The New York Giants have employed several iconic players in their 94 years in the NFL, but only four players can be chosen for Mount Rushmore.
The New York Giants are one of the storied franchises in professional sports. One of the reasons the Giants have won eight championships (four Super Bowls, four World Championships) is due to the notion they’ve been led by some of the greatest players to ever step foot on a football field.
When a team deploys as rich of a history as the Giants, it’s hard to select four people to their Mount Rushmore. Somehow, we managed.
For the purpose of this article, we limited the Giants Mount Rushmore to players only which is the only reason Bill Parcells isn’t included (players only).
Here is the New York Giants Mount Rushmore:
Lawrence Taylor (1981-1993)
Lawrence Taylor is considered by most as the greatest defensive player of all-time.
When the Giants drafted Taylor with the second pick in the 1981 draft, he immediately changed the franchise’s fortunes. In his rookie season, he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Giants make the playoffs for the first time since 1963.
Five years later, Taylor would win his third Defensive Player of the Year award and was named NFL MVP when he had a career high 20.5 sacks. More importantly, he led the Giants to their first Super Bowl title when the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 21, 39-20.
Taylor made 10 consecutive Pro Bowls and changed the way the game is played. Former Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs used the single back formation with a tight end on each side of the line of scrimmage to try to stop Taylor from disrupting their offense.
When he retired following the 1993 season, Taylor had an NFL record 132.5 sacks. Since his retirement, players have accumulated more sacks than Taylor, but none of them came close to making the impact that LT made.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Frank Gifford (1952-1960, 1962-1964)
The Giants selected Gifford with the 11th pick of the first round in the 1952 NFL Draft. In his 12 seasons with the Giants, Gifford was named to eight Pro Bowls and has the distinction of making the Pro Bowl at three different positions defensive back, half back, wide receiver.
Gifford was named league MVP in 1956 and in that same year, he led the Giants to the World Championship when they defeated the Chicago Bears, 47-7. He is arguably the first NFL superstar as he appeared in several ads for shaving cream, swimwear and cigarettes during his playing career.
His playing career came to a halt during the 1960 NFL Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles when Chuck Bednarik laid a devastating tackle on Gifford that cost him the 1961 season. Gifford would return for the 1962 season and was named Comeback Player of the Year.
For his career, Gifford rushed for 3,609 yards and scored 34 rushing touchdowns to go along with 367 receptions for 5,434 yards, and 43 touchdown receptions. He retired from the game following the 1964 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
Michael Strahan (1993-2007)
The Giants took Michael Strahan in the second round of the 1993 draft (40th overall). Strahan was not only a dominant pass rusher throughout his 15-year career, but he was also great at stopping the run making him one of the best defensive ends to ever play.
He was voted to the Pro Bowl seven times in his career, and four times he was named First-Team All-Pro. His best season came in 2001 when he recorded an NFL record 22.5 sacks and was named Defensive Player of the Year. Strahan led the league the sacks once again in 2003 when he had 18.5.
He also established himself as one of the best leaders in the history of the franchise, as his pregame speeches became legendary.
Strahan’s final game of his career was one of the most memorable games in NFL history when he helped spearhead the Giants in defeating the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42, 17-14.
He finished his career with a franchise-record 141.5 sacks and 851 tackles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Eli Manning (2004- present)
General manager Ernie Accorsi pulled off a blockbuster trade on draft day 2004 when the Giants acquired Eli Manning from the San Diego Chargers. Accorsi’s bold trade would pay off as Manning would establish himself as the franchise’s best quarterback.
After starting just seven games as a rookie, Manning took over the reins as the full-time starter in 2005 and would lead the Giants to eight consecutive seasons without a losing record. During that span, he became the only Giants quarterback to lead the team to Super Bowl victories in defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 and 46.
The playoffs are where Manning established himself as a clutch quarterback posting an 8-4 playoff record including two road conference championship victories in adverse conditions.
Manning is in the all-time top 10 in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and had a 210 consecutive game streak that was unceremoniously ended by former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo in 2017. Manning started every game in 2018 for the Giants and completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes.
On Wednesday, head coach Pat Shurmur said he believes Manning will be back in 2019 as the starter.