Baltimore’s Trent Dilfer may have been the least likely quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
Yeah right, back in September you figured Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick were going to be the starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. You and all the other experts.
The list of quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl is a long and glorious one. Many of the game’s greatest QBs have flourished under the bright lights of football’s ultimate game.
Bart Starr, MVP in the first two Super Bowls, kicks off the list. He joins a Hall of Fame Super Bowl QB lineup that includes such legends as Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach. Bob Griese, Dan Marino, John Elway, Troy Aikman, and someday Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Joe Montana was a three-time Super Bowl MVP; Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning have all won two.
And don’t forget Fran Tarkenton, who was the losing quarterback in three Super Bowls and Jim Kelly who topped that with four SB losses. Both are Hall of Famers.
But that list also has some surprises, including this year’s matchup. At least four quarterbacks defied common logic to win Super Bowls. Others got to the Super Bowl, but lost. They are the unlikeliest starting QBs in Super Bowl history.
Jeff Hostetler — A back-up for much of his career, Hostetler stepped into the breech when Phil Simms broke his foot near the end of the season — and piloted the Giants to a dramatic 20-19 win over Buffalo in SB25.
Mark Rypien — The MVP of SB26, Rypien, right, passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins beat Buffalo 37-24. Two years later he was banished to the bench, then to Cleveland. (Hey, try winning with the Browns).
Trent Dilfer — Dilfer played for five teams in a 13-year career and never threw more than 21 TDs in a season. In his one-year with Baltimore he beat the Giants in SB35 despite a pedestrian 12 for 25, 153-yard effort
Brad Johnson — A ninth round draft pick out of Florida State, Johnson did throw for 166 TDs in an otherwise mediocre career. Helped by three pick sixes by the Tampa Bay defense, he led the Bucs to their only SB victory in 2003.
Vince Ferragamo — He threw 30 TD passes and led the Los Angeles Rams to SB14 in 1980, where they lost to Pittsburgh 31-19. Ferragamo had a decent game in what turned out to be the high point of his career.
David Woodley — Woodstock as he was affectionately known in South Florida. was 4-for-14 for a mere 97 yards in Miami’s 27-17 loss to the Redskins in SB17. Two years later Dan Marino arrived. End of story.
Stan Humphries — Perhaps the most unlikely starter in Super Bowl history, Humphries’ Chargers were victimized by the 49ers, 49-26, in SB29. Three years later he was out of the league.
Chris Chandler — Chandler had a long NFL career, but never came close to equalling his 1998 season when he threw 25 TD passes and took the Falcons to their only Super Bowl.
Rex Grossman — Only once in his career (in 2006 when he threw 23 as the Bears advanced to SB41) did Grossman throw more than 16 TD passes in a season. Oh yes, Chicago lost to the Colts.
Craig Morton — In SB5 with the Cowboys, Morton, left, was 12-for-26 with three interceptions. In SB12 with Denver against his former team he was worse, 4-for-15 with four INTs. He finished his career with more picks (187) than TDs (183).
Joe Kapp — A CFL refugee who played four years in the NFL, Kapp was the QB when the Vikings lost to the Chiefs, 23-7, in SB4. Although he threw just 40 career TD passes, he had a record-tying seven in one game in 1969.
Jim McMahon — His Bears won SB20 over the Patriots, but the storyline was Chicago’s relentless defense. McMahon never threw more TDs than the 15 he tossed in 1985.
Tony Eason — He started SB20 for the Patriots against the Bears, but after failing to connect on any of his five passes he was relieved by Steve Grogan.
Jake Dolhomme — Delhomme passed for 323 yards and three TDs in SB38 as his Panthers lost to the Patriots. It was all uphill from there for Jake.
Neil O’Donnell — He threw three picks helping the Cowboys beat the Steelers in SB30. Then he made the mistake of leaving for the Jets and….oh well
Coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant of Alabama and Ara Parseghian of Notre Dame met before the 1973 Sugar Bowl, the last time the Crimson Tide faced the Irish with a title on the line.
