The Top Five Seasons by New York Giants Receivers
For a team as steeped in history as the Giants, it doesn't have a long history of spectacular receivers. At its best, Big Blue has been a pound-it-out team with a bulldozing running game and player-shattering defense.
Only recently, with Eli Manning and Kerry Collins under center, have Giants receivers started accumulating impressive statistics. But do bigger numbers mean modern-day players are better than their historical counterparts?
It is more difficult to compare modern-day NFL players with their predecessors than it is with players in other sports. That's because the NFL has changed from a game that took place almost entirely on the ground to a game where teams cannot become elite without a better-than-average quarterback.
So just because Steve Smith had more receiving yards in 2009 than Homer Jones in 1967 doesn't mean Smith had the better season. In 1967, receiving yards were harder to come by.
I scored the Giants' top five receivers by dividing their receiving yards in a season by the yards of the league leaders and multiplied by 1,000.
Admittedly, it's not a perfect system, but it is the simplest way to adjust players' numbers by era and season.
One more note: Amani Toomer, widely regarded as one of the top receivers in Giants history does not appear on this list. He had the misfortune of performing at his best during the best seasons of another all-time great: Marvin Harrison. When Toomer set what was then the Giants record of 1,343 reception yards in 2002, Marvin Harrison had 1,722. That score put him at 779, just outside the top-five.
With that, click below to see the top five single-season performances by New York Giants wide receivers, adjusted by year.
5. Del Shofner (1963)
In 1963, Del Shofner accumulated 1,181 yards for the Giants. Shofner was one of football's premier wide receivers in the late 1950s and early 1960s—he led the league in receiving yards for the Los Angeles Rams in 1958.
Shofner was also one of the better athletes in Giants history. He played basketball and baseball at Baylor University, in addition to sprinting for the track team.
These skills made him a dominant force in football until his retirement following the 1967 season.
4. Homer Jones (1967)
Homer Jones had 13 touchdowns in 1967—the most of any player on this list. In addition, his 1,209 yards that year stood as the Giants' receiving record for more than 30 years, until Amani Toomer broke it in 2002.
Although Jones is one of the top receivers in Giants history, he is most known for his creativity celebrating touchdowns. In 1965 Jones scored a touchdown and slammed the ball down in the end zone.
Thus, the spike was born.
3. Victor Cruz (2011)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
When the 2011 season began, only the biggest Giants devotee could say what position Victor Cruz played.
The Giants were recovering from losing one of their top wide receivers to free agency and were looking for somebody to step up. Would it be Mario Manningham? Hakeem Nicks? Ramses Barden?
Nobody was quite certain, but everyone was sure it would not be Victor Cruz. That is, until it became clear Cruz was stepping into the NFL's elite.
Cruz had 1,536 receiving yards this season, easily surpassing Toomer's 1,343 yards for the franchise record.
2. Tod Goodwin (1935)
In 1935, Tod Goodwin had 432 receiving yards. Unfortunately for him, Charley Malone, playing for the Boston Redskins had 433. Since then, no Giants player has come that close to leading football in receiving yards.
This was before "wide receiver" was a common term in professional football—Goodwin played end for the Giants.
1. Ray Flaherty (1932)
Fun fact: Only once has a player for the New York Giants led professional football in receiving yards—and it happened in 1932 with a whopping 350 yards by Ray Flaherty.
That total yardage is less than Jake Ballard had for this year's Giants team—by almost half. Like Goodwin, Flaherty played end for the Giants.
Flaherty was also the first player to lead professional football in receiving since the stat was tracked. Ever since, no Giants player has led the league in receiving yards.
Later in his career, Flaherty would make his mark as a Hall of Fame coach, inventing the screen pass and allowing players to accumulate receiving yards without Hail Mary throws.