| NY GIANTS HISTORY 2000 - 2009 || |
| 2000 || |
●The Giants enjoyed their finest season in a decade, winning the NFC East and home-field advantage in the playoffs with a 12-4 record before defeating Philadelphia and Minnesota to advance to Super Bowl XXXV. The highlight of the season was a 41-0 victory over Minnesota in the NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium.
●In their first Super Bowl appearance in 10 years, the Giants lost to Baltimore, 34-7. The Giants took a seven-game winning streak into the Super Bowl, a surge that began after Jim Fassel issued his now-famous playoff guarantee on November 22. The Giants finished 7-1 in the division and 7-1 away from Giants Stadium. The seven road victories tied a franchise record set in 1930 (when three of the road games were in Newark, Staten Island and Brooklyn) and marked the first time since 1963 that the Giants lost just one game as visitors.
●The Giants averaged 125.6 rushing yards a game, a robust 37.5-yard gain over the 1999 average.
●Quarterback Kerry Collins was sacked 28 times; in 1999 Giants quarterbacks were sacked 42 times. Collins had the best season of his career, setting career highs in passes (529), completions (311), completion percentage (58.8) and touchdown passes (22).
●Halfback Tiki Barber set a Giants record of 2,085 all-purpose yards (1,006 rushing, 719 receiving, 332 punt returns and 28 on kickoff returns).
●Amani Toomer caught 78 passes (one less than the franchise record he set in 1999. Ike Hilliard led the team with a 14.3-yard average and eight touchdown catches. The defense was second in the NFL against the run (72.3 yards a game) and fifth in points allowed (15.4 per game). In 359 rushing attempts, opponents had an NFL-best two runs of longer than 20 yards.
●Jessie Armstead led the team with 102 tackles – his fifth consecutive season with more than a hundred tackles – and was selected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl.
●Defensive tackle Keith Hamilton had the best season of his nine-year career. He was a dominating run-stopper and he led the Giants with 10 sacks, an impressive feat for a tackle. Defensive end Michael Strahan had perhaps his finest all-around season and raised his sack total from 5.5 in 1999 to 9.5.
| 2001 || |
●After a strong 3-1 start, the Giants lost eight of their last 12 games and finished 7-9 and in third place in the NFC East, the third time in as many tries they failed to make the playoffs a season after reaching the Super Bowl. The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on Sept. 11 – the day after the Giants lost their Monday night opener in Denver – made the rest of season a minor footnote by comparison. After the attacks, many players reached out to victims’ families, firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers and their children.
●Despite the disappointing record, the season included many highlights, notably Michael Strahan setting a new NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks.
●Kerry Collins became the first quarterback in league history to throw every one of his team’s passes in two consecutive seasons. Collins set team marks for passes (568) and completions (327).
●Tiki Barber accounted for 1,782 total yards, Mike Barrow set a team record with 135 tackles, Morten Andersen became the second-leading scorer in NFL history, Howard Cross set a new franchise record for games played (207), Amani Toomer caught more than 70 passes for the third season in a row, rookie Rodney Williams established a team record with a 90-yard punt against the Broncos and Jessie Armstead played in his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl (and was joined in Hawaii by Strahan and Ron Stone).
●Although they struggled with two three-game losing streaks, the Giants thrilled their fans with scintillating last-second victories over Dallas (in overtime), Arizona and Seattle. After the defeat in Denver – and a week off after the NFL’s decision not to play the Sunday after the attacks – the Giants won three straight, against Kansas City, New Orleans and Washington. The winning streak was followed by consecutive heartbreaking 1-point losses to St. Louis and Philadelphia, and a defeat at Washington. The Giants then rebounded with victories over Dallas and Arizona before again dropping three straight, to Minnesota, Oakland and Dallas. They played their way back into playoff contention with dramatic triumphs over Arizona and Seattle, but closed the season with losses to Philadelphia and Green Bay.
| 2002 || |
●An exciting and rewarding season concluded with the Giants winning their final four regular season games to finish 10-6 and in second place in the NFC East. More importantly, they earned a Wild Card berth in the NFC playoffs, where they lost a heartbreaking 39-38 game to the San Francisco 49ers. But the game did not diminish the season’s many team and individual achievements. The Giants made their 26th appearance in the playoffs, tying them with the Dallas Cowboys for the most postseason appearances in NFL history. They finished the regular season ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense, with 364.1 yards a game. It was their highest ranking and most yards per game since the 1985 Giants finished fifth in total offense with 367.8 yards a game.
●The Giants improved to 19-5 in regular season December games under Jim Fassel. Many individuals enjoyed outstanding seasons. Kerry Collins completed 335 passes, a Giants record, and was 1st in the NFC and 4th in the NFL with 4,073 passing yards, breaking the previous team record of 4,044, set by Phil Simms in 1984. Collins completed 61.5 percent of his passes, a career-high and the third-best percentage in team history.
●Tiki Barber was 4th in the NFL and 1st in the NFC with 1,984 yards from scrimmage (1,387 rushing and 597 receiving). He rushed for 1,387 rushing yards, the second-highest total in team history after Joe Morris’ 1,516 yards in 1986.
●Amani Toomer set team records with 82 receptions for 1,343 yards and established a career-high with eight touchdown catches.
●Pro Bowler Jeremy Shockey caught 74 passes, the fifth-highest total in Giants history, and a team record for both rookies (shattering the mark of 48 set by Bobby Johnson in 1984) and tight ends (eclipsing the 66 passes Mark Bavaro caught in 1986).
●Michael Strahan was selected to his 4th Pro Bowl in 5 years and from Sept. 22 through Dec. 1, he had at least a half-sack in 10 consecutive games, tying the NFL record set by Denver’s Simon Fletcher in 1991 and tied by Tennessee’s Jevon Kearse in 1999.
| 2003 || ●The Giants endured one of their most unpleasant seasons in recent memory, losing their last eight games to finish 4-12. The Giants were 4-4 at midseason. In Game 9, they were tied at halftime with Atlanta, 7-7. But the Falcons scored 20 unanswered second-half points to send the Giants to a defeat from which they would never recover. The Giants finished the season 1-7 at home, the first time since 1983 they won a single home game. |
●Despite their poor record, the Giants had several individual highlights. Michael Strahan led the NFL with 18.5 sacks, the second-highest total of his career, and became the first Giant to twice lead the league in sacks.
●For the second consecutive year, Strahan and tight end Jeremy Shockey were the only Giants selected to the Pro Bowl. Shockey became the first Giant to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons since Taylor in 1981-82.
●Running back Tiki Barber had team-high totals of 1,216 rushing yards (the second-highest total of his career) and 69 receptions. He became the first Giant to lead the team in both rushing and receptions since Joe Dawkins in 1974. Barber finished the season as the franchise’s all-time leader in total yards (10,746) and receptions (422) and is second in rushing (5,409 yards).
●Amani Toomer extended his own team record with his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season.
●Quarterbacks Kerry Collins and Jesse Palmer combined to throw a franchise-record 616 passes in 2003.
●Right guard David Diehl became the first Giants rookie to start all 16 games since Mark Bavaro in 1985. He was one of 14 NFL rookies to start all 16 games in 2003.
●The team announced with two games remaining that Jim Fassel would not return as head coach. Fassel was replaced by Tom Coughlin on January 6, 2004.
| 2004 || |
●A new era dawned in Giants Stadium in 2004 with the arrival of Tom Coughlin as the 16th head coach in franchise history. With Coughlin at the helm, the Giants revamped their roster and entered the 80th season in the organization’s history with great optimism and hope. Early in the season, the team enjoyed success, running out to records of 4-1 and 5-2. But the Giants couldn’t sustain the momentum and lost eight consecutive games before winning the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants finished in second place in the NFC East with a 6-10 record, a two-game improvement over their 2003 mark.