When Alabama and Notre Dame square off for the BCS championship on January 7, they will be playing for college football supremacy — not only for the 2012 season but for all time. Since the Associated Press began ranking team in 1936, Bama and ND have each finished number one eight times, more than any other school. Overall, the two schools have combined for 25 national titles, 14 by Alabama.
Going into this year’s BCS championship game, the Lou Saban led Crimson Tide have won two of the last three BCS titles. Meanwhile, the Irish last ranked first in the AP poll under Lou Holtz in 1988.
Notre Dame has won five of six meetings with Alabama. Their very first meeting, on New Year’s Eve 1973, was one of the most famous games in college football history. Both the Tide and the Irish entered the Sugar Bowl at Tulane University in New Orleans with undefeated records. Alabama was ranked number one by both the AP and UPI (Coaches poll), with Notre Dame in the top four in both polls. Legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryan and Ara Parseghian were meeting for the first time.
In a preview story, Sports Illustrated said: If ever there was a bowl game made in heaven…it is Alabama vs. Notre Dame. And before the game, ABC broadcaster Howard Cosell said: “At Notre Dame football is a religion; at Alabama it’s a way of life.”
A 93-yard kickoff return by Al Hunter in the second quarter sparked the Irish to a 14-10 halftime lead. Early in the fourth, Alabama scored on a trick play — a 25-yard touchdown pass to backup quarterback Richard Todd, to go in front 23-21. But kicker Bill Davis mixed the extra point and that would prove costly.
Notre Dame got a field goal to take the lead with a little more than four minutes remaining. Shortly after, the Irish were backed up on their own 3-yard line, but quarterback Tom Clemens connected on a 35-yard pass to reserve wide receiver Robin Weber on a third and long. That got ND out of trouble,and the Irish held on for the victory. Notre Dame was voted national champion by the AP but Alabama won the UPI Coaches poll. .
The teams met the next year in the Orange Bowl, and ninth-ranked Notre Dame edged second-ranked Alabama 13-11 in Parseghian’s final game. Alabama’s only win in the series was a 28-0 victory in 1986. ND and Bama last met in 1987, and the Irish ran away with a 37-6 win in South Bend.
History lesson: If you consider 1936 as the beginning of the modern era in college football, as most experts do, Alabama and Notre Dame are kings with eight number one rankings apiece. Oklahoma has won seven and USC and Miami five apiece. Going back to the beginning of college football in 1869, Princeton claims 28 national championships and Yale 26. Princeton won the last of those championships in 1950.
Jim Brown, perhaps the greatest running back in NFL history, did not win a Heisman.
Winning the Heisman Trophy is a tremendous honor. It may be the most important individual award in sports — certainly at the collegiate level. Yet it hardly guarantees a seat at the NFL head table.
Consider this — what do Jimmy Brown, Joe Montana, below right, Johnny Unitas, Walter Payton and Peyton Manning have in common? None of them won a Heisman Trophy. Neither did Jerry Rice or Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White.
All of them are listed in the top 10 of the NFL Network’s 100 greatest players in NFL history, a list compiled by a blue ribbon panel of current and former NFL coaches, players, executives, and media.
The first Heisman Trophy winner on the NFL top 100 list was 1988 winner Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State, ranked 17th. Only five others on that list were Heisman Trophy winners:
40. OJ Simpson (USC, 1968)
46. Roger Staubach (Navy, 1963)
55. Earl Campbell (Texas, 1977)
77. Tony Dorsett (Pitt, 1976)
85. Marcus Allen (USC, 1981)
Only eight of the 78 Heisman winners are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – the six above plus Doak Walker (SMU, 1948) and Paul Hornung (Notre Dame. 1956)
A total of 19 Heisman winners were the first pick in the NFL draft, including the first winner — halfback Jack Berwanger of the University of Chicago, the first player to be drafted by the NFL in its inaugural draft in 1936. Traded from the Eagles to the Bears, Berwanger opted not to sign in order to preserver his amateur status and compete for a spot on the US Olympic team in the decathlon.
And since 1986, only three Heisman Trophy winners were number one picks in the NFL draft — Carson Palmer of USC in 2002, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma in 2008 and Cam Newton of Aubun in 2010.
