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History Of The New York Giants (1980-1989)

1986 Superbowl Champs

1986 Super Bowl Champs

Continuing with Giants history, today will focus on the 1980’s a decade that introduced the world to Lawrence Taylor, Bill Parcells and a Super Bowl victory.

1980: Quarterback Phil Simms experiences a sophomore slump, and becomes “Phil Boo” to the press and fans in a season plagued by interceptions. The Giants would go on to finish with a woeful 4-12 record, which was only highlighted by a Week 10 win over the Dallas Cowboys, which probably cost their division rivals a trip to the Super Bowl.

After a season in which the Giants defense allowed 425 points, General Manager George Young set out to find defense for his team. With the second Pick overall in the NFL Draft, Young would select LInebacker Lawrence Taylor from North Carolina. LT would make an immediate impact as the Giants defense improved immensely allowing almost 200 less points, as Taylor took home both Defensive Rookie and Player of the Year honors. The Giants would play solid football as well, and stood at 8-7 going into the final week of the season with a chance to make the playoffs with a win. In the final game of the season the Giants and Cowboys would meet in a defensive struggle that went to Overtime. In OT Giants Kicker Joe Danelo would nail a game winning Field Goal to send that sent the Giants to the playoff for the first time in 18 years. In the Wild Card game against the Eagles the Giants took the field with backup Quarterback Scott Brunner. The young Giants would go on to stun the defending NFC Champions in Philadelphia 27-21. In the second Round at San Francisco the Giants would stay in the game with 49ers until late before falling 38-24 to the eventual Super Bowl Champions.

If the Giants were going to make the playoffs for a second season in a row they were going to have to do it with backup Quarterback Scott Brunner, as Phil Simms would miss the entire season with an injury leading papers to give him a new name “Phil Ouch”. The Giants would get off to a 0-2 start before a two month player’s strike interrupted the season. When the season resumed, the Giants would lose again, and would enter a Thanksgiving match up with the Lions. With the game tied lat Lawrence Taylor would return an interception 97 yards for a Touchdown. The win was the catalyst for a second straight Defensive Player of the Year for LT. It also served as a catalyst for the Giants who would go on a three game winning streak. However the Giants would go on to lose two of their final three to finish at 4-5, which left them a tiebreaker away from the postseason. Shortly after the season Giants Coach Ray Perkins resigned to take the head-coaching job at the University of Alabama.

To replace Perkins the Giants promoted Defensive Coordinator to head Coach Bill Parcells to Head Coach. However in his first season Parcells looked over matched as the Giants struggled on both sides of the ball finishing with a woeful 3-12-1 record. General Manager George Young considered firing the Parcells, but after much consideration decided to give the young coach another year.

1984: With Phil Simms regaining the starting Quarterback job and passing for 4,044 yards the Giants showed marked improvement finishing 9-7, and earning a playoff spot thanks tie-breaker. In the Wild Card Game the Giants clamped down on Running Back Eric Dickerson who set the single season rushing record, while holding the Rams to ten points. The Giants would win the game 16-10 in Los Angeles thanks in part to three Field Goals by Ali Haji-Skeeikh, who had struggled all season, but performed at his best in the season’s biggest game. In the second round the Giants found themselves in the way of another Championship run by the 49ers, and fell 21-10 in San Francisco.

The Giants improvement continues as the team finds a star in Running Back Joe Morris, who scores 21 Touchdowns. Lawrence Taylor also continues to establish himself as the most intimidating force in the game, a reputation that is amplified with the horrific injury to Redskins Quarterback Joe Theisman. The Giants make the playoffs again with a 10-6 record, and host their first home playoff game in 23 years. In the Wild Card Game the Giants defense would smother the 49ers n the first Giants playoff game played at the Meadowlands as the G-men advanced to the second Round with a 17-3 win. However, in the next round the Giants found themselves overmatched again, as the powerful Chicago Bears beat the Giants 21-0 on the way to a Super Bowl Championship.

