their World Series Championship over the crosstown 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 Bears 477 before a 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 started the 1973 season with two games at the stadium, a win over the Oilers and a tie with the Eagles, before moving to the Yale Bowl, where they continued their losing ways.

Yale Bowl: 19731974

  • Location: Derby, Central and Yale Avenues and Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Seating capacity: 70,869
  • 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, when renovations began on Yankee Stadium after the end of the baseball season. They played five home games at the Yale Bowl in 1973 and seven in 1974. Their only win in their two years in New Haven came on November 18, 1973, when they beat the Cardinals 2413. 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 home record: 2-5-0

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 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 two professional football teams and two professional baseball teams in the same year.

The Giants continued their losing ways at Shea. Their only two home wins (as the visiting team, they beat the Jets in the season opener) came against the woeful Chargers and Saints, both of whom posted 2-12-0 records and finished last in their respective divisions.

Giants Stadium: 19762009

  • Location: 50 State Highway 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • Seating capacity: 78,741
  • Surface: AstroTurf (197699), grass (200002), FieldTurf (200309)
  • Giants' regular-season home record: 151-116-0
  • Giants' playoff record: 74

After sharing stadiums with MLB 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 rough streak immediately, though. It took them four tries to win their first game at the Meadowlands, and over the next four years, they were 14-17-0 at home and 21-41-0 overall.

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 49ers 173 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 NFC 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, the end zones and other features were converted to the Jets' green and white colors for Jets home games.

The Giants had ups and downs during the 34 seasons 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, with a 74 playoff record at home, and advanced to the Super Bowl four times, winning three of four.

MetLife Stadium: 2010present

  • Location: 50 State Highway 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • Seating capacity: 82,500
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Giants' regular-season home record: 38-42-0
  • Giants' playoff record: 10

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 make it feel like a true home for both the Giants and the Jets, the stadium features a unique design that allows easy switching between the teams' logos and lighting schemesblue for the Giants and green for the Jets.

The Giants opened NFL play in the stadium in September 2010 with a 3118 win over the Panthers. But in December, the stadium crowd witnessed one of the worst collapses in franchise history when the Giants blew a 21-point fourth-quarter lead to lose 3831 to the Eagles. Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson stunned the Giants with a 65-yard punt return as time expired to give the Eagles the win, in what became known (to all but Giants fans) as the Miracle at the New Meadowlands.

The Giants put that debacle in the rearview mirror in the following season when they won their fourth Super Bowl. Although they only went 44 at home during the regular season, they added their first (and so far, only) MetLife Stadium playoff win when they beat the 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 joined the NFL in 1925, which was the league's sixth season. The Giants are the fourth-oldest current franchise in the NFL.

Only two of the leagues original franchises still exist: the 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 Cardinals (who started out in Chicago in 1920 before moving to St. Louis in 1960 and then to Arizona in 1988). The Packers, the NFLs third-oldest franchise, 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.

The Giants were not unique in adopting the name of a popular baseball team. Among other NFL 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 Cardinals moved from Chicago to St. Louis in 1960, they kept their name, 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, their plan to remain the New York Giants created some controversy on both sides of the river. But despite removing the NY logo from the teams helmets (it was restored in 2000), the team name was not changed, and the franchise is still known as the New York Giants.

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

The Giants have four Super Bowl rings. They have appeared in the Super Bowl five times and won four of the five games. Their Super Bowl wins:

  • Super Bowl XXI: Jan. 25, 1987, over the Broncos 3920
  • Super Bowl XXV: Jan. 27, 1991, over the Bills 2019
  • Super Bowl XLII: Feb. 3, 2008, over the Patriots 1714
  • Super Bowl XLVI: Feb. 5, 2012, over the Patriots 2117

The Giants' only Super Bowl loss came in Super Bowl XXXV on January 28, 2001a 347 defeat at the hands of the Ravens.

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

The Giants scored 62 points against the Eagles on November 26, 1972, in a 6210 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 560 shutout of Philadelphia on October 15, 1933, in the Eagles' first-ever NFL gamean auspicious beginning to the best rivalry in the NFL.

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

  • 6210 over the Eagles at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 26, 1972
  • 560 over the Eagles at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 15, 1933
  • 5520 over the Colts on the road at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 19, 1950
  • 5524 over the Packers at Giants Stadium on Dec. 20, 1986
  • 530 over the Frankford Yellow Jackets at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 19, 1930
  • 530 over Washington at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 5, 1961
  • 5227 over the Saints at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 9, 2012
  • 5121 over the Cardinals at the Polo Grounds on Nov. 12, 1950
  • 517 over the New York Yanks at the Polo Grounds on Dec. 3, 1950
  • 5121 over Washington on the road at Griffith Stadium on Oct. 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 threw 36 TD passes to break his own NFL record from the previous season. It was the first and only time since the early 1930s that the Giants ranked first in the NFL for points scored.

The Giants have scored over 400 points in five other seasonsall 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. Three other NFL teams besides the Giants do not have a mascot: the Packers, the Jets and the Washington Football Team.

Who owns the New York Football Giants?

The Giants are currently co-owned by the Mara and Tisch families, represented by John Mara and Steve Tisch, respectively. John Mara represents the third generation of the Mara family to own and run the team. His grandfather, Tim Mara, purchased the franchise for a reported $500 in 1925. He transferred the teams ownership to his sons Jack and Wellington in 1930 in order to shield the team from 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 Preston Robert (Bob) Tisch in 1991, for the first time transferring an interest in the Giants to someone outside the Mara family.

Wellington Mara died in October 2005, and Bob Tisch died three weeks later. Wellington Maras son John now serves as president and chief executive officer of the Giants, while Bob Tischs son Steve is the chairman and executive vice president. Several other family members are also active in the management of the team.

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