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Ranking the Top-5 Greatest Tight Ends in New York Giants Franchise History

These five tight ends are among the biggest difference makers in the Giants franchise history.
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Continuing with our series of all-time Giants by position, this week sees a ranking of the top five tight ends in franchise history.

Before we begin, honorable mentions to Howard Cross and Zeke Mowatt, each of them Super Bowl champions, as well as Joe Walton. Yes, that Joe Walton, the one that later became the much-maligned head coach of the Jets. He was an integral part of the Giants’ terrific offenses in the early 60s.

Now, on with the countdown:

5. Kevin Boss, 2007-10

Speaking of Super Bowl champions, the Giants’ fifth-round draft choice in 2007 out of Western Oregon made his only catch in the big game a memorable one. His 45-yard reception at the start of the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII led to Eli Manning’s touchdown pass to David Tyree. Granted, it was far from the most memorable catch Tyree made that night, but it played a huge part in their stunning upset of New England.

4. Bob Tucker, 1970-77

An undrafted free agent from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, Tucker wound up as the Giants’ starting tight end for most of the 1970s. While those years are best left forgotten, Tucker was a solid presence on the offense. In fact, his 4,376 receiving yards are still the most for a tight end in franchise history.


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3. Jeremy Shockey, 2002-07

Even though his Giants career ended on a sour note, a culmination of his frequent off-field drama, the 2002 Miami first-rounder was a force to be reckoned with in his six seasons in New York. Four of those seasons resulted in Pro Bowl appearances, and in his first year, Shockey became just the third rookie tight end in NFL history to be voted first-team All-Pro.

2. Aaron Thomas, 1962-70

This Oregon State alum was traded to the Giants from San Francisco early in the 1962 season. While not initially making his presence felt, Thomas eventually became the starting tight end, achieving his best season in 1967 when he caught nine touchdown passes and accumulated 877 receiving yards. His 35 receiving touchdowns are still a Giants tight-end record.

1. Mark Bavaro, 1985-90

Who else besides the Giants’ 1985 fourth-round choice from Notre Dame? Bavaro is the only tight end on this list to win two Super Bowls, the only one with two first-team All-Pro selections, and the only one with a 1,000-yard season. These days, we take 1,000-yard tight ends for granted. There have been at least two in each of the last seven seasons. 

When Bavaro tallied 1,001 receiving yards in 1986, it was a rare occurrence aside from the tight-end hierarchy of the 1980s: Kellen Winslow, Ozzie Newsome, and Todd Christensen. After 1986, it took eight years for another tight end to reach that mark. 

Bavaro was a favorite among both the fans and head coach Bill Parcells. In fact, a case can be made that he was Phil Simms’ best receiver in this era of Giants football. An easier case to make is that he’s the best tight end in franchise history.


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