The New York Giants: An Inept Enterprise

The New York Giants have experienced nothing short of a roller coaster history. From assembling some of the greatest teams the sport has ever seen to some of the most inept moments on and off the field, the Giants are what you would call a challenged organization. Diving into the depths of this team’s failure is not a path many choose to explore. Only the bravest are qualified to perform such dirty work. Unfortunately this ride doesn’t come with seat belts and goes down one of the bumpiest paths known to man. 

The New York football Giants were bought in 1925 for $500. Initially called the Brooklyn Giants, Tim Mara bought the team from Bill Gibson after two games of play. In the first few years the Giants were in major tax trouble until 11 games into the season when 73,000 people attended a home game against the Bears. The New York Giants had the best team in football in 1927. Earl Potteiger as head coach led this team to an 11-1-1 finish with 10 shutouts and 20 total points allowed all season. After an abysmal 1928, Mara purchased the Detroit Wolverines, a team including quarterback Bennie Freedman; he led the Giants to a rebound of 13-1-1 and the title game win. (Sadly this was the end of the former third placed Wolverines. Mara decided to purchase the entirety of the team instead of simply trading for Freedman, ending football in Detroit until 1934). 

In 1930, $115,000 worth of fans came to witness the Giants beat Notre Dame into the ground. At the time, Notre Dame was supposedly one of the greatest college teams in the nation. While wanting to put their “superstars” to the test, they flat out embarrassed themselves and allowed the Giants to gain fame and  rise in the ranks of the league. The revenue from the game  went to the homeless to help with the Great Depression and is often referred to as the game that revived the sport. Through the mid 1930’s, the Giants won a championship with QB Harry Newman who set an NFL record of 973 passing yards. Mel Hein, who turned out to be one of the greatest offensive linemen in the history of the sport, left the team after one season. Additionally, ownership was transferred to the Mara brothers Jack and Wellington, ages 22 and 14 respectively. Throughout the next 14 seasons the Giants made it to the championship 8 times and only won once, losing to the Packers in a few of these championship games and ultimately wasting one of the greatest teams of their franchise. The team piled on to this disappointment by having another terrible ten years. Steve Owens, the coach for the previous 23 seasons, was fired and the Polo Grounds were abandoned. After picking up their fourth championship in 1956, beating the Bears 47-7, the Giants started the 1960’s by making 3 championship appearances. However, after losing to those darn Packers two times in a row, no titles are brought back home. 

To celebrate the team entered the “wilderness years,” a time frame that included an 18 year playoff drought, 12 losing seasons, and 4 different home stadiums. Some of the highlights from these years, 1964-1980, include a 1-12-1 record with 500 points allowed, over trading for a mediocre QB, and loss of being known as an elite team. They ended their stadium hunt in Rutherford, New Jersey. Only five years into the stadium’s existence, they have one of the most inept moments in NFL history: The Miracle at the Meadowlands. All the Giants had to do was kneel the ball to run out the clock; instead, they handed it off and fumbled, letting the Eagles score a game winning touchdown. Bob Gibson, the offensive coordinator, was fired for this brilliant showing of coaching knowledge. In replacement, George Young stepped into replacement and stumbled his way into one of the greatest coaches in history by drafting Lawrence Taylor, who would win the defensive player of the year award and defensive rookie of the year award in 1979, making Ray Perkins and Bill Parcells the offense and defensive coordinators, and acquiring Phil Simms. Simms gets his first start in 1984.although being eliminated in the divisional round, Simms put up a Giant’s record setting season of 4,000 passing yards. The following season, Simms led the team back to the playoffs and first home game at the, then called, Giants stadium. After another brilliant showing of ineptitude, they are shut out by the bears. At least it wasn’t the Packers.

 However, they turned it around in the final 5 years of the 1980’s, winning two Super 

Bowls, one with a backup who threw a total of 68 passes in his career. The decade ended with Bill Belichick leaving to coordinate in Cleveland and Bill Parcels also leaving. Ray Handley, Dan Reeves, and Jim Fassel trade coaching roles throughout the next decade. The team was run like a country club and the Giants lacked identity in the playoffs. After only 3 playoff appearances throughout the playoffs, including one Super Bowl loss, the Manning era begins. 

In 2004, Tom Coughlin traded for Eli Manning, who was initially drafted by the Chargers. Finishing 66-46 in his first six years as starter, boasting 4 playoff appearances and one Super Bowl win against the New England Patriots, it appeared the Giants had found their leader. In the 2007 postseason, Manning had 6 touchdowns throughout the playoffs and won the Super Bowl MVP. In 2011 the Giants won the Super Bowl once again against the New England Patriots. Manning, who led the team from the wildcard round all the way to the title game, threw for 9 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards, and once again won Super Bowl MVP. Don’t let these wins fool you however;  Manning became known as a “derp” in his final 6 seasons. Thrown into the fire at every turn,  his skill did not help his case and he was benched for the first time in 2017. 

Since 2011, only one playoff appearance, chalking up another embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers, a game that featured poor mechanics from all sides of the ball. 1 new quarterback in Daniel Jones who played college football at Duke, and was over-selected in the 2019 draft at 6th overall. Along with four different head coaches: Ben McAdoo, Steve Spagnola, Pat Shurmur, and Joe Judge. 

The current Giants are… lacking. No offensive identity, laughing stock of the league, and a depleted defense, have given this team a record of 23-41 in the past four seasons. 3 of these seasons were a losing record that resulted in top five draft picks. This means they were one of the lowest winning teams in the league… and it shows. At the moment, the Giants are in a world of trouble. Daniel Jones has had a lackluster showing in his first seasons, the workhorse in Saquon Barkley has been backed by the terrible talent of the offensive line, and the newly acquired Andrew Thomas hasn’t been the diamond in the rough by any means. This team is in a downward spiral and we are just bystanders in their downfall. Many insightful fans have posed the offensive line as the problem but at this point the whole team is the problem. Nothing can save this team but itself and even then they seem to get in their own way. Enjoy reminiscing in your failure for the next few decades.