Top 25 Greatest Games in New York Giants History
Having been born in the mid-'80s, I was not able to enjoy the greatest stretch run in Giants history, but I can certainly appreciate how many great games came during that period.
That said, the Giants' greatest games have come throughout their history and I've tried to come up with 25 of them.
Most of the choices came from playoff wins and championship victories—it doesn't get any better than winning championships.
If you feel I've missed one, feel free to comment.
2008 Week 16: Giants Running Game Plows over Panthers in OT Win
With the Giants down 21-10 at halftime against the Carolina Panthers, they would lean on a dominant rushing attack to bring them back.
The No. 1 seed in the NFC was at stake in this game, and the Giants came all the way back to send the game to overtime (helped by a missed FG by John Kasey).
In the overtime period Derrick Ward broke off a huge run which would eventually lead to a two-yard TD run to win the game and the No. 1 seed.
1990 Week 7 vs. Phoenix Cardinals: Jeff Hostetler Fourth-Quarter Comeback
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It's funny when you look back at history and see visible turning points during Super Bowl-winning seasons.
Week 7 against the Phoenix Cardinals was no exception.
With the Giants down 19-10 with just over five minutes to play, Jeff Hostetler led the Giants downfield for a touchdown, and when the defense came up with a stop he led the offense into field-goal range.
Matt Bahr kicked the winning field goal and the Giants preserved their undefeated (at the time) season. The kick would foreshadow Bahr's clutch nature as he would make several big kicks that season.
1933 Week 5: Giants Hammer Eagles 56-0
What's a list of the greatest games without the largest margin of victory in the team's history? Led by Hall of Famers Ken Strong and Steve Owen, the Giants manhandled the Eagles at The Polo Grounds.
The Eagles have a seven-game lead in the history of the two teams, but the Giants embarrassed the Eagles in this contest.
2007 Week 15 vs. Buffalo: Ahmad Bradshaw's 88-Yard Run Sends Giants to Playoffs
The 2007 season was most certainly an up-and-down one for the New York Giants. After having lost a potential playoff-clinching game to the Redskins the previous week at home, the Giants traveled to Buffalo with their season on the line.
With the Giants up by just three deep in their own territory, they needed to get some first downs and/or score to put the game away.
Ahmad Bradshaw had a better idea.
On the first carry of the drive with just over six minutes left, Bradshaw went 88 yards to the house, propelling the Giants into the playoffs.
We all know how that season turned out.
2005 Week 8: The Wellington Mara Memorial Game
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The Giants lost longtime owner Wellington Mara just prior to a big game against the Washington Redskins.
For the players it was a crushing blow as Mara was always known as a hands-on owner and would get to know his players at a personal level.
Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey were both very close to the Mara family, and they led the Giants to a 36-0 thrashing of their rival.
Shockey scored a touchdown, but he and the offensive linemen spent most of the day dominating the line of scrimmage, allowing Tiki Barber to rush for 206 yards on 24 carries.
After the game, Barber presented the game ball to Tim McDonnell, Mara's grandson.
2005 Week 7: Welcome to the NFL, Eli Manning
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The Broncos took a 23-10 lead early in the fourth quarter only to be thwarted by Eli and his late-game heroics that we've come to know and love.
Sure, Jason Elam missed a 49-yard field goal and the defense bailed out Eli after he threw an interception, but with 3:29 left he got the ball back down by six with a chance to win.
Young Eli led the Giants 83 yards down the field, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Amani Toomer with just five seconds remaining.
1986 Week 11 vs. Minnesota Vikings: 4th-and-17
There were many key moments for the New York Giants that led you to believe they were destined for greatness during the 1986 season.
One in particular came late in the Week 11 contest with the Minnesota Vikings.
With 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Giants faced with a 4th-and-17, Phil Simms hit Bobby Johnson for the first down. He led the Giants into field-goal range and they won the game 22-20.
1972 Week 11: The Philadelphia Manslaughter
In 1972, during a long period in which the Giants experienced several losing seasons, the team exercised their demons against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Led by Norm Snead, Ron Johnson, Bob Tucker and Don Hermann, the Giants blew out their division rival 62-10.
Johnson, Tucker and Hermann each scored a pair of touchdowns, and Snead and backup Randy Johnson combined to throw five touchdowns.
It is one of the biggest victories in Giants history in terms of point margin, though the team finished 8-6 and out of the playoffs that season.