Only three Super Bowl MVPs were Heisman winners — Staubach, Allen and Jim Plunkett, the only quarterback to start and win two Super Bowls and not make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Perhaps one day recent Heisman winners like Cam Newton (Auburn, 2010) and Robert Griffin III (Baylor 2011) will gain NFL immortality. And this year’s winner, Johnny Manziel (Johnny Football) from Texas A&M, is just a freshman. But it’s still way too early to make that call.
Alex Webster bulls his way into the end zone as the Giants trounce the Bears 47-7 in the 1956 NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium.
There are wins and there are routs. Blowouts. Total domination. The New York Giants have experienced their fair share of gridiron glory in the 87 years since Tim Mara brought pro football to New York in 1925 — including four Super Bowls and eight NFL championships overall
Here are the biggest of the big, the 10 most dominant wins in Giants history.
1. Giants 47, Bears 7, 1956 — The Giants cap off their first season in Yankee Stadium by crushing the Bears in the NFL Championship game. Alex Webster runs for a pair of touchdowns and Charlie Conerly throws TD passes to Frank Gifford and Kyle Rote as New York races to a 34-7 halftime lead and wins easily.
2. Giants 41, Vikings 0, 2001 — Quarterback Kerry Collins tosses a club playoff record five TD passes to lead the Giants past Minnesota in what remains the largest shutout margin ever recorded in an NFC Championship game.
3. Giants 49, 49ers 3, 1987 — Phil Simms, right, throws four TD passes, Joe Morris runs for two, and Lawrence Taylor takes a Joe Montana pass to the house as the Giants rout San Francisco in the divisional round en route to the first Super Bowl in team history.
4. Giants 48, Browns 7, 1959 — Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote and Alex Webster all score touchdowns as the G-Men build a 48-0 lead and roll to the Eastern Conference championship.
5. Giants 53, Redskins 0. 1961 – Y.A. Tittle connects with Del Shofner for three TDs, linemen Dick Modzelewski and Jim Katcavage record safeties, and the Giants outgain the Redskins 383-82.
6. Giants 36, Redskins 0, 2005 — In their first game since the death of beloved owner Wellington Mara, Brandon Jacobs, Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey all score touchdowns and Jay Feely kicks five field goals in a shutout at the Meadowlands.
7. Giants 62, Eagles 10, 1972 — Norm Snead throws three TD passes and Randy Johnson two and Ron Johnson runs for a pair of scores as the Giants post the most points in team history.
8. Giants 56, Eagles 0, 1933 — Led by Hall of Famers coach Steve Owen, left, and fullback Ken Strong, along with passing leader Harry Newman, the Giants rout Philadelphia at the Polo Grounds in the first meeting ever between the two teams.
9. Giants 33, Browns 6, 1963 — The Giants roll into Cleveland and rout the previously unbeaten Browns behind four Don Chandler field goals. Adding insult to injury, the Giants block the extra point after a late Cleveland touchdown.
10. Giants 49, Packers 3, 1948 — Charlie Conerly throws for three TDs and runs for a fourth score as the Giants overcome an early 3-0 Packer lead with seven straight touchdowns in Green Bay.
NFL’s greatest moment: Johnny Unitas passes the Colts past the Giants in the 1958 championship game. The game was watched by a national television audience and signified the rise of professional football.
A panel of football writers, historians and other experts recently selected the 11 greatest moments in pro football history for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary book. The only criterion was that the moment had to have an enduring impact on the game.
The top three moments occurred during a three-year period in the late 50s and early 60s, led by the Colts-Giants championship game in 1958. The league’s founding and pro football’s first marquee star were ranked fourth and fifth respectively. And the final four moments took place during a four-year span that began with the AFL/NFL merger and ended with the advent of Monday Night Football in 1970.
The beauty of these lists is that fans can easily come up with dozens of other candidates. You could make a strong argument for moments like the rules changes in 1933 that opened up the forward pass, the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and the Giants Super Bowl victory over the unbeaten Patriots in 2008.
11 players on a side, 11 top events; Here’s the list:
1. The 1958 NFL Championship Game — The Colts beat the Giants 23-17 in sudden death overtime in what is often referred to as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Soon after, pro football exploded on the American scene.
