December 3, 2020

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The Post dives in and ranks the 100 best all-time…

12 min read
The Post dives in and ranks the 100 best all-time...


The NFL’s 100th anniversary season compelled our esteemed Post panel to watch tape until their eyes bled to compile our top 100 list of all-time Giants and Jets.

Each member of our crack staff submitted a top 50 list, and Associate Sports Editor Mark Hale, using a point system (see Methodology explanation at end of story), tabulated the results with no witnesses from the accounting firm Ernst & Young.

The competition was fierce, and feel free to rail at us if one of your favorites (Victor Cruz? Chad Pennington?) failed to make the cut. Or send us your list.

1. Lawrence Taylor, OLB, Giants, 1981-93
No one was feared more than the NFL’s greatest defensive player who revolutionized the outside linebacker position.

2. Joe Namath, QB, Jets, 1965-76
The Guarantee, the Fu Manchu, the fur coat, the Johnnie Walker Red, the blondes, the knees, the arm, the release. … Broadway Joe’s star power helped cement the AFL-NFL merger.

3. Frank Gifford, RB, WR, Giants, 1952-64
The Ultimate Giant and handsome Golden Boy was a natural because of his hands and instincts, and was a Pro Bowler at three different positions on his way to Canton.

4. Roosevelt Brown, LT, Giants, 1953-65
A sleeper 27th-round draft pick out of Morgan State with a 29-inch waist who became a nine-time Pro Bowler.

Michael Strahan
Michael StrahanAP

5. Michael Strahan, DE, Giants, 1993-2007
A gap-toothed technician and great leader who used savvy and leverage to establish the single-season sack record (22.5) in 2001 and record 141.5 overall.

6. Sam Huff, MLB, Giants, 1956-63
His headhunting collisions with Jim Brown, Jim Taylor and Alan Ameche were all part of the Violent World of Sam Huff.

7. Harry Carson, ILB, Giants, 1976-88
An enforcer at the point of attack, the revered captain endured a culture of losing early and 15 concussions to make it to Canton.

8. Curtis Martin, RB, Jets, 1998-2006
Never the best athlete, but had an indomitable will that enabled him to play injured and become a rushing champion at age 31.

9. Emlen Tunnell, S, Giants, 1948-58
The Giants’ first African-American was a gamebreaker in the umbrella defense secondary and when he wasn’t returning punts and kickoffs as an eight-time Pro Bowler.

10. Andy Robustelli, DE, Giants, 1956-64
The Giants’ E.F. Hutton — a quiet, durable leader who wreaked havoc with his quickness as a 230-pound DE.

11. Joe Klecko, DL, Jets, 1977-87
Undersized and overlooked out of Temple, his quickness and power made him unblockable as an All-Pro at three different positions.

12. Eli Manning, QB, Giants, 2004-present
Greatest Giants quarterback, two Super Bowl MVPs, started 210 consecutive games after taking over from Kurt Warner during his rookie season.

13. Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets, 2007-12, 2015-16
Left receivers stranded on Revis Island when he wasn’t the king of leverage at the negotiating table.

14. Mel Hein, C/LB, Giants, 1931-45
Old Indestructible never missed a game at center and linebacker in 15 seasons. A 10-year captain who earned All-Pro honors eight straight seasons from 1933-40.

15. Kevin Mawae, C, Jets, 1998-2005
A Bill Parcells favorite, Curtis Martin viewed this agile, mobile and hostile Hall of Famer more like a fullback who played center.

Don Maynard
Don MaynardAP

16. Don Maynard, WR, Titans/Jets, 1960-72
The first player to sign with the New York Titans, Joe Namath’s deep threat — his 18.7 yards per catch is the highest for anyone with at least 600 receptions — is in the Hall.

17. Phil Simms, QB, Giants, 1979-93
Overcame injury-plagued start to career to become Parcells’ battlefield commander and Super Bowl champion with a night to remember in Pasadena.