1986 Week 4 vs. New Orleans Saints: The Mark Bavaro Jaw Game
In one of the most incredible stories you'll ever hear in sports, Mark Bavaro epitomized the meaning of toughness against the New Orleans Saints in 1986.
With the Giants down 17-0 in the second quarter, Bavaro broke his jaw and was forced to go to the locker room.
He came out with his jaw wired shut and insisted Bill Parcells put him back in the game. Bavaro would help lead the Giants to a come-from-behind win, catching seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
For the next six weeks Bavaro would be forced to eat through a straw, but only missed one game during that stretch.
1959 Playoffs: Giants Dominate Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns
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This headline is a little confusing as the Giants' team history site shows this game as a playoff win, but Pro Football Reference calls it a Week 11 game.
Either way, this game was one of the more dominating performances in Giants history. The Giants jumped out to a 48-0 lead and won the game 48-7. They allowed only 136 total yards while compiling 526 of their own. They forced five turnovers and held the Browns to just 26 net yards passing.
Unfortunately the Giants would go on to lose a second straight championship to the Baltimore Colts.
1986 Week 13 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Bavaro Carries Ronnie Lott 20 Yards
Once again a defining moment for the Giants during the 1986 regular season would come from Pro Bowl tight end Mark Bavaro.
With the Giants down 17-0 at halftime, Phil Simms hit Bavaro over the middle and would carry multiple defenders in route to around a 20-yard gain.
Among the defenders was Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott, who felt the wrath of Bavaro on that day. It would spark a Giants comeback win as they scored 21 unanswered points in the second half.
1990 NFC Championship: Hostetler, Defense Lead Giants Comeback
Over the '80s and early '90s, the Giants and 49ers developed a rivalry that had nothing to do with division affiliation, but rather having met so often in the playoffs.
The 1990 NFC Championship game is one of the best in history, with Matt Bahr kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired. It was his fifth field goal of the game.
The game was highlighted by three huge plays, the first being Jim Burt's questionable hit on Jeff Hostetler.
Burt, being an ex-Giant, really irked the defense. They made it a mission to go after Joe Montana. On one play, Leonard Marshall got payback.
In one of the most devastating hits you'll ever see, Marshall hammered Montana from behind, knocking him out of the game.
The third turning play came when Erik Howard forced a Roger Craig fumble and Lawrence Taylor recovered, which allowed Hostetler to get revenge of his own when he led the offense into field-goal range.
The rest is history.
1986 Divisional Playoffs: Giants Dominate 49ers
It's very rare to see a dominating performance like this in the playoffs, but the 1986 New York Giants made a statement by beating the 49ers 49-3 at Giants Stadium.
The Giants Big Blue Wrecking Crew lived up to their name, knocking Joe Montana out of the game in the second quarter—but not before he could throw two interceptions.
This game was the Joe Morris show, who ran all over the 49er defense for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
1927 NFL Championship Game
Photo Taken from history.giants.com
The New York Giants vanquished the entire NFL during the 1927 season, allowing only 20 points in 13 games to finish with an 11-1-1 record.
It was the club's first championship with several more to come.
They defeated the Chicago Bears 13-7 for the NFL championship. The game's biggest plays were a goal-line stand led by Steve Owen and Cal Hubbard, and a fake punt from the Giants' own end zone that would lead to the winning score.
1990 Divisional Playoffs: Giants Get Revenge on Bears
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Behind their backup quarterback and Bill Belichick's dominating defense, the Giants were able to serve the Bears a dose of revenge from their 1985 playoff loss.
Hostetler led the Giants offense like you would expect a six-year backup to do. He finished with three total touchdowns, which was more than enough as the Giants romped the Bears 31-3.
1986 NFC Championship: Giants Own Wind Bowl
The path to Super Bowl XXI went through Giants Stadium, and with the wind blowing at speeds of 40 mph, the run game would become the most important aspect.
Neither team would move the ball well, but the Giants defense put on one of the greatest performances in playoff history, shutting out the Redskins that averaged 23 points per game that year.
1938 NFL Championship Game
Steve Owen notched his second championship with the Giants in this fantastic 23-17 win over the Green Bay Packers.
Tuffy Leemans carried on the great tradition of fullbacks replacing Ken Strong and helped lead the Giants to a 9-2-1 record that year.
1934 NFL Championship Game
Photo Taken from history.giants.com
Legendary head coach Steve Owen got his first of two championships with this 30-13 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Led by Hall of Fame running back Ken Strong, the Giants exacted revenge over a team that beat them just the year before in the NFL Championship.