2. The formation of the American Football League, 1959 — Lamar Hunt, a 26-year-old Texas oil man, along with eight original owners. announced plans for a new professional football league, the AFL, to begin play in 1960.
3. Pete Rozelle named commissioner, 1960 — After 23 ballots failed to produce a new leader following the death of long-time czar Bert Bell, NFL owners selected the relatively unknown GM of the Rams. Rozelle, right, became the visionary behind the Super Bowl.
4. The formation of the National Football League, 1920 — The league’s organizational meeting was held in the showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hays Hupmobile dealership. The American Professional Football Association quickly became the NFL.
5. Red Grange turns pro, 1925 — The Bears signed the nation’s biggest star, who made his pro debut five days after his final collegiate game at the University of Illinois. Several weeks later, Grange drew 70,000 fans to a game against the Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York.
6. The first NFL draft, 1936 — Bert Bell’s innovative idea to help the weaker teams in the league was instituted, and Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger was the first pick. Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles and traded to the Bears, Berwanger decided not to play
7. The reintegration of pro football, 1946 — Pro football had a color barrier from 1934-46, when the Rams signed Kenny Washington and Woody Strode and the Browns signed Marion Motley, left, and Bill Willis — a year before Jackie Robinson’s debut in Brooklyn.
8. Monday Night Football, 1970 — The first Monday night game, between the Browns and the Jets, televised on ABC, kicked off a weekly tradition and changed the viewing habits of a nation.
9. Super Bowl III, 1969 — In one of the greatest upsets in sports history, Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed victory, then delivered in a 16-7 win over the Colts that put the AFL on the map.
10. The Ice Bowl, 1967 — The Packers beat the Cowboys 21-17 in arctic-like conditions in the Green Bay in the last game that Vince Lombardi ever coached at Lambeau Field.
11. The AFL/NFL merger, 1966 — The two rival leagues announced a phased merger, which called for an annual world championship game (later known as the Super Bowl) and full integration by 1970.
It’s a story that began more than 40 years ago at a small Jesuit liberal arts college in New England. The tapestry includes the United States Supreme Court, a Pulitzer Prize and the unbeaten 1972 Miami Dolphins.
In Fraternity, Diane Brady, a journalist for BusinessWeek, writes about five African American men who arrived at the College of the Holy Cross during the racially tense time of the late 60s and early 70s, and went on to great success in life. Brady describes the bonds between these men and their peers, and their connection with the Rev. John E. Brooks, later the President of Holy Cross, who convinced them to study at the college atop Mount St. James in Worcester, Mass.
The Fraternity five adorn the cover of the book. One of them, Eddie Jenkins, was a member of that perfect Dolphin team. The others are Jenkins’ HC roommate and star litigator Ted Wells ’72; Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ’71; Pulitzer-Prize winning author of the novel The Known World; Ed Jones ’72; and former New York City deputy mayor and investment banker Stan Grayson ’72, who also played three years for the HC basketball team.
Jenkins, a running back, attended high school at St. Francis Prep in Brooklyn. He played in just three freshman games at HC before breaking a rib. All but two games of his sophomore season were wiped out because of the hepatitis outbreak which quarantined the entire team and forced cancellation of the remainder of the 1969 schedule.
The Crusaders were 0-10-1 in 1970, a UConn tie the only saving grace. But in a game at Boston University that year, Jenkins was on the receiving end of the longest pass play in HC history, a 99-yard touchdown completion from Colin Clapton. In that same game, Joe Wilson, who later played for the Bengals and the Patriots, set a school record with a 94-yard touchdown run.
Eddie Jenkins played in just 20 games at Holy Cross, and his teams won seven. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 11th round (285th overall) of the 1972 NFL draft. Jenkins sat below names like Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and Jim Kiick on the Dolphin depth chart, and saw action as a special teams player.
Super Bowl Champions
He was on the field in the Los Angeles Coliseum, wearing #28, Dolphin aqua and orange, when Miami won the Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins and finished 17-0.
“We didn’t know it was going to be a perfect season,” Jenkins told the Worcester Telegram years later. “It just kept building. Honest, it was game by game. No one ever thought about this perfect season.”
