The 25 Greatest New York Giants Players, Part 6 of 7 (No. 10- No. 6)

Frank Gray@https://twitter.com/#!/nyfaninsjerseyCorrespondent IJune 7, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Defensive end Michael Strahan #92 of the New York Giants holds a copy of the Bergen Record with the headline 'GIANTS WIN!' after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 during Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

So far we have gone through 15 players. The list up to this point is below.

There are a few recognizable names and a few that aren't. There are some great players and great New York Giants represented in the list thus far.

No. 25
- Bart Oates (C)
No. 24 - Mel Hein (C)
No. 23 - Joe Morris (H B )
No. 22 - Rodney Hampton (HB )
No. 21 - Kyle Rote (HB /WR )
No. 20 - Pepper Johnson -LB
No. 19 - Ottis Anderson -RB
No. 18 - Joe Morrison -HB /WR
No. 17 - Leonard Marshall -DE
No. 16 - Y.A. Tittle -QB
No. 15 - Emlen Tunnell - CB
No. 14 - Amani Toomer - WR
No. 13 - Alex Webster - RB
No. 12 - Charlie Conerly - QB
No. 11 - Sam Huff - LB

Now we move into the top ten list. The best of the best. All of these names are immediately recognizable to mostly any Giants fan and most football fans as well.

Some of them even transcend the sport and are known in other venues worldwide. We begin with number ten.

No. 10 - Eli Manning - QB

Manning is considered football royalty. He is a rare second-generation NFL player. His father, Archie Manning was a two-time Pro Bowl QB.

His brother, Peyton Manning may one day be considered the greatest statistical passer in NFL history when he is done playing.

Eli Manning is the current starting QB of the New York Giants. He was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and was immediately traded to the New York Giants, at his request, for their first pick, Phillip Rivers.

During his collegiate career, Manning set or tied 45 records with the University of Mississippi. He also won the Conerly Trophy twice. As previously mentioned, this award was named after former Mississippi native and former Giants QB Charlie Conerly .

He was named the Giants starter at the end of his rookie season. He began the 2005 season as the starter and hasn't looked back.

Since being the full-time starter, he has led the Giants to the playoffs four consecutive seasons.

That streak was broken last season, but the team still finished at the .500 mark. In his time as starter, he has amassed 125 passing TD's , 18,644 passing yards and 1,593 completions. He has made one Pro Bowl appearance.

He is now best known for the 2007 playoffs. He finished that run as the Super Bowl MVP. He showed poise and determination game after game.

With a newfound maturity, he rose to the occasion of the big stage. In typical Manning fashion, when the game was in doubt and on the line, he led his team downfield with grit and precision.

The defining play is now simply known as "the helmet catch ." He eluded a sack multiple times on a single play and after prying himself out of the opposition's grasp, heaved the ball to David Tyree, who made a miraculous and hard-fought catch.

Tyree refused to give up the ball, and the result was one of the greatest plays in the history of the sport and its championship game.

When this coming season is finished, Manning will be second on the team all-time in passing yards and passing attempts.

His career is far from over and he already has accomplished so much. The Giants future with Manning at the helm is just as bright as the recent past has already been.

No. 9- Tiki Barber - HB

Barber was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft. He played for them for 10 years ('97-'06). The team's original plan was to utilize him as a third-down running back to better complement their power running back, Rodney Hampton.

When he eventually took over the starting duties the following season, he wasn't an instant success.

He was met with skepticism. His first two seasons were filled with nagging injuries and he missed four games of the '98 campaign.

He rebounded the following season into the solid starting running back that we all know. He was a key member of the 2000 Super Bowl team that eventually lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

His early career was filled with questions over fumbles. He coughed up the ball 35 times between '00 and '03. After a slight adjustment, he corrected this and went on to amass impressive statistics.

He finished his career with 10,449 yards rushing on 2,217 attempts, scoring 55 rushing TD's. All of these rank him first overall in Giants history among running backs. He also has totaled 5,183 receiving yards and 12 TD's in his career.

These stats have led to a unique distinction. He is only one of three running backs in league history to rush for over 10,000 yards and receive for over 5,000 yards. The others are Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen.

He holds 17 records in Giants lore as well. Among them, he has the most rushing yards in a single game (236 yards in Dec. 30, '06), the longest rushing attempt (95 yards) and most rushing attempts in an season (357).

Also, in '05, he made a promise to ailing owner, Wellington Mara, that he would give forth his best effort and they would win.

He ran for over 200 yards in that next game in a shutout win, just two days after Mara was buried.

In his final game with the Giants, he ran for 137 yards and was referred to as "a warrior" by Eagles safety Brian Dawkins . He made three Pro Bowl appearances , including the very last game of his career on Feb. 10, 2007.

After his retirement, he turned to broadcasting and journalism. In his very first season as a broadcaster, he created sparks in the Giants locker room.

His open criticism of the Giants and especially their young QB, Eli Manning, sparked an early response from the team on the field in '07, their championship season. One that Barber was not a part of.

Barber has written several books, both with his twin brother, Ronde Barber (Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback) and by himself. He has broadcast the Olympics and currently works for NBC as a pregame host.

He has stirred his share of controversy through his career, but most fans will always remember his speed and determination.

No. 8- Mark Bavaro - TE

Bavaro was a All-American player at The University of Notre Dame and was drafted by the Giants in the 1985 NFL Draft in the fourth round.

Coach Bill Parcells called him "the most impressive rookie he'd seen" in that preseason. He quickly won the job as starter.

Among the other players, he was nicknamed "Rambo" for his toughness and looks. His playing style took the league by storm.

His rookie season saw him set a record for most receptions in a game (12, against Cincinnati on Oct. 13, '85). After that game, one that they lost, Bavaro was quoted about the record as saying "I'd rather win".