2007 NFC Championship Game: Ice Bowl II
In a game that I'll never forget for the rest of my life, the New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers in what many have called "Ice Bowl II."
The Road Warriors dared the cold, Plaxico Burress had one of the greatest days for a wide receiver I've ever seen and Corey Webster came up big setting up the game-winning field goal in overtime.
On his third try to win the game, Lawrence Tynes drove an improbable 48-yard field goal through the uprights amidst the snow and wind.
1956 NFL Championship Game
Head coach Jim Lee Howell and his duo of future legendary head coaches, Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, led the 1956 championship game where they put on a show of both great offense and defense.
The final score was 47-7, and the Giants used every arsenal in their offensive attack. Led by quarterback Charlie Conerly, there was no stopping this well-oiled machine.
Conerly finished 7-of-10 for 195 yards and two touchdowns (in the modern era, that's a perfect 158.3 QB rating), Hall of Famer Frank Gifford had 161 total yards and a touchdown, and Alex Webster contributed with 103 yards of his own.
It is still one of the most dominating performances in a professional football championship game.
2000 NFC Championship Game: "41 to Doughnut"
The New York Giants were dubbed one of the worst teams to ever get home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Instead of folding under pressure, the Giants decided to make their opponents in the NFC playoffs pay.
In the largest margin of defeat in NFC Championship history, the Giants hammered the Vikings 41-0. This is the same Vikings team that just two years prior was the most prolific offense in NFL history.
The Giants defense held the Vikings to 114 yards, forced five turnovers and shut down the best thing since sliced bread in Randy Moss.
Too bad for the Giants, the Ravens had an otherworldly defense and beat the Giants in the Super Bowl.
One great quote from Randy Moss came in the aftermath of his defeat. "I was just talking to Daunte, and 41-to-doughnut, I think that's the worst defeat I've ever been in my life."
Super Bowl XXV: "Wide Right!"
The Giants will be forever grateful to Scott Norwood for possibly the biggest missed field goal in NFL history.
As much as the Giants are praised for shutting down the Bills' high-flying offense and holding the NFL record for time of possession in a game, if Norwood makes the kick it's all for naught.
That said, he did miss it. Bill Belichick's defensive game plan for the Bills is enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and Ottis Anderson's MVP performance will not soon be forgotten.
"The Greatest Game Ever Played"
Though the Giants were on the losing end of this game, "The Greatest Game Ever Played" had such a profound impact on the NFL that it would be a crime not to include it.
The Colts-and-Giants game captivated everyone across America and helped turn the NFL into an incredibly popular sport.
This was in part due to the fact that it was televised in a time when TV was really taking off, and the first-ever overtime game provided the suspense and excitement that we still celebrate today.
Super Bowl XXI: "I'm Going to Disney World!"
The 1986 Super Bowl and the performance by Phil Simms is one of the greatest performances by a quarterback in the game's history.
Down 10-9 at halftime, Simms led the Giants to five straight scores and finished the game 22-of-25 or 268 yards and three touchdowns. His QB rating of 157.0 is just shy of perfect.
After the game a commercial aired for the first time ever. In Disney's new campaign to include sports in their marketing strategy, they asked Super Bowl MVP what he planned to do after the game.
"I'm going to Disney World!"
Super Bowl XLII: Greatest Upset in Super Bowl History
In the greatest moment I've ever known as a Giants fan, and probably the best for any other Giants fan, our team from New York pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
The Giants made an improbable run to Super Bowl XLII, winning three road playoff games (in a stretch of 10 consecutive including the regular season) that included wins at Dallas and at Green Bay—the two best teams in the NFC.
They met the 18-0 New England Patriots who were on a quest to become the first team to go 19-0 in NFL history. They had the highest-scoring offense in league history and the impressive combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who had won three Super Bowls already.
In what will go down as one of the best defensive performances of all time, the Giants manhandled Brady and held the Patriots to 14 points—just enough to give Eli and the offense a chance to win the game.
The Giants' final drive contained many memorable plays, perhaps none more memorable than when Eli fought his way out of a sure sack to hit David Tyree over the middle. Tyree was able to corral the ball on his helmet, a play that is now known as "The Catch II."
With 39 seconds left, Eli stepped back and hit Plaxico Burress for the game-winning score, an image that is burned in my head forever.