The Giant Insider Online

Giants’ Mount Rushmore: Who Belongs on the Mountain? Part Three

If you were going to commission a New York Giants’ version of Mount Rushmore, who would be the four faces you’d put up there? That’s a tough task, considering the franchise has been in existence for 93 years, has 31 Hall of Famers associated with it has and retired the numbers of twelve players.

I narrowed it down by throwing a ton of names on the wall and see who stuck. The criteria was also simplified by favoring players who played for the club exclusively during their careers and yes, longevity counts. Throw in the individual’s overall persona and standing in league history.

To make it clearer, I decided to not look back any further than the 1950s because football was different game until the Paul Brown era and I don’t really consider it the same game. The ball was rounder before then, the rules were much different and so were tactics and strategies.

This is the first part of a four-part series. The first three posts will consist of honorable mentions with the final piece revealing the four face of New York Giants Football.

In Part One, we revealed three Honorable Mention candidates: LB Sam Huff, OT Rosey Brown and QB Charley Conerly.

In Part Two, we revealed four more Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Patton, Andy Robustelli, Tiki Barber and Y.A. Tittle. In this piece, the third of a four-part series we present four more honorable mentions.

LB Harry Carson

If there was one player who deserved to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XXI, it was Carson. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL Draft out of South Carolina State and was the centerpiece of the Giants’ defense for the next 13 seasons. Harry led the club in tackles five seasons and served as defensive captain for ten. He was named to nine Pro Bowls, made first team All-Pro twice and second team four times. Carson was the leader of great linebacker groups that included Lawrence Taylor, Brad Van Pelt, Brian Kelley and Carl Banks. Bill Belichick said Carson was the best all-around linebacker her ever coached. Harry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Giants’ Ring of Honor in 2010.

Punter Dave Jennings

A punter as the face of the franchise? Sounds crazy, but if you were around in the late 70s-early 80s and remember Jennings, you’ll know it’s not. What the Raiders’ Ray Guy was to the AFC, Jennings was to the NFC. Guy is in the Hall of Fame and he had nothing over Jennings other than he was on a better team. Jennings was named to the Pro Bowl four times and All-Pro twice, playing 11 years for the Giants and three for the Jets. At the time of Jennings’ retirement in 1987, his 47,567 punting yards were the most in NFL history. He was associated with the Giants’ organization for more than 30 years, coming back after his playing career to work as a broadcaster. He was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor in 2011 and passed away at age 61 in 2013.

QB Phil Simms

No introduction needed for this man who led the Giants to their first NFL Championship in 30 years in 1986. Simms went through five turbulent seasons after being selected by the Giants in the first round out of Morehead State in 1979. Injuries and poor play plagued him early on but by 1984, he was cemented in as the team’s starting QB. Simms only made the Pro Bowl twice but accolades do not tell the story of his career. The Giants, under Bill Parcells, were a run-first team and put the shackles on Simms once the team got the lead in games. His performance in Super Bowl XXI was legendary and record-setting and thrust him into stardom. As far as this writer goes, there were few, if any, tougher guys or better passers than Simms in his era. His number 11 is appropriately retired and he is one of the team’s first names enshrined in the Ring of Honor.

DB Emlen Tunnell

Tunnell was clearly one of the best players in the 93-year existence of the New York Giants and his accomplishments are quite impressive. He was a six-time All-Pro and a nine-time Pro Bowler. When he retired from the game, Tunnell held several NFL records including interceptions, interception return yards, punt returns, punt return yardage and consecutive games played. Tunnell was the first African-American to play for the Giants and also the first elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After a college career that took him from Toledo to the Coast Guard to the University of Iowa, Tunnell tried out for the Giants in 1948 and what a find he was. He played 11 seasons for Big Blue before being traded to Green Bay in 1959, where ehe joined Vince Lombardi’s Packers until his retirement in 1961. After his career, Tunnell returned to the Giants as a scout and coach. He died of a heart attack in 1975 at age 51 at the Giants’ practice facility in Pleasantville. He was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor in 2010.

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