18. Mark Gastineau, DE, Jets, 1979-88
His New York Sack Exchange dances (22 in 1984) were liked more by fans than opponents and some teammates. Quit team midway through 1988 season because of gal pal Brigitte Nielsen’s cancer scare.

19. Y.A. Tittle, QB, Giants, 1961-64
The bald-headed warrior, despite being NFL MVP in 1963 and leading the league in passing three times, was best known for the iconic photo of him on his knees, blood dripping from his forehead towards the end.

20. Winston Hill, LT, Jets, 1963-76
Namath’s elite blindside protector who played in 195 consecutive games.

21. Tiki Barber, RB, Giants, 1997-2006
Ruffled Tom Coughlin’s feathers with his outspokenness and ruffled defenses as one of just three players to reach 10,000 career rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards.

22. Wesley Walker WR, Jets, 1977-89
Blind in one eye, he liked to remind cornerbacks with, “If I’m even, I’m leavin’ ” thanks to his blazing speed.

Mark Bavaro
Mark BavaroAP

23. Carl Banks, OLB, Giants, 1984-92
A Parcells favorite who roughed up running backs and tight ends and made life easier for LT.

24. Mark Bavaro, TE, Giants, 1985-90
The strong, silent type they called Rambo, who was sometimes too injured to practice then dragged defenders trying to tackle him on gameday.

25. Freeman McNeil, RB, Jets, 1981-92
Clever and elusive in the open field, once rushed for 202 yards in a playoff game in Cincinnati and totaled 8,074 career yards over a dozen New York seasons.

26. Larry Grantham, LB, Jets, 1960-72
Sub-200-pound defensive captain of the Super Bowl III Jets with instincts and anticipation second to none.

27. (tie) Nick Mangold, C, Jets, 2006-16
Smart and tough and durable and bearded and witty, and a seven-time Pro Bowler.

Al Toon
Al ToonGetty Images

27. (tie) Al Toon, WR, Jets, 1985-92
A 6-4, blue-collar, cold-weather receiver who could block, was drafted ahead of Jerry Rice and finished third in franchise history with 517 receptions before his ninth concussion ended his career.

29. Jimmy Patton, S, Giants, 1955-66
Undersized and fearless enough to eschew shoulder pads, he recorded 52 interceptions as a five-time Pro Bowler before dying in an automobile accident in 1972 at 39.

30. Tuffy Leemans, RB, Giants, 1936-43
Who knew he would rush for 3,132 yards, pass for 2,318 and 25 TDs, accumulate 422 receiving yards and average 13.8 yards on punt returns? Perhaps Wellington Mara, who discovered him.

31. Marvin Powell, RT, Jets, 1977-85
Prototypical 6-5, 270-pound tackle with athleticism and smarts.

32. (tie) Charley Conerly, QB, Giants, 1948-61
The stoic, tough former Marine who was a 14-year Chuckin’ Charles and 1956 NFL champion.

32. (tie) Arnie Weinmeister, DT, Giants, 1950-53
A 6-4, 240-pound freak athlete and dominant All-Pro each of his four years as a Giant.

Brad Van Pelt
Brad Van PeltAP

34. Brad Van Pelt, OLB, Giants, 1973-83
A 6-5, 235-pound athletic strongside linebacker and proud member of the Crunch Bunch who wore No. 10.

35. Jessie Armstead, ILB, Giants, 1993-2002
Undersized five-time Pro Bowler who brought leadership and swag to Big Blue.

36. Chris Snee, G, Giants, 2004-13
Tough, hard-nosed, powerful and prideful, and so much more than Coughlin’s son-in-law.

37. Matt Snell, FB, Jets, 1964-72
He could run, he could catch, he could block and he should have been Super Bowl III MVP (121 rushing yards and the opening TD).

38. Gerry Philbin, DE, Jets, 1964-73
An undersized 6-2, 245-pound defensive end who got to the quarterback with quickness and an array of moves.