He had 511 receiving yards that rookie season. In the following season, he amassed 1,001 yards for the Super Bowl Champions. He played six weeks of that season with a broken jaw, in which he had to sip his food through a straw.

He never missed a play the entire time. It was in the '86 season, that he cemented his reputation as a hard-nosed player.

On Dec. 1, 1986 against the San Francisco 49ers , Bavaro caught a short pass up the middle that he turned into a 20-yard gain after carrying seven players with him, including Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott.

The play sparked a comeback in which the Giants won. His career was filled with plays like that one. His strength and sheer will to create yards by raw power is the one thing Giants fans will remember from him.

He was a member of two Super Bowl Champion teams ('86 and '90). He also participated in the Pro Bowl two times ('86 and '87). His Giants career was cut short by a degenerative knee injury.

He did try to come back with both the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles. His impact for them was not nearly that of his with the Giants.

However, he continued to forge his legacy as a tough guy by playing almost three full seasons with that injury, after the Giants cut him.

For his Giants career, he had 3,722 receiving yards, which was first among Giants TE's until Jeremy Shockey surpassed his a few years ago.

His 28 receiving TD's is still first among Giants TE's all time. In his time with the Giants, he continually displayed the heart and the toughness that is Giants football.

The fan base was very angry with the team when he was cut. There are not many players that can be said for, he is one of them.

After his career, Bavaro remained as active in the community as he was in his playing days. He is an avid pro-life activist and a public speaker.

He wrote a novel in '08 called "Rough and Tumble." A fitting title given his playing style and career highlights.

He will always be an endearing figure to Giants fans for his contributions on two championship teams and more so for his example of what it means to be a Giants player.

Both on and off of the field, he remains as humble and as approachable as he was in his prime.

Yet on the field, he was one of the reasons many people grew up Giants fans. Also he was one of the reasons many teams feared playing the Giants. He is a Giant through and through.

Ask any Giants fan, and they will tell you, not many players invoked such memories of power, grit and determination as Mark Bavaro .

No. 7- Carl Banks - LB

Banks was drafted No. 3 overall in the 1984 NFL draft by the Giants. He made up a key component of the linebacker corp that many fans refer to as the Big Blue Wrecking Crew.

It was comprised of the legendary Lawrence Taylor, the previously mentioned Pepper Johnson, and Gary Reasons.

Banks was a key contributor during his Giants career by creating pressure on the opposite side of Taylor.

Without his presence, teams would have simply double teamed Taylor and the consistent defensive pressure would not have existed in the capacity that we have come to know from that era. Banks played for the Giants from 1984 to 1992.

In that span of time, he was a major part of two Super Bowl Championship teams ('86 and '90). He was named to one Pro Bowl with the Giants.

He is also a member of the NFL 80's All-time team. He accumulated 627 tackles which is third best in team history and 36 sacks with the team.

He was a fierce competitor and a feared combatant on the field. His speed and strength made him a force on the weak side and a welcomed addition to a strong blitzing defense. During Super Bowl 21, he had recorded 14 total tackles.

He briefly left the New York area after his Giants days. But upon retirement, he returned to the region to venture into a part ownership of the Arena League's New Jersey Red Dogs.

He partnered with former teammates Joe Morris and Harry Carson. He settled into the now familiar role of Giants game analyst on the team's flagship radio station, WFAN .

His role in the two-time championship teams and one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, is immeasurable.

More than that, his ongoing contributions to the game experience have endeared him to older fans that remember his time with the team and a new generation of fans as well.

No. 6- George Martin - DE

Martin was selected by the Giants in the 1975 NFL Draft. He played his entire 14 year career with the Giants. During that time he made a few memories.

One was in '85, when he returned an interception 56 yards for a TD. This interception gave him a record fifth career TD by a defensive lineman.

He may be even more memorable for a bigger play in a bigger moment. In Super Bowl 21, as a team captain, he recorded a safety on Denver QB John Elway .

It was a critical play in the game as it signaled a shift in momentum. They went into the half down 10-9, but that change in momentum caused a team-wide explosion en route to a Super Bowl blowout.

He had a super play that super '86 season. He returned an interception 78 yards for a TD, a play that head coach Bill Parcells called "the greatest football play I've ever seen."

That gave him a record of six TD's by a defensive lineman. It was a record that stood for nearly 20 years until 2004 when it was broken by Jason Taylor. Still an impressive career feat.

Half of his career was played in an age when they did not count tackles or sacks as an official statistic. It is impossible to tally his career tackles but sacks are a different story.

The team, counting all of his career, has him tallied at 96 career sacks. In the second half of his career, he amassed 46, which is still good for sixth all-time in Giants history. However, using the Giants' own statistics, he is placed third all-time in sacks.

In 1986, he won the Byron 'Whizzer ' White NFL Man of the Year Award for his work in the community.

After he retired in 1988, he continued to reach out to his community. He has been making a major impact in the lives of those around him.

In September of 2007, he embarked on a monumental journey that captured the attention of the nation to rally behind him.

It was a cross country walk to raise money for medical care of those first responders of the 9/11 attacks on New York's twin towers. He walked from New York to San Diego, 3,020 miles and raised over $2 million.

He has been actively involved in the NFL Players Association since his retirement and was recently named the Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Association.

He has represented the Giants on the field with toughness and heart and off the field with heart and love. He is a true example of a Giant, both to the team and the sport.

Now, we have gone through 20 of the greatest all-time players. Next, we will come to the top five. I will reveal, also, who is holding the newspaper in that photo. Please join me for the grand finale later this week.

For more of my thoughts on New York Sports, visit my blog.



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