●Despite the sub-.500 record, the Giants had several players turn in superb performances. Running back Tiki Barber set four significant team records and was selected to his first Pro Bowl, the first Giants running back so honored since Rodney Hampton in 1993. Finished first in the NFL with a Giants-record 2,096 yards from scrimmage. He was fifth in the league and second in the conference with a team-record 1,518 rushing yards, two more than Joe Morris’ total in 1986. He set the record on a game-winning three-yard run with 11 seconds remaining in the finale against Dallas. Barber tied a career high by averaging 4.7 yards a carry, an average he also maintained in 2000. His 1,518 yards placed him second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL.
●Barber rushed for at least 100 yards in nine games, breaking the team’s previous single-season record of eight, set by Morris in 1986. Barber finished the season with 6,927 career rushing yards, eclipsing Hampton’s former team record of 6,897. Barber also has a franchise-record 474 receptions. He was second in the NFL and led the NFC with 95 first downs (77 rushing, 18 receiving). He was third among non-kickers in the NFC with 90 points (15 touchdowns, 13 rushing and two receiving).
●Barber had 19 plays of 20 or more yards and tied for the NFL high with five plays of 50 or more yards (three runs and two receptions).
●Willie Ponder’s 26.9-yard average also led the league. It was the highest kickoff return average by a Giant since Leon McQuay averaged 27.6 yards in 1974.
●The Giants finished first in the NFL with a 25.1-yard kickoff return average, the first time since 1953 they led the NFL in that statistical category. Minnesota defensive end Jim Marshall played in 282 straight games from 1960-1979. Ponder was the first Giant to lead the NFL in average kickoff return yardage since Clarence Childs in 1964 (David Meggett led the NFC in 1990).
●Jeff Feagles remained one of the most consistent and reliable punters in NFL history. For the 17th consecutive season, and second with the Giants, Feagles played in all 16 games. He has played in 272 games without ever missing one, the second-longest streak in history. Feagles’ 74 punts increased his career total to 1,364, just three behind NFL record-holder Sean Landeta. Feagles’ 23 punts inside the 20-yard line increased his NFL-record career total to 430, 56 more than runner-up Landeta.
●Michael Strahan’s four sacks increased his career total to 118.0, the highest total among active players. Strahan is 12th on the NFL’s career list. Strahan missed the final eight games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.
●Jeremy Shockey led the Giants with 61 receptions to become the first tight end to top the team since Mark Bavaro had 55 catches in 1987. Bavaro had 55 catches that season. Shockey’s team-leading six touchdown receptions were two more than he had in his first two seasons combined.
●Amani Toomer led the team’s wide receivers with 51 catches for 747 yards. It was the sixth consecutive season Toomer had more than 50 receptions and 700 yards. Toomer is first on the team’s career list with 6,813 receiving yards. David Diehl started all 16 games at right tackle after starting every game at guard as a rookie. He is the first Giant since the introduction of the 16-game schedule in 1978 to start every game in his first two seasons.
●Eli Manning, the quarterback who was selected with the top pick in the 2004 draft and then acquired by the Giants in a trade, started the last seven games and improved markedly down the stretch. He finished the season with 95 completions in 197 attempts for 1,043 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions.
●Osi Umenyiora, a second-year defensive end, led the Giants with 7.0 sacks, six more than he had as a rookie. Linebacker Carlos Emmons led the team with 97 tackles (62 solo).
●David Tyree led the Giants with 23 special teams tackles (20 solo) and was voted as a first alternate to the Pro Bowl.
| 2005 || ●The Giants’ 2005 season was inspirational and triumphant, we well as sad and tragic. In Tom Coughlin’s second season as head coach, they finished with an 11-5 record, winning one more game than they had in the previous two seasons combined. The Giants earned their first playoff berth since 2002 and their first NFC East championship since 2000 before losing an NFC Wild Card Game to Carolina, 23-0. |
●Success on the field was coupled with sadness off of it. The Giants’ beloved owners, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch, passed away within three weeks of each other, both from cancer. Mara, an NFL patriarch who was one of the most respected and influential figures in league history, and who had been with the Giants for their entire 81-year history, died on Oct. 25. At his funeral three days later in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, his son John, the team’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, delivered a stirring and unforgettable eulogy.
●Tisch, who purchased 50 percent of the franchise in 1991, was a business titan, renowned philanthropist and nonpareil New York City moved and shaker, died on Nov. 15. He was remembered at a two-hour celebration of his life on Dec. 9 at Avery Fisher Hall, where speakers such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the great opera singer Beverly Sills and Giants running back Tiki Barber spoke of Tisch’s successes, kindness and generosity.
●The Giants’ first-place finish was the 21st time in franchise history, breaking a tie with Green Bay and moving them atop the league’s all-time list. Their playoff appearance was the franchise’s 27th, which ties Dallas and the Cleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams for the most in NFL history. The Giants’ 422 points were the second-highest total in franchise history, exceeded only by the 448 points scored by the 1963 team. They scored 45 touchdowns, their highest total since the 1985 team scored 48. Their 5,787 total yards were the third-most in team history. The1985 Giants gained 5,884 yards and the 2002 team gained 5,826 yards. The Giants’ 312 first downs were the fifth-most in team history. The Giants’ offense ranked fourth in the NFL with an average of 361.7 yards a game. That is the team’s highest ranking since 1972, when the offense also ranked fourth (with an average of 320.2 yards a game).
●The Giants were only the fifth team in NFL history to have five different players scored at least seven touchdowns. Barber scored 11, and Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Brandon Jacobs scored seven apiece. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the other teams to have five players with seven or more touchdowns apiece were the 1950 Rams, 1966 Chiefs, 1985 Chargers and 2004 Chiefs.
●The Giants had five players selected to the Pro Bowl, their largest contingent since the 1990 Super Bowl champions sent seven players to Hawaii. This season’s Pro Bowlers are Barber, Shockey, Umenyiora, Strahan and David Tyree.
●Tiki Barber had the greatest season by a running back in Giants history and one of the best years anyone has ever had in the NFL. He was selected NFL Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated and a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press and Pro Football Weekly. Barber was second in the NFL with a team-record 1,860 rushing yards, which shattered the franchise mark of 1,518 he set in 2004.
●Barber, 30, was the oldest player in history to rush for 1,800 yards. Barber also had 530 receiving yards to become the only player in NFL history with at least 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season. His 2,390 total yards were second-most in NFL history. St. Louis’ Marshall Faulk had 2,429 yards in 1999 (1,381 rushing, 1,048 receiving). The previous team record of 2,096 yards was set by Barber in 2004. He has all three 2,000 yards seasons in Giants history. Barber’s 263 total yards in the season finale in Oakland exceeded 200 yards rushing three times, included a Giants-record 220-yard game against Kansas City on Dec. 17. He also rushed for 206 yards vs. Washington on Oct. 30 and 203 yards at Oakland on Dec. 31. Barber was only the third player in history to have at least three 200-yard games in a season (O.J. Simpson rushed for more than 200 yards in three games in 1973 and Earl Campbell had four 200-yard games in 1980). Barber led the NFL in runs of 20 or more yards (16), 40 or more yards (seven) and 50 or more yards (five). His 263 scrimmage yards at Oakland, 220 rushing yards against Kansas City and 95-yard run against the Raiders were all NFL single-game highs in 2005. Barber’s 95-yard run at Oakland was the longest in Giants history and broke a record that stood for 75 years – Hap Moran’s 91-yard run vs. Green Bay on Nov. 23, 1930.
● Plaxico Burress led the Giants with 76 receptions, the fifth-highest total in team history. His 1,214 receiving yards were the second-highest total in team history and his seven touchdowns tied him with Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey for the team lead.
● Shockey was second on the team with 65 receptions for 891 yards. He increased his career total to 248 catches, which is 10th on the franchise’s career list and third among Giants tight ends, behind Bob Tucker (327) and Mark Bavaro (266).