After the harsh end to 1985 in Chicago the Giants were on a mission in 1986. However, the season would get off to a rough start as they fell in the Monday Night season opener in Dallas 31-28, as Running Back Hershel Walker made an impressive NFL debut with Cowboys. The Giants would go on to win their next five games before losing to the Seahawks in Seattle. At 5-2 the Giants stood in a three way tie for he NFC East lead entering a key Monday Night Match up with Washington Redskins at the Meadowlands, before a distracted home crowd who was keeping one eye on the New York Mets playing in Game 7 in the World Series. The Giants beat the Redskins 27-20, while the crowd chanted “Lets Go Mets.” The following week the Giants would beat the Cowboys in the Meadowlands 17-14 a loss that would send the Cowboys into a tailspin, as the Giants dfense knocked around Cowboys Quarterback Danny White. The Giants would play solid football, but found themselves behind the eight-ball late in a game in Minnesota against the Vikings. However, Phil Simms, who had struggled most of the season would come of age and set the Giants up for a dramatic Game Winning Field Goal by Raul Alegree. The Giants would face another crucial moment in a Monday Night Match up in San Francisco. The 49ers would take a 17-0 lead, but the dominant Giants would fight back thanks to the inspirational play of Tight End Mark Bavaro who dragged several 49ers defenders on his back for a key first down in the Giants 21-17 victory. The Giants would go on to finish with a 14-2, as the road comebacks proved to be key in that the Giants got Home Field through out the playoffs thanks to a tie-breaker. Lawrence Taylor would make history by winning the Defensive Player of the Year for a third time.  In addition LT would become the first defender in 15 years to win the NFL MVP. The Giants would face the 49ers in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. The game would be no contest as the Giants bruised, battered and down right embarrassed the 49ers 49-3. Not even Joe Montana was immune getting knocked unconscious by Jim Burt on a pass that was intercepted and returned for a Touchdown by Lawrence Taylor.  The Giants would go on to face the Redskins in the NFC Championship Game played in a frigid windy Giants Stadium. A sold-out crowd would watch frozen to their seats as the Big Blue Wrecking Crew smothered the Redskins 17-0 along the way giving another Quarterback Jay Schroeder a concussion.

Super Bowl XXI:
Pasadena, CA might as well been East Rutherford, NJ as Giants fans filled the Rose Bowl for Super Bowl XXI. The Giants were big favorites over the Denver Broncos, but went into halftime trailing 10-9. However, the Giants would come storming out in the second half and would score 24 unanswered points to crush the Broncos hopes. Phil Simms who completed his journey from “Phil Who”, to “Phil Boo” to “Phil Ouch”, was now “Phil Hero” was named MVP by a record 88% of his passes. The turning point would come on a fake punt, as back Quarterback Jeff Rutledge got a key first down on the go ahead scoring drive. With the game settled at 39-20 only one mystery remained when would Bill Parcells get his Gatorade Bath? Throughout the season Giants Defensive End Harry Carson would dunk Parcells after each win was in hand, at first Parcells was less than amused, but after the Giants got on a roll it would become a ritual. As time winded down Carson, who suffered through some of the Giants darkest years, disguised himself in a security jacket snuck up behind Parcells and splashed the Giants coach to officially seal the victory.

Coming off the Super Bowl the Giants lost a much-hyped Monday Night Season opener in Chicago to the Bears. A week later the Giants would lose a heartbreaker to the Cowboys at the Meadowlands, which put the Giants at 0-2, when the Player’s Strike began. After a week off the NFL resumed play with replacement players. The Giants would field one of the worst replacement teams going 0-3, and dooming their playoff hopes at 0-5 when the regular players returned from the picket lines. The regulars would play solid football down the stretch winning six of ten games, but with a disappointing 6-9 record the playoff were well out of reach, as the Giants went form the Super Bowl to last place.

The Giants get off to a 2-2 start as Lawrence Taylor sat out the first four games on a drug suspension. When LT returned the Giants would catch fire, and would enter a season finale against the New York Jets with a 10-5 record, needing a win for the NFC East Title. However, the Jets would stun their landlords with a 27-21 win that not only knocked the Giants out of firs, but completely out of the playoffs.

The Giants reclaim the NFC East title with an impressive 12-4 record that was good enough t get the Giants the number two seed in the NFC Playoffs. However, the Giants would fall in divisional Round to the Los Angeles Rams 19-13, on a long Jim Everett to Flipper Anderson pass in Overtime, before a stunned crowd at Giants Stadium.

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2 Responses to “History Of The New York Giants (1980-1989)”

  1. […] from:History Of The New York Giants (1980-1989) » Giants Gab Connect and […]

  2. […] Dawson Devitt (D3) wrote a very interesting post today.   Here’s a quick excerpt:caption id=”attachment_3550″ align=”aligncenter” width=”375″ caption=”1986 Super Bowl Champs”][/caption] Continuing with Giants history, today will focus on the 1980’s a decade that introduced the world to Lawrence Taylor, Bill Parcells … […]

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