The New York Giants entered the National Football League (NFL) in 1925 when Tim Mara bought the team for a mere $500. The team came to the big market of New York in an effort to make the NFL more popular because back in those days professional football took a backseat to other sports such as professional baseball, boxing, and horse racing. Like other NFL franchises at the time, New York chose the same nickname as its Major League Baseball team, the New York Giants. In their first decade in the NFL, the Giants were able to capture championships in 1927 and 1934 despite facing financial difficulties during the Great Depression. The 1934 championship game against the undefeated Chicago Bears was one to remember as the two teams played in icy, nine-degree conditions. The game would be called the “Sneakers Game” as the Giants wore basketball shoes in the second half for better footing which allowed them to score four touchdowns on the way to a 30-13 victory.
The Giants won another championship in 1938, but wouldn’t win at all in the 1940’s despite making three championship appearances. That decade was also a rough one financially with World War II pulling the best players away from the field, causing attendance rates to drop. But the franchise survived again, and would become the face of the NFL during the 1950’s. After winning the championship title in 1956, the Giants helped football rise in popularity as stars Frank Gifford and Sam Huff became household names with their advertisement appearances. The 1960’s started off promising with the Giants playing in three consecutive championship games. However, each time they failed to come away with the title, setting the stage for two decades of poor play. During the 1970’s, the Giants had four different home stadiums, and didn’t make it into the postseason at all due to their eight last place or second-to-last place finishes. The Giants finally got back on the winning track in the 1980’s when the team included linebacker Lawrence Taylor and quarterback Phil Simms. 1986 was the best year for Big Blue, as the team not only won the Super Bowl (the name of the NFL championship since 1966), but Taylor would win his third Defensive Player of the Year award along with the NFL MVP, while Simms was the Super Bowl MVP.
The 1990’s saw the Giants win another Super Bowl (1990), and the Mara family hand over 50% of its ownership to Preston Robert Tisch (1991). In 2000, the Giants made another Super Bowl run, but ultimately fell short in the title game to the Baltimore Ravens. In 2004, a new era began in New York with the signing of Tom Coughlin as head coach and the arrival of rookie quarterback Eli Manning. The following year, Manning and running back Tiki Barber would lead the Giants to an 11-5 record and an NFC East championship. However the same Giants team wouldn’t show up in the playoffs, making an early postseason exit. The 2006 season was full of off –the-field drama as Barber and tight end Jeremy Shockey openly criticized Coughlin. Barber ended up retiring after that season due to his dislike of Coughlin. Manning was also dubbed as a bust during the offseason. So going into the 2007 season, expectations were not high for the Giants. Yet after a slow start, the Giants proved their critics wrong, making it all the way to the Super Bowl as the 5th seed in the playoffs. In the Super Bowl, the Giants were once again underdogs as they faced off against the undefeated New England Patriots. The Patriots were expected to blowout the Giants, but the game went down to the wire. In the end, the Giants were able to pull off the upset thanks to a clutch drive by Manning which featured a stunning helmet catch by David Tyree. After ending the Patriots’ historic run, the Giants returned to the playoffs the following year, but fell out of Super Bowl contention early on.
The Giants didn’t make it back to the postseason until 2011, but even then they just barely made it in. Yet Manning would lead his team to the Super Bowl for a rematch with New England. Again, the Giants bested Tom Brady’s Patriots to capture the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl title. Manning won his second Super Bowl MVP, and the Giants made history by becoming the team with the lowest regular season record (9-7) to go on to become Super Bowl Champions.