● Eli Manning threw 557 passes this season, the second-highest total in team history. His 294 completions place him fourth on the Giants’ career list and his 24 touchdown passes were the most by a Giant since Fran Tarkenton had 29 in 1967.
● Brandon Jacobs was the first Giants rookie to score seven touchdowns since Bobby Johnson in 1984 and the first to rush for seven touchdowns since Bill Paschal ran for 10 scores in 1943.
● Osi Umenyiora was selected to his first Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro by both the Associated Press and Pro Football Weekly. He was first in the NFC and second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks, the highest total by a Giants player other than Michael Strahan since Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor had 15 in 1989.
● Strahan was third in the NFC with 11.5 sacks. He and Umenyiora combined for 26 sacks, the most by any pair of NFL teammates. Strahan’s 129.5 career sacks place him ninth on the NFL’s all-time list.
● Before suffering a season-ending ankle injury at Philadelphia on Dec. 11, Anotnio Pierce led the Giants with 96 tackles (76 solo), had two interceptions and he had scored a touchdown on a fumble return.
● Gibril Wilson led the Giants with 110 tackles (88 solo). He has two interceptions, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
●Jay Feely led all NFL kickers with a team-record and career-high 148 points, the first Giants kicker to hold the top spot since Dan Chandler in 1963 (106 points). The 148 points shattered the previous record of 127 points, set by Ali Haji-Sheikh in 1983. Feely set career highs and tied two Haji-Sheikh team records with 35 field and 42 field goal attempts. Haji-Sheikh had set those marks in 1983. His 83.3 percentage tied Haji-Sheikh for third on the team’s single-season list (minimum 14 attempts).
●Jeff Feagles played in all 16 games for the 18th consecutive season (third with the Giants). On Nov. 27 in Seattle, Feagles played in his in his 283rd consecutive game, a new NFL record. Former Minnesota defensive end Jim Marshall had held the old mark of 282 since retiring in 1979. At season’s end, Feagles had played in 288 consecutive games. Feagles is the NFL’s all-time leader in punts (1,437, 36 more than former Giant Sean Landeta) and in punts downed inside the 20 (456). His 59,830 punting yards place him second in history, 878 yards behind Landeta.
●David Tyree was selected to his first Pro Bowl despite missing three games with an elbow injury, the Giants’ first special teams player chosen since Reyna Thompson in 1990. Tyree’s 16 special teams tackles tied him with Chase Blackburn for second on the team, one behind James Butler.
| 2006 || |
●The Giants’ 2006 season was marked by both soaring victories and searing defeats. They enjoyed a successful first half that included their largest fourth-quarter comeback in 36 years and a five-game winning streak. That helped them jump out to a 6-2 record that left them with a two-game lead in the NFC East at the midway point of the season. But the Giants stumbled in the season’s second half, winning only two games. At various points during the season, they faced the largest halftime deficit in franchise history, endured their worst-ever fourth-quarter collapse and surrendered the longest run from scrimmage by a Giants opponent in their 82 years of NFL play.
● Despite those forgettable milestones, the Giants’ earned their second postseason berth in a row, the first time they accomplished that feat since 1989-1990. The postseason appearance was the 28th in franchise history, tying the Giants with the Dallas Cowboys for the most in NFL history. Dallas also qualified for its 28th playoff berth in 2006.
They Giants’ 8-8 record was incongruously fashioned with a 3-5 home record and a 5-3 mark away from Giants Stadium.
●Along the way, many individuals enjoyed outstanding seasons, games or moments. Foremost among them was Tiki Barber, who ended his remarkable career by rushing for 1,662 yards and catching 58 passes. Eli Manning was tied for fourth in the NFL with 24 touchdown passes. Tight end Jeremy Shockey led the team with 66 receptions and was voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his five-year career (he did not play in the game because of an ankle injury). Plaxico Burress caught 10 touchdown passes, the most by a Giant in 26 years, and was right behind Shockey with 63 catches. Linemen Chris Snee, David Diehl, Shaun O’Hara and Kareem McKenzie played solidly while missing just two games among them.
● Defensively, middle linebacker Antonio Pierce led the Giants with 159 tackles (38 more than anyone else on the team), including 93 solo. He was selected to play in his first Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Brian Urlacher. Safeties Gibril Wilson and Will Demps had 121 and 116 tackles, respectively, Osi Umenyiora led the team in sacks for the third consecutive year (despite missing five games) and tackle Fred Robbins had a solid all-around season.
Kicker Jay Feely and punter Jeff Feagles also distinguished themselves.
●On the debit side, the Giants were never at full strength in the second half of the season because several key players suffered injuries that forced them to go on injured reserve. The group included Amani Toomer, the best wide receiver in team history (knee), seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan (Lisfranc foot sprain), left tackle Luke Petitgout, three-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington, reserve defensive end Justin Tuck and, late in the year, return specialist Chad Morton. In addition, several players, including Umenyiora (hip flexor strain), cornerback Sam Madison (hamstring), linebacker Brandon Short (quad) and wide receiver Sinorice Moss (quad) missed multiple games.
●Tom Coughlin has led the Giants to the playoffs in two of his three seasons with the team and made his sixth postseason appearance in his 11 years as an NFL head coach. His playoff record is 4-6.
●Tiki Barber announced in October that the 2006 season, his 10th with the Giants, would be his last. Barber went on to complete another outstanding season. He finished second in the NFC and fourth in the NFL with 1,662 rushing yards, the second-highest total of his career. Barber also had 465 receiving yards and his 2,127 yards from scrimmage placed him third in the NFC and fifth in the NFL. Barber also had 101 first downs (78 rushing, 23 receiving), which left him second in the conference and fourth in the league. He was third on the team with 58 receptions and was selected for this third Pro Bowl.
●Barber holds the Giants’ record for career rushing yards with 10,449, or 3,552 yards ahead of runner-up Rodney Hampton. That is the 17th-highest total in NFL history. He owns the top three and four of the top five single-season rushing totals in Giants history. The record is 1,860 yards in 2005. Barber rushed for 1,662 yards in 2006 and 1,518 yards in 2004.
●Barber rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his final five seasons. That was the NFL’s second-longest active, behind LaDainian Tomlinson’s six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
● Barber has the first two and five of the franchise’s top six single-game rushing totals. He set the record in his final regular season game at Washington on Dec. 30, when he ran for 234 yards. That was 14 more yards than his previous best, achieved against Kansas City on Dec. 17, 2005. No Giant ever carried the ball as often as Barber. He had 2,217 rushing attempts. He also holds the single-season mark with 357 in 2005. Barber led the Giants in rushing every game from the beginning of the 2002 season through the end of the 2006 season, an NFL-record 80 consecutive games. The old record was held by Barry Sanders, who led the Detroit Lions in rushing in each of 68 straight games from 1994 to 1998.
●Barber averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry, a franchise record. Of the 20 running backs with 10,000 yards, only two Hall of Famers have a higher per-carry average: Jim Brown (5.22) and Sanders (4.99).
● Barber has the longest run in Giants history, a 95-yard touchdown at Oakland on Dec. 31, 2005.
● Barber had 38 100-yard rushing games, exactly twice as many as Giants runner-up Joe Morris. The Giants were 25-13 in the regular season when Barber rushed for at least 100 yards. Barber has the Giants last 36 100-yard rushing games.
● Barber had a team-record nine 100-yard games in 2004 and eight apiece in 2005 and 2006. The 234-yard outing in his finale was the fifth 200-yard game of his career. Barber has five of the seven 200-yard games in Giants history. It is the second-highest number of 200-yard games in NFL history. Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson had six 200-yard games.
● Barber’s career-high three touchdowns in the Washington game increased his total to 55 rushing touchdowns, extending his franchise record. Barber finished his career with 68 touchdowns (55 rushing, 12 receiving, one punt return), second in franchise history behind Frank Gifford’s 74. He scored 416 points and was the fifth Giant in history with at least 400 points, joining Pete Gogolak, Brad Daluiso, Gifford and Joe Danelo.
