New York Giants: Big Blue's Most Memorable Games—AFC Edition
When I say modern era, I mean beginning the year of the AFL-NFL merger of 1970, hence you won’t be seeing the “Greatest Game Ever Played” against the Colts here, or any of the league championship games against Green Bay or Chicago.
Just to show I’m impartial, I’ve listed most memorable games in the Giants’ favor, as well as defeats. This is going to be a long article, so I will only summarize with a few sentences.
SUPER BOWL XXV: “Wide right!” That’s all you have to say to bring up memories of the greatest Super Bowl ever played, or at least the one decided by the slimmest margin.
WEEK 15, 1990 SEASON: Very ironic. This game was a preview of what would be Super Bowl XXV. The Bills would emerge victorious 17-13, but more importantly ended quarterback Phil Simms’ season, making way for backup Jeff Hostetler to beat them a month later in the Super Bowl.
WEEK 3, 1990 SEASON: These teams now only play each other every four years, so some of the choices may not seem that significant. The Giants won their third straight game out of the gate, holding Hall of Famer Dan Marino to only 119 yards in a 20-3 victory.
Some of you might say the 2007 London game is the most memorable, but it really was a case of what would be the best team versus the worst team in a very boring game.
WEEK 13, 1972 SEASON: The next-to-last game of the Dolphins' perfect season featured former Giants quarterback Earl Morrall leading them to a 23-13 victory.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
SUPER BOWL XLII: Yeah, another "duh" choice. In my opinion, a greater upset than Super Bowl III.
WEEK 17, 2007 SEASON: Another ironic selection, this is the game the Patriots won to become the first 16-0 team in history. But just like the late-season loss in Buffalo, the Giants would win when it counted a month later.
NEW YORK JETS
WEEK 5, 2007 SEASON: The Giants third of what would be six wins in a row after dropping their first two games did not start out well for Big Blue. Eli Manning ended the first half with a 0.0 quarterback rating. But, the Giants rallied, much like they did all season to take the victory.
WEEK 9, 1993 SEASON: Another case where the team's lack of history brings this game to mind. Halloween, 1993, the Jets pulled off an upset over the favored G-men, 10-6, which was also the last time the Jets won in the Meadowlands rivalry.
WEEK 11 2008 SEASON: It might seem hard to believe, but this was the Giants' first ever win against the Ravens. This 30-10 drubbing raised their 2008 record to 9-1.
SUPER BOWL XXXV: Blah. Don’t even want to remember it.
WEEK 9, 1997 SEASON: Not a historical game really, but it was last game of the Giants' five-game winning streak that culminated in an unexpected NFC East title. The Giants broke up a two-point conversion attempt to earn a 29-27 win.
WEEK 16, 2004 SEASON: In a battle of No. 1 picks, Carson Palmer out-dueled Eli Manning to grab a 23-22 win for the Bengals. This was Eli’s sixth consecutive loss as a starter, but he would pick up his first win the next week against Dallas.
WEEK 14, 1994 SEASON: The Giants and Browns played many, many memorable games in the '50s and '60s but haven’t had too many since. In fact, the most interesting one is the Super Bowl that never happened between the two in 1986. That’s why the one that comes to mind, to me at least, was the 1994 match up. The Browns wound up in the playoffs, while the Giants were amid their six-game, season-ending winning streak. The Browns were favored in the game, but five turnovers enabled the Giants to escape with a 16-13 victory.
WEEK 6, 2008 SEASON: The Browns came into the season with high expectations, or as now former (thank God) Monday Night Football commentator Tony Kornheiser put it, they were “sexy.” However, they started slow in what would be a horrendous season. But, one of their few highlights was a victory over the 4-0 Giants, 35-14.
WEEK 15, 2000 SEASON: This would be the Giants' third straight win after coach Jim Fassel’s mid-season playoff guarantee. The Giants would win, 30-10, on their way to a conference championship.
WEEK 15 2004 SEASON: Another loss that showed Eli Manning’s positive progress. The Steelers, with their rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, would win 15 games that year, while Manning was still looking for his first win. He nearly got it, but Big Ben led the Steel Curtain to a 33-30 victory.
HOUSTON OILERS/ TENNESSEE TITANS
WEEK 12, 1994 SEASON: The Giants came into the Astrodome for a Monday night game with a 3-7 record having lost seven straight. Not to be outdone, the Oilers posted a 1-9 record and had lost six in a row at that point. The Giants squeaked out a 13-10 win which they built on to win their last six to finish with a 9-7 record. Interesting fact—this was Jeff Fisher’s first game as interim head coach, making him the longest tenured coach in the league today.
WEEK 12, 2006 SEASON: One of the games that brought the biggest criticism of Eli Manning. The Giants led 21-0, but managed to surrender 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to lose what was their third straight game during that stretch of the season.
WEEK 9, 2006 SEASON: These teams have only played twice, so there are not many choices here. The Texans had a chance for an upset, but faltered down the stretch as Eli Manning threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey for a 14-10 squeaker.
WEEK 12, 2002 SEASON: The Texans stunned the playoff bound Giants with a 16-14 victory. Although the Texans would finish with only four wins, two of them came against the NFC East, with their opening night win over the state rival Cowboys.
WEEK 16, 2002 SEASON: The Giants would steal the show from Marvin Harrison and his record-setting 143 receptions with a 44-27 road win. It showed that although the Colts had aces in Harrison, Peyton Manning, and Edgerrin James, they still had many defensive problems. For the Giants though, it would be a misleading display of offensive excellence, as the next time these teams would play, the Giants roster would be a little different, leading to…
WEEK 1, 2006 SEASON: For the first time in history, two brothers faced off at quarterback. Eli vs. Peyton, who would ironically be the next two Super Bowl MVPs. The Giants squandered many opportunities, but the Colts had trouble taking advantage, but were able to escape with a 26-21 win.
WEEK 17, 2000 SEASON: The Giants last-week victory over the Jaguars would come against their future head coach in a game that clinched home-field advantage for the G-Men.
WEEK 2, 1997 SEASON: Rob Johnson would fool Buffalo into giving him a huge contract the next season by leading the Jags to a 40-13 victory over the Giants in what was his only game starting for them.
SUPER BOWL XXI: The Giants earned their first Super Bowl rings with a 39-20 victory.
WEEK 1, 2001 SEASON: The only significance really is that the very next day, the September 11th attacks happened in New York. This is also the only Broncos victory over the G-Men that comes to memory. If anyone knows of a better one that the Broncos won, please let me know.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
WEEK 15, 2005 SEASON: Now-vilified running back Tiki Barber set the team’s single game rushing record with 220 yards in a 27-17 victory.
WEEK 2 1995 SEASON: The Giants solidified themselves as a lame duck team that year by blowing a 17-3 fourth quarter lead to the Steve Bono-led (whatever happened to him?) Chiefs.
WEEK 17, 2005 SEASON: The Giants clinched an unexpected division crown in the final weekend in Oakland with a 30-21 win. Barber set another record with the longest run in team history with a 95-yard touchdown (maybe he just likes playing the AFC West).
WEEK 2, 1998 SEASON: Jon Gruden earned his first victory as a head coach in an upset win in Oakland, 20-17.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
WEEK 17, 1995 SEASON: In what is now known as the snowball game, the Giants blew another lead which culminated in the fans throwing snowballs, ice and whatever they could find onto the field, injuring a few people.
WEEK 2, 1986 SEASON: The Giants won their first game of their Super Bowl season with a 20-7 victory over Air Coryell. Dan Fouts threw five interceptions, and the Giants gobbled up a total of eight turnovers.
The NFC will be posted later today.
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