39. Kyle Rote, WR, Giants, 1951-61
Universally popular team captain and one-time running back who transformed himself into a prolific wideout with smarts and elusiveness despite a lack of speed.

Amani Toomer
Amani ToomerAP

40. Amani Toomer, WR, Giants, 1996-2008
The tall, reliable possession GOAT with the toe-tapping artistry by the sideline who owns Giants career wideout marks in receptions, yardage and TDs.

41. Mark Haynes, CB, Giants, 1980-85
One of the league’s best cover corners from 1982-84 before Giants obliged his request for a trade.

42. (tie) D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LT, Jets, 2006-15
True professional and highly intelligent blocker who never missed a practice or game over 10 seasons.

42. (tie) George Sauer Jr., WR, Jets, 1965-70
Namath’s split end, who ran textbook routes before retiring at 27 from a game he did not love.

44. Joe Morris, RB, Giants, 1982-88
An instinctive runner who liked to cut back against the grain en route to three 1,000-yard seasons and once described himself as “a 6-2 guy in a 5-7 body.”

45. Jim Katcavage, DL, Giants, 1956-68
Andy Robustelli’s 240-pound bookend defensive end was so quick they called him “Kat.”

46. (tie) George Martin, DE, Giants, 1975-88
Parcells’ co-captain, locker room lieutenant and player rep who played 201 games as a Giant and sacked John Elway for a safety in Super Bowl XXI.

46. (tie) Justin Tuck, DL, Giants, 2005-13
He could rush the passer — four times a double-digit sacker — and stop the run and play inside and outside and grew into a leader and staunch Coughlin defender.

Emerson Boozer
Emerson BoozerAP

48. Emerson Boozer, RB, Jets, 1966-75
A slasher who had Gale Sayers elusiveness prior to a devastating knee injury that forced him to transform into who an all-around back who could block and catch and had a nose for the end zone.

49. Mo Lewis, OLB, Jets, 1991-2003
Changed the course of NFL history when he sent Drew Bledsoe into orbit and opened the gates to the Tom Brady Era.

50. Steve Owen, T, Giants, 1926-33/head coach, Giants, 1930-53
Innovative 24-year coach (the A-formation offense, the umbrella defense and the two-platoon system) who won the famous Sneakers Game in 1934.

51. (tie) Odell Beckham Jr. , WR, Giants, 2014-18
The Catch, the hair, the kicking net, the Paris video, the Lil Wayne interview — he had his chance to be a New York legend, and fumbled it.

51. (tie) Leonard Marshall, DE, Giants, 1982-92
Powerful and dynamic big-game player who recorded 79.5 sacks in LT’s shadow.

51. (tie) Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants, 2002-07
Wellington Mara was fond of the fearless blond-haired Okie who talked trash and energized the offense before he forced a trade out of town.

54. Spider Lockhart, DB/PR, Giants, 1965-75
Lanky 6-1, 175-pound safety and defensive captain who once intercepted three passes in a game.

55. (tie) Erich Barnes, CB, Giants, 1961-64
World-class sprinter and 6-2, 200-pounder who fancied himself as a dictator and an intimidator who opponents considered dirty.

55. (tie) Ray Flaherty, WR, Giants, 1929-35
Led the NFL in receiving yards in 1932 … with 350! Advised coach Steve Owen that sneakers would provide better footing on frozen Polo Grounds field in 1934 NFL Championship game.

57. Shaun Ellis, DE, Jets, 2000-10
“Big Katt” was a run-stuffing defensive end who recorded 72.5 sacks in 11 seasons as a Jet.

Dave Jennings
Dave JenningsAP

58. Dave Jennings, P, Giants, 1974-84
Class act who holds franchise records for punts (931) and yards (38,792) and thrived in the radio booth before battling Parkinson’s.

59. Ken Strong, FB/PK, Giants, 1933-35, 1939, 1944-47
A placekicking specialist and back who retired as the Giants’ leading scorer after leading the league in scoring three times.