● Barber had 17,359 total yards (rushing, receiving, returns and fumble yardage). That is the 11th-highest total in NFL history and is 7,497 yards ahead of Gifford, who is second among all Giants. Barber owns the top five single-season total yardage marks in team history, including a record 2,390 in 2005 – the second-highest total in NFL history. He had 2,127 yards in 2006.
● Barber holds the team record with 15,632 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving). That is the 10th-highest total in NFL history. Put another way, only nine players ever to wear NFL uniforms gained more yards from scrimmage than Barber.
● Barber played 154 regular season games. He averaged 101.5 yards from scrimmage in those games. That placed him fifth in history among players who have played at least 150 games, behind Barry Sanders (118.9), Walter Payton (111.9), Marshall Faulk (108.8) and Curtis Martin (103.8).
● The 2006 season was Barber’s fourth with at least 2,000 yards. That tied an NFL record also held by Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Dante Hall, Brian Mitchell and Walter Payton.
● Barber is one of just four players to have 2000 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive seasons, joining Faulk (who did it four years in a row, from 1998-2001), Payton (1983-85) and Priest Holmes (2001-2003).
●Barber retired as the Giants’ all-time leading receiver with 586 catches. Amani Toomer, who will play in 2007, is second with 561. Barber also holds the record for catches in a game with 13 at Dallas on Jan. 2, 2000. Just in case that’s not enough, he shares another record: most fumble recoveries in a game with three vs. Philadelphia on Oct. 29, 2000.
●When Barber became the 20th player in NFL history with at least 10,000 rushing yards he also had 5,118 receiving yards. Only two other players in history have accumulated more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards: Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (12,243 and 5,411) and likely future Hall inductee Marshall Faulk (12,279 and 6,875).
●Allen, Faulk and Barber are the only players in history with at least 2,100 rushing attempts and 575 receptions. Barber had 2,159 carries to go with his 575 catches. Allen had 3,022 rushing attempts and 587 catches, while Faulk – who sat out the 206 season but hopes to play in 2007 – has 2,836 and 767.
●Only three NFL franchises have the same player as its career leader in both rushing yards and receptions: Chicago (Hall of Famer Walter Payton); Tampa Bay (James Wilder) and Barber. Those three players, plus former Arizona Cardinal Larry Centers, are the only running backs to lead their franchises in career receptions.
●Barber rushed for 137 yards in his final game, the Giants’ 23-20 NFC Wild Card loss in Philadelphia. The Eagles’ Brian Westbrook ran for 141 yards in the game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first playoff game in NFL history in which players on both teams gained at least 137 yards rushing.
●Eli Manning threw 522 passes, the sixth-highest total in Giants history. He completed 301 of those throws topping the 294 completions he had in 2005, his first full season as a starter. Manning threw 24 touchdown passes, matching his 2005 total and leaving him tied for fourth in the NFL with St. Louis Pro Bowler Marc Bulger. Manning is the first Giants quarterback to throw at least 20 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons since Phil Simms did it three years in a row from 1984-86.
● On Sept. 17 in Philadelphia, Manning completed 31 of 43 passes for 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The completions and yardage totals were career highs.
● Tight end Jeremy Shockey led the Giants with 66 receptions, the second-highest total of his career. He caught seven touchdown passes, tying the career high he set in 2005. Shockey was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his five-year career, though he was unable to play in the game because of an ankle injury.
● Shockey increased his career total to 314 catches, which places him eighth on the Giants’ all-time list. He is second among Giants tight ends, trailing only Bob Tucker (327).
● Wide receiver Plaxico Burress led the Giants with 988 receiving yards and a career-high 10 touchdown catches. He was second on the team to Shockey with 63 catches. Burress was the first Giant with double-digit touchdown receptions since Earnest Gray had 10 in 1980.
● Wide receiver Amani Toomer caught 32 passes for 360 yards and three scores before a torn knee ligament that required surgery forced him to miss the final eight games of the season.
● On Sept. 17 at Philadelphia, Toomer caught a career-high 12 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. His previous best was 10 catches at Indianapolis on Dec. 22, 2002. His 137 yards were his highest total since he had 204 that day against the Colts. Toomer temporarily held the Giants career receptions lead and finished the season second with 561 catches, 25 behind Barber. No one else in Giants history has 400 receptions. Toomer is the franchise leader in receiving yards (8,157) and 100-yard games (22). His 47 touchdown receptions leave him tied with Joe Morrison, one behind Kyle Rote.
● Offensive lineman David Diehl started every game for the Giants for the fourth consecutive season (15 at left guard and the finale at left tackle). He is one of just four members of the NFL Draft class of 2003 to start every one of his team’s games in his first four seasons. The others are Carolina tackle Jordan Gross, Dallas cornerback Terence Newman and Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis.
● Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce led the Giants with 159 tackles (93 solo), one shy of the career-high he set with Washington in 2004. Unofficially, that was the 11th-highest total in the NFL. Pierce played in the Pro Bowl for the first time after Chicago’s Brian Urlacher was unable to play because of an injury. He had three unassisted tackles and an interception of a Vince Young pass.
● Defensive end Michael Strahan was limited to nine games because of a Lisfranc sprain in his foot. Strahan’s two sacks of Drew Bledsoe at Dallas increased his career total to 132.5, tying the franchise record held by Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor. Strahan also tied Taylor and Leslie O’Neil for seventh place on the NFL’s career list. He leads all active players in sacks.
● Defensive tackle Fred Robbins had the finest season of his seven-year career. Robbins started every game and had career-high totals of 62 tackles (39 solo), 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and 34 quarterback hurries.
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora led the team with 6.0 sacks, despite missing five games with a strained hip flexor. It was the third season in a row that Umenyiora was the Giants’ sacks leader.
● Rookie cornerback Kevin Dockery was one of seven players to tie for the team lead with two interceptions. Dockery returned one of his picks 96 yards for a touchdown at Dallas, which was tied for the fourth-longest in Giants history and was the team’s longest since Taylor scored on a 97-yard return at Detroit on Nov. 25, 1982.
Rookie defensive tackle Barry Cofield started every game, the first Giants defensive rookie to do so since Taylor and defensive lineman Bill Neill in 1981.
● Punter Jeff Feagles continued to add to his remarkable resume. Feagles punted 77 times, increasing his record career total to 1,514. That’s 113 more than runner-up Sean Landeta. At Dallas, Feagles passed Landeta to become the league’s career leader in punting yards. He finished the season with 62,928 yards. Feagles is also the all-time leader with 483 punts inside the 20.
● Feagles remains a model of consistency and durability. He has played in an NFL-record 304 consecutive regular season games. And his 304 games played place him fourth on the all-time list, behind only Morten Andersen (365), Gary Anderson (353) and George Blanda (340).
● Kicker Jay Feely led the Giants with 107 points. It was the second season in a row he was the team’s leading scorer and it was his fourth career 100-point season, including both of his years with the Giants.
● Feely made 23 of 27 field goal attempts in 2006, an 85.2 success rate that was the third-highest single-season percentage in Giants history (minimum 14 attempts). In two seasons with the Giants, Feely made 58 of 69 field goal attempts, an 84.0 success that is easily the highest in franchise for kickers with at least 50 attempts. Daluiso previously held the record with 76.9 percent (123 of 160). Feely has also made all 81 of his extra point attempts for the Giants.
| 2007 || ●The Giants have competed in the NFL for 83 years, but it’s safe to say the 2007 season was one of the most successful, rewarding and memorable in franchise history. |
●The year began with most prognosticators not affiliated with the team expressing either skepticism the team could do well or outright certainty it wouldn’t. When the Giants stumbled to a 0-2 start – then fell behind by two touchdowns at halftime of their third game - those dire predictions looked to be correct. But the Giants rallied to win that game, 14 of their next 18 and concluded the season with an exhilarating and unforgettable 17-14 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. It was one of the greatest upsets and most exciting championship games in the long history of the National Football League.