After sitting out the 1973 season, Jenkins played for the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and New York Giants in 1974. Following his NFL career, Jenkins studied law at Suffolk. He formerly worked in private practice, as a prosecutor, a labor lawyer,and later in several Commonwealth of Massachusetts executive positions. He is currently MassDOT’s chief diversity and civil rights officer.
Jenkins has two children. His son Julian, a former defensive end at Stanford, played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006.
SportsLifer Note: 1969-70 was my freshman year at the Cross. In December, 65 black students took a stand, threw down their student IDs and quit Holy Cross to protest a racially-tinged college ruling. Throughout the school year there were anti-Vietnam protest marches, the tragedy of Kent State and second semester closings at universities across the county, and a concert by The Who in the Holy Cross fieldhouse, just weeks after Woodstock. The HC football team was 0-2, losing to Harvard and Dartmouth before hepatitis hit.
Data is everywhere today. But it’s turning that data into useful, real-time information that makes all the difference.
To that point, IBM is working with the Miami Dolphins to enhance the overall fan experience for sports, music and media at Sun Life Stadium
By using analytics technology from IBM, the Dolphins are transforming Sun Life into a state-of-the-art entertainment destination.
The Dolphins will have a complete interconnected view of stadium activity — from weather alerts, to security to traffic flow into and around the stadium — allowing them to predict and act according to real-time events.
Those same analytics will allow the Dolphins to analyze visitor spending habits on concessions, merchandise and dining services to see through the eyes of the fan. They’ll be able to predict consumer preferences for both current and future events, helping to reduce inefficiencies and ultimately costs.
Sun Life is using IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, supported on the IBM SmartCloud, to address the logistical and management challenges facing the stadium staff.
“Stadiums such as Sun Life have become microcosms of cities with similar requirements for services such as water, energy, transportation, communication and public safety,” said Gerry Mooney, GM, IBM Smarter Cities. “IBM is working around the world to make stadiums smarter by infusing intelligent automation that senses and acts to improve conditions including rerouting traffic, predicting overflows, ensuring public safety and preventing outages.”
The Dolphins and Sun Life will also be able to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to engage with fans both locally in South Florida and around the world.
Now if only the Dolphins could use analytics technology to find their way back to the football prowess they experienced when they won their last Super Bowl nearly 40 years ago.
Quarterbacks Tom Brady, left,and Eli Manning of the Giants have been there, done that.
Here are 10 similarities between the two New York Giants Super Bowl runs, in 2007 and 2011:
1. In 2007 the Giants lost to the undefeated Patriots in the regular season. In 2011, the Giants lost to the undefeated Packers in the regular season. The final score of each game was 38-35.
2. In the 14th game of the 2007 season, the Giants lost to the Redskins 22-10. In the 14th game of the 2011 season, the Giants lost to the Redskins 23-10.
3. The Giants won playoff games on the frozen turf of Green Bay’s Lambeau field in 2007 and 2011.
4. The Giants won both the 2007 and 2011 NFC Championships games on field goals by Lawrence Tynes in overtime; beating the Packers and the 49ers respectively.
5. Without a first-round bye, the Giants won four consecutive playoff games in each Super Bowl run.
6. Eli Manning was the MVP in both Super Bowl wins (XLII and XLVI) against the Patriots.
7. Justin Tuck had two sacks of Tom Brady in each game.
8. Each game-winning, late fourth quarter Giant drive was sparked by an outstanding passing play,Manning to David Tyree in 2007 and then Manning to Mario Manningham in 2011.
9. In each Super Bowl, Manning vs. Brady was the quarterback matchup. In fact, Super Bowl XLVI marked only the third time in history that quarterbacks who had won previous Super Bowls faced off. Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and Dallas’ Roger Staubach met in 1976 and again in 1979.
10. Tom Coughlin of the Giants and Bill Belichick, each of whom served as assistants to Bill Parcells when the Giants won Super Bowl XXV, matched wits in both games. Super Bowl XLVI marked only the fourth time in history that coaches who had won previous Super Bowls met, joining Bill Walsh (49ers) and Don Shula (Dolphins), 1985, and Chuck Noll (Steelers) and Tom Landy (Cowboys), 1976 and 1979.