60. Joe Morrison, FB/WR/TE/DB, Giants, 1959-72
Played six different positions: fullback, halfback, flanker, tight end, split end and defensive back. Rushed for 2,472 yards and caught 395 passes and 47 TDs.

61. (tie) Ken O’Brien, QB, Jets, 1983-92
The surprise first-round pick who had his moments but could not make the faithful forget their team passed up Dan Marino.

61. (tie) Del Shofner, WR, Giants, 1961-67
Tittle’s dangerous deep threat finished with four career 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

63. (tie) Sean Landeta, P, Giants, 1985-93
The NFL’s first $1 million punter was on the All-Decade Team of the 1980s and 1990s.

63. (tie) Marty Lyons, DL, Jets, 1979-89
A steady, dependable, inspirational, tough tackle on the New York Sack Exchange who once put his fist through a locker room window before a playoff game in Oakland.

63. (tie) Mickey Shuler, TE, Jets, 1978-89
Walt Michaels’ blue-collar TE who blocked and caught 462 passes over a dozen New York seasons.

66. Randy Rasmussen, G, Jets, 1967-81
A dependable, gentlemanly squatty-body guard who played in 207 games over 15 seasons.

67. Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants, 2003-12
Small-school phenom who was lightning fast around the edge (75 sacks as a Giant) as Robin to Strahan’s Batman.

68. (tie) John Abraham, DE, Jets, 2000-05
A natural pass rusher who recorded 53.5 sacks in 70 games as a Jet.

Wayne Chrebet
Wayne Chrebet©2005 Kevin P. Coughlin

68. (tie) Wayne Chrebet, WR, Jets, 1995-2005
The tough, little, fearless underdog from Hofstra who caught 580 passes until enduring one too many concussions.

68. (tie) Pat Leahy, PK, Jets, 1974-91
One of the true good guys, somehow lasted as Jets placekicker from 1974-91, holds team record for games played (250) and scoring (1,470 points).

68 (tie) Dick Lynch, CB, Giants, 1960-66
Tough, inspirational, overachiever cornerback who twice registered nine INTs and bled Giants blue, on the field and in the radio booth.

72. Homer Jones, WR, Giants, 1954-69
A 6-2, 228-pound ox with a sprinter’s speed who averaged 22.3 yards per catch and invented the end zone spike.

73. Rodney Hampton, RB, Giants, 1970-77
Overcame a broken leg in his first playoff game as a rookie to post five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, during which he scored 45 TDs.

74. Verlon Biggs, DE, Jets, 1965-70
An imposing 6-4, 270-pound gentle giant who recorded huge sack in fourth quarter of 1968 AFL Championship and forced a fumble in Super Bowl III.

75. (tie) Bill Mathis, FB/RB, Titans/Jets, 1960-69
Could run, catch, block and pass protect and roomed with Broadway Joe on the road.

Fran Tarkenton
Fran TarkentonGetty Images

75. (tie) Fran Tarkenton, QB, Giants, 1967-71
Frantastic passer and scrambler who drove defenders crazy and willed his talent-deficient Giants teams to a 33-36 record.

77. (tie) Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants, 2018-present
Dave Gettleman’s gold-jacket guy who is much more than a running back, with quads to die for.

77. (tie) Bart Oates, C, Giants, 1985-93
Bright pass blocker who came over from the USFL.

79. (tie) John Riggins, FB, Jets, 1971-75
An athletic 240-pounder with power and speed they nicknamed “Diesel” and an Afro and a Mohawk.

79. (tie) Jack Stroud, G, Giants, 1953-64
Strongman 6-1, 235-pound three-time All-Pro guard who also played some right tackle.

81. Keyshawn Johnson, WR, Jets, 1996-99
Vinny Testaverde “just gave him the damn ball” until Parcells traded this big, physical target to the Buccaneers for two first-round picks.