●Eli Manning threw the game-winning 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with just 35 seconds remaining, giving the Giants a victory over a New England team that entered the game with an 18-0 record, including a three-point win over the Giants in the regular season finale. After New England had taken a 14-10 lead with just 2:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, Manning completed five passes on an 83-yard drive – including a 32-yarder on the greatest play in Super Bowl history, when he slipped the clutches of the Patriots’ pass rusher and threw down field to David Tyree, who somehow secured the ball against his helmet and away from safety Rodney Harrison.
●Two days after bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to the metropolitan area, the Giants were lauded by more than a million fans at a ticker tape parade up Manhattan’s famed Canyon of Heroes, and later at a rally in Giants Stadium.
●The Giants triumphed for the third time in four Super Bowl appearances, won their sixth title game and seventh overall championship. They won Super Bowls following the 1986, 1990 and 2007 seasons, NFL Championship Games in 1934, 1938 and 1956 and the league title in 1927, before the advent of championship games.
●But this title was the most improbable of all. The Giants were just the fourth team to start a season 0-2 and reach the Super Bowl (and the third to win it). They finished the regular season at 10-6 and became the first six-loss team to win the Super Bowl since the 1988 San Francisco 49ers. The Giants won just three home games – none after October 21 – to become the first team with a losing home record to ever make the Super Bowl. The Giants were the fifth wild card team – and first from the NFC – to win the Super Bowl. They were the third team to reach the Super Bowl by winning three road playoff games, the second such team to win the Super Bowl and the first from the NFC. Their minus-nine regular season turnover differential was the worst of the 12 teams that reached the playoffs.
●Yes, the Giants took an arduous route to Arizona and Super Bowl XLII. They lost their final four home games to finish 3-5 in Giants Stadium. But they played superbly on the road, winning everywhere they played and setting an NFL single-season record with 11 consecutive road victories (seven regular season, four postseason, including the Super Bowl). The Giants won close to home (Philadelphia), in a foreign city (London, where they faced the Miami Dolphins in the first NFL regular season game outside of North America) and where they had previously lost (Dallas, where they avenged a season-opening loss with a victory in the divisional round of the playoffs). With victories in January at Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay, the Giants joined the 1985 New England Patriots and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams to win three road postseason games to get to the Super Bowl.
●Along the way, many individuals enjoyed outstanding seasons, games or moments. Manning started every game for the third year in a row and has now started 55 consecutive regular season games, the fourth-longest streak among active quarterbacks behind Brett Favre (253), Peyton Manning (160) and Tom Brady (110). Manning is 30-25 as a regular season starter and 4-2 in the postseason.
●Manning threw for 3,336 yards and 23 touchdowns to become the first Giants quarterback since Phil Simms (1984-86) to top 3,000 yards and 20 touchdown passes in each of three consecutive seasons. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 1,009 yards, despite missing five games and most of a sixth with injuries. Burress was unable to practice virtually the entire season because of an ankle injury, but led the team with 70 receptions for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns, the highest total by a Giants receiver since Homer Jones had 13 in 1967. Ageless Amani Toomer caught 59 passes and became the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions with 620. The offensive line – and fullback Madison Hedgecock, acquired off waivers after he was cut by St. Louis - played well throughout the year, a big reason the Giants finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards, averaging 134.3 a game.
●Under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the defense ranked seventh in the NFL, allowing 305.0 yards a game. The Giants led the NFL with 53.0 sacks and set a franchise record with 12 in a victory over Philadelphia on Sept. 30. Osi Umenyiora was third in the NFC and fifth in the NFL with 13.0 sacks and was the lone Giant voted to the Pro Bowl. Justin Tuck became a force on the defensive line and had 10.0 sacks. Michael Strahan skipped training camp, but added 9.0 sacks and moved to fifth on the NFL’s career list with 141.5. Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce led the Giants with 116 tackles (63 solo). Kawika Mitchell was a valuable free agent pickup who scored touchdowns on a fumble return and interception return. Mathias Kiwanuka made a smooth transition to linebacker before suffering a season-ending injury. Safety Gibril Wilson was second on the team with 96 tackles (62 solo) and tied with cornerback Sam Madison for the team interceptions lead with four. Corey Webster stepped up to play superbly in the playoffs. R.W. McQuarters has intercepted a pass in each of the first three postseason games.
●The special teams also played well. Punter Jeff Feagles was one of the NFL’s most effective punters in the 20th season of his remarkable career. Kicker Lawrence Tynes, acquired in an offseason trade with Kansas City, succeeded on 23 of 27 field goal attempts and booted the game-winning 47-yarder in overtime in the NFC Championship Game. Domenik Hixon, acquired off waivers in October, became the primary kickoff returner late in the season and brought one back 74 yards for a touchdown in the regular season game against the Patriots.
●But the Giants also suffered serious losses due to injury. Kiwanuka, running back Derrick Ward and four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey all went down in the second half of the season – remarkably with the same injury, a fracture of the left fibula. Ward was hurt near the end of the victory in Chicago after rushing for 145 yards.
●Giants at Cowboys, Sept. 9, 2007
The season began with a nationally-televised Sunday night shootout in Dallas against the NFC East rival Cowboys. The Giants lost, 45-35, in the highest-scoring meeting in the teams’ now 92-game series.
The offense gained 448 yards, including 314 in the air, and Manning threw four touchdown passes. But the defense couldn’t stop Dallas all night, surrendering the highest opening-game point total by an opponent in Giants history, six touchdowns, 478 yards (by far the most the Giants allowed in their 20-game season). Tony Romo threw four touchdown passes and averaged 23 yards on his 15 completions as receivers ran loose before and after catching the ball.
To make matters worse, Manning suffered a shoulder injury that temporarily left his availability for Week 2 in jeopardy, and Jacobs sustained a knee injury that would sideline him for three weeks.
Despite the injury, Manning completed 28 of 41 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns – three to Burress and one to Ward, who stepped in for Jacobs and rushed for a game-high 89 yards, including a 44-yard scamper.
●Giants Vs. Packers, Sept. 16, 2007
After a week of speculation about his availability because of the shoulder injury, Manning started the home opener the following week against Green Bay – a game absolutely no one picked as the eventual matchup for the conference championship game. Manning completed 16 of 29 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. But the Giants’ defense had trouble containing Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who threw three touchdown passes.
The Giants trailed after three quarters, 14-13, but Green Bay outscored them in the fourth period, 21-0, and won going away, 35-13. The loss dropped the Giants to 0-2 for the first time since 1996.
●Giants at Redskins, Sept. 23, 2007
The Giants’ problems continued in the first half the following week in Washington, where they faced a 17-3 halftime deficit. At that point, a 0-3 start and a
long season seemed to be a real and unpleasant possibility. But the Giants rallied as Reuben Droughns scored on a pair of one-yard runs and Burress, despite his ongoing injury problems, caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Manning.
But it was the defense that turned the game – and the season – around with a terrific goal line stand. With 58 seconds remaining, the Redskins had a first-and-goal at the Giants’ one-yard line. The defense, criticized heavily in the season’s first two weeks, faced a huge challenge. On first down, Jason Campbell spiked the ball to stop the clock. Campbell followed with an errant pass to Mike Sellers, who was covered closely by Mitchell. The Redskins then twice had bruising running back Ladell Betts try to force his way into the end zone through their right side. He was stopped both times, first by Mitchell and then by James Butler.
●Giants Vs. Eagles, Sept. 30, 2007
The following week, the Giants’ defense validated its status as a formidable unit that would make life miserable for NFL offenses for the remainder of the season. The defense dominated Philadelphia in a 16-3 home victory over the Eagles, who had scored 56 points in a runaway win over Detroit the previous week.