Jeremy Lin made a huge jump, graduating from Harvard to achieve NBA celebrity status.
In less than two weeks, Jeremy Lin has gone from the Erie BayHawks in the D-League to LIN-finity and beyond.
He’s burst upon the scene like a supernova, eclipsing out-of-the-box scoring records legends like Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe and others in the process. Jeremy is a LIN-ternational celebrity.
This kind of breakthrough is extremely rare in professional sports, where prospects are pampered, primed and projected before they’re old enough to shave.
Very few athletes slip through the cracks and become household names as quickly as Jeremy Lin.
And no, Tim Tebow doesn’t qualify. Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida, a football powerhouse. That’s a lot different than undrafted Jeremy Lin from Harvard.
Another invalid compare is Steve Nash, the veteran 16-year point guard for the Phoenix Suns. Nash, like Lin, thrived in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. But unlike Lin, he was a first round pick in the NBA draft.
Here are some other rising sports starts through the years, LIN-instant hits so to speak. Some went on to long and glorious careers, others flamed out as suddenly as they appeared.
John Starks bagged groceries for a time after high school and played for three junior colleges. He went undrafted out of Oklahoma State, and like Lin spent one year at Golden State before signing with the Knicks in 1990,
Starks, right, broke his arm in practice attempting to dunk over Patrick Ewing. Eventually he became a starter at shooting guard and made the NBA All-Star team in 1994.
That year, the Knicks made the NBA Finals, where they lost Game 7 to the Houston Rockets when Starks shot 2-for-18.
Long-time Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan, who recently announced he is retiring following the London Olympics, compared Lin to Billy Ray Bates.
A third-round pick from Kentucky State in the 1978 NBA draft, Bates was cut by the Rockets, but emerged two years later with the Portland Trailblazers.
Bates went on to have two solid seasons with Portland, but by 1983 his career was finished.
Considered one of the best undrafted players of all time, Kurt Warner was cut by the Packers in 1994 and wound up stocking grocery shelves for $5.50 an hour in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Warner also played Arena League football and was a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Northern Iowa, before joining the St. Louis Rams in 1998.
One year later, Warner passed for a record 414 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP when the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans.
Warner was a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001) and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. He still holds the top three passing yardage records for the Super Bowl.
Several pitchers achieved instant star status, including Mark “The Bird” Fidrych of the 1976 Tigers and Fernando Valenzuela of the 1981 Dodgers. Valenzuela won both the National League Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards, and finished his career in 1997, 173 victories later.
Fidrych, left, won 19 games and was named American League Rookie of the Year. He would win just 10 more times before he career ended in 1980.
That same year, Joe Charboneau broke in with the Cleveland Indians, and was voted AL Rookie of the Year after belting 23 home runs and batting .289. He wound up playing just 70 more games in the majors, his career finished in 1982 before his 27th birthday.
Kevin Mass made a big splash with the Yankees in 1990 when he hit 10 homers in his first 72 at bats, the best start in baseball history. Clearly a one-hit wonder, Maas was shuffling between the majors and minors two years later, and wound up playing in Japan.
Another Yankee outfielder, Shane Spencer, “The Home Run Dispenser,” had a brilliant September in 1998 for a World Championship team. However, Spencer never lived up to the promise of that meteoric start.
Bob “Hurricane” Hazle had an amazing start with the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, hitting .403 as a late call-up to help his club win the National League pennant. A year later, he was out of baseball.
Don Murdoch scored eight goals for the Rangers in his first three games, including five in one game. He was on a pace to set the single-season rookie goal-scoring record when an ankle injury ended his year. During the off-season he was busted for cocaine possession, and suspended by the NHL.
Murdoch played 320 career games, but never came close to living up to the promise of his first season,
Ahmad Bradshaw backs into the end zone to score perhaps the most unusual touchdown in Super Bowl history as the Giants beat the Patriots for the second time in four years.
The New York Giants have been involved in more dramatic big games than any other team in NFL history. From three classic Super Bowls to overtime NFC Championships to “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the Giants have given New York fans (and football fans everywhere) a full load of fantastic finishes.
