Continuing with the history of the New York Giants today will focus on the Giants of the 1970’s, a decade to forget.
1970: The Giants stumble out of the gates losing their first three games, but the Giants would quickly right themselves and would win nine of their next ten games, and were set up with a possibility of playoff berth with a win in their final game. However, the Giants would be routed by the Los Angeles Rams 31-3 in their season finale to finish with a 9-5 record, one game out of first place in the NFC East.
1971: With Fran Tarkenton suffering through one of his worst seasons the Giants find themselves in the NFC East cellar with a 4-10 record. After the season Fran Tarkenton is dealt back to the Minnesota Vikings, where he would lead the Vikings to three Super Bowls in four years.
1972: After dropping their first two games the Giants ran off a four game wining streak to give New York fans reason to hope. However, the Giants would split their final eight games and ended up in third place with a record of 8-6.
1973: With the renovation of Yankee Stadium into a baseball only facility the Giants are forced to find a new home. Finding a permanent home was easy, as the Giants and the New Jersey town of East Rutherford agreed on the building of a state of the art stadium. However, the stadium would not be completed until 1976, and the Giants need to find a temporary home. The Giants wanted to play on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. However New Haven officials were reluctant because of the NFL’s blackout rule. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle then with help of national politicians would persuade the FCC to change the rule so that the rule was only in effect if the game was not sold out in advance. This would clear the way for the Giants to play in New Haven after playing their first two games of the season at Yankee Stadium. However, the new home would still have a negative effect as the Giants finished with a woeful 2-11-1 record.
1974: The Giants continue to struggle in their temporary home losing all seven games played at the Yale Bowl, including a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Jets in the first regular season match up, with their New York rivals. The Giants would go on to finish in last place with a woeful 2-12 record.
1975: After two horrible seasons in New Haven in which the Giants only won once in 12 tries the vagabond Giants return to New York to share Shea Stadium with the Jets for one season. Shea was also used that season by the Mets, and Yankees making it the busiest facility in sports. However, the Giants struggle with a 2-5 home record, on the way to another miserable 5-9 season.
1976: After playing their first four games on the road the Giants finally move into their new home in the Meadowlands. Located just a short drive from the Lincoln Tunnel, the state of the art Giants Stadium final gave Big Blue a place of their own. However, the failures on the field continue as the Giants lose their first nine games, along the way costing Head Coach Bill Armsberger his job. The Giants would go on to finish in last place with a woeful 3-11 record.
1977: The Giants struggles continue as they suffered their fifth consecutive losing season while finishing in last place again with a terrible 5-9 record.
1978: Before a team can turn things around it is said it must first hit rock bottom. For the Giants rock bottom finally came during a late November Game at the Meadowlands against the Philadelphia Eagles. Leading 17-13 late in the 4th Quarter all the Giants had to do to win the game was kneel on the football. However, Quarterback Joe Pisarcik for some unknown reason tries to hand the ball of to Larry Csonka. The ball hit the Csonka, (who was not excepting it) in the chest and lands on the turf where Eagles Defensive Back Herman Edwards scoops it up and returns it the distance for a winning Touchdown in a play that would forever be know as “The Miracle in the Meadowlands.” Had the Giants won the game they would have stayed alive in the Wild Card race with a 6-6 record. Instead the Giants would go on to win only one of their remaining games finishing with a 6-10 record.
1979: After 15 years without a playoff appearance, and the embarrassing “Miracle in the Meadowlands”, Giants owner Wellington Mara was desperate to get the ship righted. Mara would turn to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for advice; on the recommendation of Rozelle the Giants hire George Young to run the day-to-day operations of the team. Young, had success in a similar position with Baltimore Colts years earlier, and had been serving in the front office of the Miami Dolphins. Young, who was the first true General Manager in franchise history, began by replacing Head Coach John McVay with Ray Perkins. His next move was to find a young Quarterback to build the team around. However, when the QB he selected was not a popular choice as he used a first round draft pick on Phil Simms from tiny Morehead State. Fans at the NFL Draft soundly booed the choice as New York Headlines screamed “Phil Who?” Simms would go on to have a solid rookie season as the Giants recovered from 0-4 start to stand at 4-4 at the midpoint. However, the Giants would struggle down the stretch before finish with a 6-10 record.