The Giants tied an NFL record and set a team mark by sacking Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb 12 times – including a team-record six by Umenyiora. The previous Giants record was nine sacks, a total reached three times previously, most recently on Aug. 31, 1997 – ironically, at home against the Eagles.
Umenyiora broke the team record held by Pepper Johnson, who had 4.5 sacks at Tampa Bay on Nov. 24, 1991. Umenyiora’s six sacks left him tied for second on the NFL’s individual single-game sack list.
Strahan became the Giants’ career sack leader by tackling McNabb for a three-yard loss, increasing his career total to 133.5.
Manning threw a touchdown pass to Burress, Mitchell scored on a 17-yard fumble recovery and Tynes kicked a field goal for the Giants.
●Giants Vs. Jets, Oct. 7, 2007
The following week, the Giants continued to live dangerously - and well. For the second time in three weeks, the Giants spotted their opponents a big lead, then rallied for a dramatic and important 35-24 victory over the Jets. Among those players making key contributions were Manning, who had a 0.0 first-half quarterback rating; Burress, who was essentially no longer practicing; Shockey, who hadn’t scored a touchdown in 10 months; and rookie cornerback Aaron Ross, who didn’t play in the first half for disciplinary reasons.
None of that proved to be an impediment. The Giants trailed in the third quarter, 24-14, before Manning threw touchdown passes to Shockey and Burress and Ross intercepted two passes – the first at the goal line on what could have been a Jets touchdown, the second he returned 43 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 3:15 remaining.
The victory enabled the Giants to climb over .500 at 3-2.
●Giants at Falcons, Oct. 15, 2007
Atlanta is 886 miles from East Rutherford, but it might as well be a second home to the Giants. On Monday night, Oct. 15, the Giants defeated the Falcons in the Georgia Dome, 31-10. The Giants won there for the second year in a row and in Georgia for the seventh time in as many visits dating back to 1981. They scored the game’s final 24 points and ran away for their fourth consecutive victory. It was the 600th regular season victory in the Giants’ 83-year history.
It was the 12th consecutive Giants-Falcons game in which the visiting team won, extending the longest streak in NFL history. The Giants haven’t lost in Atlanta since 1978.
The Giants piled up 491 yards, their largest total in almost six years, and scored 14 first-quarter points – or five more than the first five games combined. Manning threw for 303 yards, including touchdown passes to Toomer and Burress. Droughns (a game-high 90 rushing yards) scored on a one-yard run and Ward reached the end zone on a nine-yard run that prompted Giants fans to be heard throughout the Dome. Tynes added a fourth-quarter field goal.
●Giants Vs. 49ers, Oct. 21, 2007
The next victory – 33-15 at home over the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 21 - belonged to the defense.
The unit forced four San Francisco turnovers, the most by the Giants’ D since Oct. 26, 2006 at Dallas. The defense scored a touchdown on Umenyiora’s 75-yard return of a Trent Dilfer fumble – one of the Giants’ six sacks of the beleaguered quarterback. The defense also produced takeaways on back-to-back San Francisco snaps in the second quarter, leading to 10 Giants points.
The Giants also scored on a Manning touchdown pass to Toomer, who became the franchise leader with 49 career scoring passes, and Jacobs’ five-yard run. Jacobs rushed for 107 yards.
●Giants at Dolphins, Oct. 28, 2007 (Wembley Stadium)
The Giants made history for the first time in the 2007 season by becoming the first NFL team to win a regular season game outside of North America when they defeated the Miami Dolphins, 13-10, in London’s Wembley Stadium. In a sloppy game played in a persistent downpour on a muddy, chewed-up field – “The worst conditions I’ve ever played in,” Burress said - the Giants won their sixth consecutive game after a 0-2 start, their first six-game winning streak since the final six games of the 1994 season. They were just the second team since 1947 to follow a 0-2 start with six consecutive victories.
The Giants scored on Manning’s 10-yard touchdown run and field goals of 20 and 41 yards by Tynes, the first Scottish-born player in NFL history. Tynes also missed a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Brandon Jacobs set a career high for the second week in a row with 131 rushing yards. The Giants ran for 189 yards.
●Giants Vs. Cowboys, Nov. 11, 2007
On Nov. 11, the Giants returned to action at home against the Cowboys with first place in the NFC East at stake. But the showdown turned into a letdown, as the Giants dropped a 31-20 decision, snapping their six-game winning streak.
Romo threw four touchdown passes – two to Terrell Owens and one apiece to Tony Curtis and Patrick Crayton. Nick Folk kicked a 44-yard field goal for the Cowboys, who outscored the Giants, 14-3, over the last two quarters after a 17-17 halftime tie.
Manning threw a touchdown pass to Shockey, Droughns ran for another score and Tynes kicked two field goals for the Giants. Shockey established a career high with 12 catches and tied another with 129 receiving yards. Manning completed 23 of 34 passes for 236 yards, but was sacked five times. The Giants were penalized three times for delay of game.
●Giants at Lions, Nov. 18, 2007
The Dallas defeat ignited a late-season theme: the Giants struggled at home but ruled the road. They rediscovered their winning edge the next week in Detroit, where they beat the Lions, 16-10. The Giants’ defense stifled a Lions team that entered the game 4-0 with a 31-point scoring average at home. Detroit managed just 25 rushing yards on 11 carries, all by Kevin Jones. Strahan sacked Jon Kitna three times - his first three-sack game since Dec. 21, 2003 - to move into sole possession of fifth place on the NFL’ career list with 140.5. Wilson also had a second-half interception.
●Giants Vs. Vikings, Nov. 25, 2007
The Giants returned home the following week to play their worst game of the season, a 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It was the Giants’ worst defeat since a 31-7 loss in Washington on Dec. 5, 2004 and their biggest loss at home since a 50-21 defeat to the Redskins on Sept. 19, 1999.
Minnesota’s 41 points were the most allowed by the Giants at home since the Redskins’ 50-point outburst more than eight years previously. It was the most points given up by the Giants in any game since Sept. 24, 2006, when they fell in Seattle, 42-30.
Manning endured a long afternoon, completing only 21 of 49 passes. He hit his first three passes of the game, then finished the half by hitting only three of his next 17 throws.
The Giants played without Jacobs (hamstring) and Ward (groin). In their absence, Droughns and rookie Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 75 yards on 19 attempts, a 3.9-yard average.
●Giants at Bears, Dec. 2, 2007
The following week in Chicago, the Giants played the first 50 minutes of the game as if they were on a mission to tighten up the NFC playoff race. They turned the ball over. They squandered scoring opportunities. Manning seemed to have carried the bad karma from the previous week’s loss to Minnesota to the Windy City. Because of all that, they trailed the Bears by nine points midway through the fourth quarter.
Then suddenly, everything changed. Manning got hot. Several other players came through in the clutch. The Giants scored two touchdowns within a span of 5:21 late in the final quarter, including Droughns’ game-winning two-yard run with 1:33 left. After the defense made one last stand, the Giants left Soldier Field with an inspiring and important 21-16 victory.
Manning headed a long list of Giants standouts. Ward returned after a four-game absence to rush for a career-high 154 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. But he fractured his left fibula in the fourth quarter, ending his season. Toomer caught six passes for 69 yards and a score. Six different players participated in the six sacks of Rex Grossman. Mitchell had a team-high 12 tackles (eight solo). Rookie defensive backs Michael Johnson and Craig Dahl played well when called upon.
●Giants at Eagles, Dec. 9, 2007
The road show continued the next week in Philadelphia, where the Giants came from behind to beat the Eagles, 16-13. The game was in many ways a repeat of the Chicago contests. The Giants surrendered a touchdown on their opponent’s first possession, then no more the remainder of the game. They again trailed at halftime. And once again, they couldn’t celebrate their triumph until the opposition failed to convert a scoring attempt on its final play. In Chicago, it had been a pass into the end zone by Rex Grossman. Against the Eagles, it was a 57-yard field goal attempt by David Akers that had the distance, but slammed off the right upright and bounced to the ground, no good. Had it been good, it would have been the longest field goal in history against the Giants.