82. Shaun O’Hara, C, Giants, 2004-10
A tough and smart three-time Pro Bowl center and captain who walked on at Rutgers and became a Super Bowl champion overachiever.

83. Dave Herman, G, Jets, 1964-73
Gritty compact right guard who was moved to RT in Super Bowl III and neutralized DE Bubba Smith despite being 6 inches shorter.

84. (tie) Rich Caster, TE, WR, Jets, 1970-77
A 6-5, 228-pound receiver with speed who was moved to TE as a big-play (18.1 yards per catch) matchup nightmare.

84. (tie) Bruce Harper, RB/PR/KR, Jets, 1977-84
The 5-8 undrafted free agent long shot from tiny Kutztown State led the league in kick returns in each of his first three seasons.

Bruce Harper
Bruce HarperAP

86. Joe Fields, C, Jets, 1975-87
A 6-2, 250-pound overachiever from Widener College who teammates fondly referred to as The General.

87. (tie) Kyle Clifton, MLB, Jets, 1984-96
Jets career tackling leader (1,486) somehow never made a Pro Bowl.

87. (tie) Jumbo Elliott, LT, Giants, 1988-95
Parcells called him one of the two best tackles he ever coached after dominating Bruce Smith in Super Bowl XXV.

89. David Diehl, OL, Giants, 2003-13
Big, tough and durable, he made 65 career starts at left tackle, 42 at left guard, 26 at right tackle and 27 at right guard.

90. (tie) Red Badgro, WR, Giants, 1930-36
Sneakers Game champion who led NFL in receptions in 1934 with … 16.

90.(tie) Mark Collins, CB, Giants, 1986-93
Feisty, fearless corner who shut down Jerry Rice and was an unsung hero on the Super Bowl XXV Giants.

92. Ray Wietecha, C, Giants, 1953-62
Four-time Pro Bowler who probably deserves a higher rating.

93. Jack Gregory, DE, Giants, 1972-78
The 6-4, 250-pounder was unofficially credited with 75.5 sacks, including 21 in ’72.

94. Marvin Jones, MLB, Jets, 1993-2003
Thunderous intimidator who enjoyed six 100-plus tackle seasons.

95. David Harris, MLB, Jets, 2007-16
Quiet leader who six times exceeded 100 tackles and added 35 sacks.

96. Aaron Glenn, CB/KR, Jets, 1994-2001
Feisty, athletic undersized corner who registered 24 INTs and averaged 26.5 on kick returns in 1997.

Keith Hamilton
Keith HamiltonGetty Images

97. Keith Hamilton, DT, Giants, 1992-2003
An imposing enforcer nicknamed “Hammer” who recorded 63 sacks.

98. James Hasty, CB, Jets 1988-95
Physical and aggressive, he registered 24 INTs and missed only one game.

99. Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants, 2005-08
Eli Manning’s 6-5, 232-pound go-to guy who caught Super Bowl XLII winner against Patriots — though better known for infamously packing a Glock and accidentally shooting himself in the leg.

100. Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants, 2005-11, 2013
A 6-4, 264-pound intimidator who called Rex Ryan “Fat Boy” after a game and retired with a club-record 60 rushing TDs.

Methodology

How did The Post determine the scoring system for our Top 100 rankings? We started by asking our seven football experts — Mark Cannizzaro, Brian Costello, Paul Schwartz, Steve Serby, Mike Vaccaro, George Willis and Dave Blezow — to rank their 50 best all-time combined Giants and Jets players. Each vote position from No. 1-50 then received its opposite number in terms of points. So, a player ranked first on a ballot received 50 points, a player ranked 50th received one point.

Not surprisingly, Lawrence Taylor was a unanimous No. 1 selection.

The points were tallied up and the players ranked in order. A total of 91 players received votes. The intrepid Steve Serby personally selected players 92-100 to finish out the final roster.

https://nypost.com/2019/09/01/the-post-dives-in-and-ranks-the-100-best-all-time-giants-and-jets/

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