New York Giants Team History
history and tradition of the New York Giants is linked to pro
football itself for one might have perished without the other
in the early days of the National Football League. The late
Tim Mara, now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, purchased
a franchise for $500 in 1925 and before the Giants' first season
had ended, he had invested another $25,000 to keep the franchise
alive. A team in New York was thus assured. To a young NFL that
was seeking national media and fan attendance, a team in the
nation's largest city was an absolute must.
The value of New York exposure was clearly demonstrated in December
of the first season when more than 70,000 turned out at the
Polo Grounds to see the Giants play the Chicago Bears, who had
just signed Red Grange, the most famous pro football player
of the 1920s.
The very next season (1926), Grange and his agent formed a rival
American Football League and placed their flagship team, the
Yankees, in New York to battle the Giants head-to-head. It proved
to be a costly battle but the Giants and the NFL won. The AFL
lasted only one year.
In their third season in 1927, the Giants won their first NFL
championship behind a defense led by tackle Steve Owen that
permitted an all-time low of 20 points in 13 games. Owen became
the Giants' coach in 1930. He held the job for 23 seasons and
wound up with a 153-108-17 record. He still ranks ninth in all-time
coaching victories. The Giants enjoyed some of their finest
seasons during the Owen years. Beginning with the start of divisional
play in 1933, the Giants won eight Eastern division titles in
14 seasons and NFL championships in 1934 and 1938. Ken Strong,
a triple-threat halfback and a premier placekicker, and Mel
Hein, a center-linebacker who didn't miss a game in 15 seasons,
were Giants standouts through most of the 1930s and 1940s.
With the coaching of first Jim Lee Howell in the late 1950s
and Allie Sherman in the early 1960s, the Giants won the NFL
title in 1956 and six NFL Eastern championships in eight years
from 1956 to 1963. Such stars as Y. A. Tittle, Frank Gifford,
Roosevelt Brown, Emlen Tunnell and Andy Robustelli led New York's
annual chase to the title game. From 1964 to 1985, the Giants
remained out of championship contention. With Bill Parcells
at the helm, they won NFC Eastern division crowns in 1986, 1989
and 1990. They concluded the 1986 and 1990 campaigns with victories
over Denver in Super Bowl XXI and Buffalo in Super Bowl XXV.
From the start, the Giants have been a family enterprise. Founder
Tim Mara's sons, Jack and Wellington, succeeded him and Tim
Mara II served for many years as the club's vice president.
Wellington Mara and Preston Robert Tisch, who purchased 50 percent
of the club in 1991, are now co-chief executive officers.