Burress caught seven passes for 136 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, and Tynes kicked field goals of 19 and two 23-yarders for the Giants.
●Giants Vs. Redskins, Dec. 16, 2007
The Giants returned home with a chance to clinch a playoff berth, but squandered the opportunity with a 22-10 loss to the Redskins. The game was played in chilly blustery conditions, which made it difficult for both teams to pass. Manning and Washington quarterback Todd Collins completed a combined 26 of 75 passes. The Giants were plagued by an unusually high number of drops.
Manning threw 53 passes, tying his career high, and completed only 18. It was the 18th time in Giants history they threw 50 passes, the 16th time with one quarterback. They are 0-18 in those games.
The outcome wasn’t the only bad news of the night for the Giants. Shockey fractured his left fibula with 11:11 remaining in the third quarter when his leg got caught under Toomer as they blocked for Jacobs on a three-yard run
●Giants at Bills, Dec. 23, 2007
The team that never makes life easy for itself stayed true to form the next week in Buffalo, but got exactly what it wanted in the end.
Among other transgressions, the Giants spotted the Bills a 14-0 lead, committed four turnovers, watched Manning fumble five times (losing two) and failed to score a point after a getting a first-and-goal from the one. In the second half they completed one forward pass. Despite all that, the Giants played valiantly in horrible weather conditions. Battling first heavy rains, then freezing rain and finally snow, plus high winds throughout - not to mention the plucky Bills - the Giants prevailed, 38-21, in Ralph Wilson Stadium to clinch their third consecutive postseason berth.
They Giants won with two big quarters. They outscored Buffalo in the second, 17-0, behind Jacobs’ touchdowns runs of six and 43 yards and Tynes’ 42-yard field goal. After the Bills regained the lead in the third, the Giants put the game away by scoring three eye-opening touchdowns in a 21-0 fourth-quarter surge. Two came on interception returns by Mitchell and Webster, sandwiched around an 88-yard score by Bradshaw, the third-longest run in Giants history.
●Giants Vs. Patriots, Dec. 29, 2007
With the fifth seed and a game against Tampa Bay in the NFC playoffs guaranteed, the Giants prepared to face the undefeated Patriots in the regular season finale. The debate outside the locker room was whether the Giants should rest their starters for the first playoff game or go all out and try to win the game and ruin New England’s perfect season. To Tom Coughlin, it was never a question. He plays to win every time he takes the field.
The Giants gave the Patriots all they could handle, taking a 12-point lead in the third quarter before falling, 38-35 – the most points allowed by New England all season.
After the game, the Giants felt both tremendous disappointment and great pride. They were convinced they could play with the Patriots when few others did, a belief that was borne out in the Super Bowl. But to lose the lead and then the game was extremely frustrating.
Manning played an outstanding game for the Giants, tying a career high with four touchdown passes while completing 22 of 32 throws for 251 yards. Burress caught two of the scores, giving him a career-high 12 for the season, and Jacobs and Kevin Boss caught one apiece. Hixon returned a kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown.
For the Patriots, Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Randy Moss, Laurence Maroney ran for two scores and Steve Gostkowski kicked three field goals.
●Giants at Buccaneers, Jan. 6, 2008
NFC Wildcard Game
The Giants opened postseason play at Tampa Bay against the NFC South champion Buccaneers. Carrying their season-long road success into the playoffs, the Giants prevailed, 24-14, breaking a four-game postseason losing streak that began in Super Bowl XXXV – in Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Bucs.
The Giants also won their first playoff road game since the 1990 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco. They defeated Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia, who had beaten them in the playoffs with the 49ers in 2002 and Philadelphia last year.
Jacobs scored two touchdowns for the Giants, one on a five-yard pass, the other on an eight-yard run, Toomer caught a touchdown pass and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 25-yard field goal for the Giants. Jacobs is the first Giants player in history with a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same postseason game.
Manning completed 20 of 27 passes for 185 yards, the two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Giants won a postseason game for the first time with him taking the snaps.
McQuarters clinched the victory by intercepting Garcia with 1:53 left.
●Giants at Cowboys, Jan. 13, 2008
NFC Divisional Playoff Game
The next week the Giants were back in Dallas, where they had lost their season opener, to face a Cowboys team that had twice beaten them. Not this time. The Giants defeated Dallas, 21-17, to become the first team to beat the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the divisional round since the current postseason format (six teams from each conference) was adopted in 1990.
Jacobs’ one-yard touchdown run with 13:29 remaining provided the Giants with the game-winning points. But the victory was not assured until McQuarters intercepted Romo’s pass for Terry Glenn in the end zone with nine seconds remaining. It was the game’s only takeaway.
Manning, who had a career-high 132.4 passer rating after completing 12 of 18 passes for 163 yards, two touchdowns (to Toomer, including a career playoff-long 52-yarder) and no interceptions.
●Giants at Packers, Jan. 20, 2008
NFC Championship Game
A week later, the Giants journeyed to Lambeau Field to face the Packers in the NFC Championship game; the Giants had not played for the conference title since 2000.
The temperature at game time was minus-one degree with winds of 12 miles-an-hour – a numbing wind chill of minus-23. That made it the coldest game in Giants history. The previous coldest game was the 1962 NFL Championship Game – played in Yankee Stadium on Dec. 30, 1962 – when the temperature was 13 degrees with 40 mile-per-hour winds, creating a wind chill of minus-11.
In terms of temperature alone, this was the third-coldest NFL game on record. At the famed Ice Bowl between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys in Lambeau on Dec. 31, 1967, it was 13 below zero at kickoff. In the 1981 Chargers-Bengals AFC Championship Game in Cincinnati, it was nine below.
But the Giants put all that aside to play a splendid, inspired game, winning 23-20 in overtime – their second victory in as many weeks over a team that had defeated them in the 0-2, 80-points-allowed start to the season.
Tynes – who had missed his previous two attempts, including one on the final play of regulation – kicked the game-winning 47-yarder 2:35 into the extra period. It was the first time in the history of Lambeau that a visiting player had kicked a field goal of more than 40 yards in a postseason game. The score was set up by Webster’s interception on the second play of overtime of a Favre pass for Donald Driver, who earlier had burned Webster for a 90-yard touchdown.
“Well, that was some game,” said Coughlin, who had lost his two previous conference championship games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I think the thing that I'm most proud of about this team is the way they hang together, the way they played hard. They never say die. It doesn't matter what the odds are. They just keep scrapping and believing and working to find a way to win.”
Jacobs (one-yard run) and Bradshaw (four-yard run) scored touchdowns. Manning threw a career postseason high 40 passes, completing 21 for 251 yards. Burress set a franchise postseason record with 11 catches, for 154 yards. The old mark of 10 was set by Ike Hilliard in the 2000 NFC Championship Game victory over Minnesota.
Defensively, the Giants held Green Bay to 28 rushing yards, forced Favre into two late interceptions and limited the Packers to one successful third down conversion on 10 tries. The Giants dominated the game statistically, outgaining Green Bay (380-264), rolling up 11 more first downs (24-13) owning the ball for 40:01 to just 22:34 for the Packers.
The victory advanced the Giants to their fourth Super Bowl and their first since a loss to Baltimore in Super Bowl XXXV seven years before. There they faced the Patriots, who had defeated them five weeks earlier and who were trying to become the second unbeaten and untied team in NFL history (joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins). Many NFL experts had already anointed 18-0 New England as the best team in history. Most oddsmakers had installed the Patriots as 12 to 14-point favorites over the Giants. But it was the 14-6 Giants who prevailed in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.
| 2008 |
- When the 2008 NFL season began, the Giants had the Vince Lombardi Trophy on display in their lobby and legions of skeptics and doubters who were convinced they had won it more through luck and timing than skill. A popular refrain was that the Giants had simply become a hot team at the right time in the 2007 playoffs. For evidence, the disbelievers cited the Giants’ stirring Super Bowl XLII victory over the previously-undefeated New England Patriots. When it was time to make predictions for the 2008 season, most prognosticators placed the Giants second or third in the NFC East.