In the past 25 years, the Giants are 4-1 in Super Bowls and 5-0 in NFC Championship games. Six of those games came down to the final play…..and the Giants won ‘em all.
Here are the 10 most exciting big games in New York Football Giants history:
1. Giants 17, Patriots 14, Super Bowl XLII, 2008 — Sparked by an impossible catch by David Tyree, Eli Manning then hits Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining as the Giants knock off previously unbeaten 18-0 New England in a huge upset.
2. Giants 20, Bills 19, Super Bowl XXV, 1991 — Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal sails wide right at the finish and the Giants, behind backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler and MVP Ottis Anderson, defeat the heavily-favored Bills in the closest game in Super Bowl history.
3. Giants 21, Patriots 17, Super Bowl XLVI, 2012 — Ahmad Bradshaw backs into the end zone for the winning touchdown with 57 seconds left and Tom Brady’s Hail Mary pass fails to connect as the Giants win their fourth Super Bowl and eighth NFL championship.
4. Giants 23, Packers 20,OT, NFC Championship, 2008 — Lawrence Tynes, right, who earlier had missed two field goals, kicks a 47-yarder in overtime to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in one of the coldest games in football history.
5. Giants 20, 49ers 17, OT, NFC Championship, 2012 — It’s a case of deja blue all over again. Following a fumbled punt, Lawrence Tynes kicks the Giants into the Super Bowl with a 31-yard field goal in rainy San Francisco.
6. Giants 15, 49ers 13, NFC Championship, 1991 — Matt Bahr makes a 42-yard field goal at the final gun following a fumble recovery by Lawrence Taylor as the Giants end San Francisco’s dreams of a three-peat.
7. Giants 13, Browns 10, 1958 — Pat Summerall’s 49-yard field goal in a driving snowstorm, below left, gives the Giants a victory and a share of the NFL East title. The Giants beat Cleveland 10-0 in a playoff the following week, but, then lose to the Colts in the NFL Championship game.
8. Giants 13, Cowboys 10, OT, 1981 — Joe Danelo’s field goal — and a Jets win over the Packers the next day — propels the Giants into the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. They go on to beat the Eagles before losing to the 49ers.
9. Giants 23, Packers 17, NFL Championship, 1938 — Trailing 17-16 in the fourth quarter, the Giants rally as former MLB umpire Hank Soar makes a leaping catch of Ed Danowski’s pass for the winning touchdown.
10. Giants 17, Browns 13, 1950 — The Giants trail 13-3 at the half before rallying on touchdown runs by Forrest Griffith and Joe Scott to beat the Browns, who had arrived from the All-America Football Conference to dominate the NFL in their first year..
You Can’t Win Em All
Naturally, the Giants have suffered some heartbreaking losses as well, Setbacks to the Jets in 1988 and the Eagles in 2010 knocked them out of playoff spots. Then there was an overtime loss to the Cowboys in the final game of the 1993 regular season that cost New York the NFC East crown.
And who can forget the “The Miracle at the Meadowlands” in 1978 when Philadelphia’s Herm Edwards returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Giants failed to take a knee and run out the clock.
Here are the Giants five most dramatically horrifying playoff losses:
1. Colts 23, Giants 17, OT, NFL Championship, 1958 — In “The Greatest Game Ever Played” quarterback Johnny Unitas sparks a fourth-quarter rally and Alan Amache scores the winning touchdown Baltimore prevails at Yankee Stadium. It remains the only NFL championship game ever to be decided in overtime.
2. 49ers, Giants 38, NFC wild card round, 2003 — The 49ers overcome a 24-point deficit to win in the second greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.
3. Vikings 23, Giants 22, wild card round, 1997 — Minnesota overcomes 19-3 halftime deficit and scores 10 points in last 1:30 to win a wild card playoff matchup.
4. Bears 23, Giants 21, NFL Championship, 1933 —The Bears tally a late touchdown on trick play to win the first NFL Championship game.
5. Rams 19, Giants 13, OT, NFC divisional round, 1990 — Flipper Anderson catches a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jim Everett as Los Angeles upset the Giants in the Meadowlands.