By: Frank Gray
NY Giants Correspondent
The New York Giants have had a rich and glorious history in the National Football League. The Giants are one of the oldest teams in the league, having been one of the original teams in the newly formed NFL.
The American Professional Football Association (APFA) was the first version of the league formed to play professional football. When the APFA changed to the NFL just two years later (1925), they added the Giants as one of the expanded franchises. The Cardinals and Bears are the only two remaining clubs from that original group.
The Giants have won 23 division titles, 4 NFC titles, 7 championships, including 3 in the super bowl era. They also can claim 27 Hall of Fame players with whom they have had some affiliation.
The team has 11 retired numbers, 5 league MVP’s, 3 Super Bowl MVP’s and countless Pro Bowl appearances by players dawning Giants blue. The only team that can boast as much in every category is the Chicago Bears due to the same reasons as the Giants, age of franchise.
There have been thousands of players that have contributed to the teams 646 franchise wins. So if I were to think that anyone could ever compose a list of the greatest players ever, that is indisputable and complete, would be irresponsible.
With so many contributors and contributions in a history as long and as full as the Giants have had, there would only be two ways to attempt it. One, by a category, or two, by a perception. I will choose the second route.
When I talk about perception, I mean it in one way: if you think of a particular player, do you think of the Giants? I will also consider how these players have not only been perceived in sport, but also how they have prolonged the legacy or reputation that is New York Giants football.
Before I get into my list, allow me to cheat a little. Because there are so many potential players for this list, I will first offer a short list of those who deserve honorable mention. In other words, those who belong on the list, but because of one reason or another, are not there. That list is comprised of 10 athletes.
I chose athletes only and not coaches or owners, for one reason. There are simply too many people involved if I were to add those roles to the lists. The names that come to mind are Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. Bill Parcells and Bill Belicick. The Mara family and all the general managers would then be subject to this listing.
Who could put Vince Lombardi on a list? Wellington Mara? I can’t. It has to be players. When a person thinks of a sports team, they almost always immediately think of a player. That is the concept behind this series.
It will be broken into seven parts. Part one, has been a brief, but important glimpse into the history of the franchise. Part two, will name those 10 players of the honorable mentioned list. Finally, parts three through seven will break down the list five players at a time.
For a team that has had so many wonderful characters and moments to hold dear and treasure, the New York Giants deserve to have a list done right. From their inception, they have thrilled fans and continue to do so. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been a fan, the Giants have offered you a moment to remember.
Whether it be the sneaker game in 1934 or the road warriors playoff run of 2007, they have warmed our hearts and our memories with triumph. This is just a small way of thanking them, though I could not truly do them justice. In the next part of this series, I will examine 10 players that are worthy of note in franchise history. I hope you will join me.
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