- But the Giants proved them all wrong. No, they didn’t win another Super Bowl. But they did capture the division title and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. They started the season 11-1 and winning 12 regular season games, they became only the fifth defending Super Bowl champion to win more games the season following a championship than they did on their way to winning the title (not counting the strike-shortened 1982 season).
- The Giants achieved their success despite losing several key players from the 2007 championship team, including seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan (retirement), two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee injury suffered in the preseason), four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey (traded to New Orleans) and wide receiver Plaxico Burress, (who did not play in the season’s final month after he was wounded in an accidental shooting).
- The day after the season ended with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game, Coach Tom Coughlin addressed many of the issues that had been raised in training camp.“What I thought I would start with this morning is to think back to last spring and last summer when all of your questions concerned how this team would respond to winning the Super Bowl,” Coughlin said. “Would they be, for lack of a better word, satisfied? Would they be as hungry coming into training camp and beyond training camp as they were in working our way to a Super Bowl championship? I think that our team responded and answered that question. I think we came out, we transitioned, we bridged from the Super Bowl year to the next season very well. Our competitiveness was there, our fire, our attempt to take the success of the Super Bowl season on into the next season was very successful. We were 11-1 and we did come out of camp and play very, very well for a very long time. We, of course, played well and the record stood for that. We didn’t finish the season as well as we would have liked to, but I think we answered the questions of what this team was about."
- “Twelve and five is not a bad season,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “When you set the bar high like that and then all of sudden you get eliminated in the second round it stings. Overall, we had a real good season. It’s not where we want it to be, but we said we wanted to be the organization that put our team in position to win the Super Bowl every year. For the last couple of years we have been able to put our team in position to do that. We fell short this time.”
- The loss to Philadelphia did not mitigate the achievements of a successful regular season. The Giants were one of only two teams to finish in the top nine in both the NFL’s offensive and defensive rankings. They rushed for an NFL-leading and franchise record 2,518 yards and also topped the league with a Giants-best 5.0 yards per carry. The Giants were the first team since 1985 to have two running backs rush for 1,000 yards each (Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward).
- Seven Giants were selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team: Quarterback Eli Manning, center Shaun O’Hara, guard Chris Snee, defensive end Justin Tuck, punter Jeff Feagles and kicker John Carney. Two weeks before the game, long-snapper Zak DeOssie was added as the NFC’s need player.
- Snee and Tuck were named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press and fullback Madison Hedgecock, O’Hara and Carney finished second in the voting at their positions. O’Hara, Hedgecock and defensive tackle Fred Robbins were named first-team All-Pro by Sports Illustrated and O’Hara and Snee were selected to The Sporting News’ All-Pro first team.
- The Giants opened their season at home against NFC East rival Washington in the traditional Thursday night opener showcasing the previous season’s Super Bowl champions. Before the game, the Giants’ three Super Bowl championship teams were honored during an inspiring and exciting pre-game ceremony that featured a surprise appearance by Michael Strahan.
- A huge inflatable replica of the Lombardi Trophy was wheeled out to midfield as the stadium video boards showed highlights from Super Bowls XXI and XXV. Bob Papa, the voice of the Giants, then introduced the players from those teams that were in attendance: Hall of Famer Harry Carson, Stacy Robinson, Karl Nelson, Brad Benson, Bill Ard, Howard Cross, Rodney Hampton, Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks and Mark Bavaro. “Giants Stadium, you thought I was never coming back,” said Strahan, who had announced his retirement three months previously after 15 stellar seasons with the team. “But I had to come back to celebrate the championship with the greatest fans in all of sports. And for one final time, salute my teammates for an incredible championship run. So what I want you to do is, I want you to get on your feet, I want you to make some noise and I want you to be ready to stomp somebody out and welcome the New York Giants Super Bowl champions.
- With that, the 79,742 fans in attendance screamed in delight as the 2008 Giants took the field for the first time. At the other end of the stadium, a championship banner was raised.
| 2009 |
- When the Giants embarked on their 2009 season, the popular belief was that they could succeed because of the strength of a retooled defense, particularly the reinforced front, and a running game that had been the NFL’s best in 2008. If a weakness, or at least a unit with multiple questions, existed, it was the untested group of wide receivers.
- But someone shredded that script when the games began. The defense did not play as well as anticipated and the rushing attack wasn’t as productive as it had been in previous seasons. But the passing game, with Eli Manning having the finest year of his career and record-setting Steve Smith leading a group of receives that exceeded expectations, was the strongest facet of the team.
- The Giants’ fortunes unfolded in a similarly unexpected fashion. Playing their 34th and final season in Giants Stadium, they hoped to win their second consecutive NFC East title and extended their franchise record with a fifth consecutive postseason berth. The journey began smoothly, as the Giants won their first five games. But they soon took a wrong turn, veered completely off course and ultimately hit a dead end. The Giants won just three times after that burst from the gate and finished with an 8-8 record and in third place in the division. They finished out of the playoffs for the first time since Tom Coughlin’s inaugural season as head coach in 2004.
- The Giants were hit by a debilitating series of injuries. Safety Kenny Phillips, their first round draft choice in 2008, played superbly in the first two games but missed the rest of the season because of an arthritic condition i nhis knee that required surgery. Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, a team leader, captain and the top tackler, sat out the final seven games with a bulging disk in his neck. Two of the free agents acquired to strengthen the defense, Chris Canty and Michael Boley, missed significant chunks of the season with injuries. Defensive tackle Jay Alford missed the entire year with a knee injury. Gerris Wilkinson led the team in special teams tackles when he was placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury. Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive end Justin Tuck played hurt ,most of the year and offensive linemen Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie were sidelined at the end of the season with injuries.
- Manning finished the season with 317 completions in 509 attempts (62.3 percent) for 4,021 yards, 27 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a passer rating of 93.1. The completions, percentage, yards, touchdowns and rating were all career highs. Manning is the third quarterback in Giants history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season, joining Kerry Collins (4,073 in 2002) and Phil Simms (4,044 in 1984).
- Smith was first in the NFC and second in the NFL with 107 receptions, 25 more than the franchise’s previous single-season record-holder (Amani Toomer had 82 in 2002) and 50 more than this season’s runner-up, Mario Manningham. Smith’s 1,220 receiving yards were the second-highest total in franchise history. Toomer had 1,343 in 2002. Smith joined Toomer, Plaxico Burress (1,214 yards in 2005) and Homer Jones (1,209 yards in 1967) as the only Giants with 1,200-yard receiving seasons. Smith led the NFL with 38 receptions on third down.
- Manningham had a break through season with 57 catches (in 14 games) and Hakeem Nicks had 47 receptions for 790 yards, both the third-highest total in history among Giants rookies. Nicks’ six touchdown receptions were the most by a Giants rookie since Johnson had seven.
- Center Shaun O’Hara and guard Chris Snee were selected to their second consecutive Pro Bowls and tackle David Diehl to his first. Tight end Kevin Boss had a solid season with 42 catches and five touchdowns. Cornerback Terrell Thomas started every game and led the team with 101 tackles (67 solo). Defensive end Osi Umenyiora returned from the knee surgery that cost him the 2008 season to record a team-high 7.0 sacks, the fifth time in six seasons he has led the team. Kicker Lawrence Tynes scored a career-high 126 points and Chase Blackburn and Bryan Kehl tied for the team lead with 16 special teams tackles.
- The Giants finished with a record of 155-117 in regular season games in Giants Stadium, including 4-4 in 2009. They were 7-4 in postseason games for a total record of 162-121.
- Giants Stadium hosted 477 NFL regular season game played in Giants Stadium, easily the most in league history. Chicago’s Wrigley Field is second with 365.