Big Blue Morning: Giants Mount Rushmore
February, 13, 2014
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Ray StubblebineLawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells elevated the Giants franchise in the 1980s."Mount Rushmore" was a big thing on ESPN Wednesday. LeBron James spoke about his belief that he will end up on the NBA's Mount Rushmore, meaning one of its four all-time great figures, and so we spent some time on various platforms debating other Mount Rushmores. Jeff Saturday went on "SportsCenter," for instance, and gave his all-time foursome of NFL offensive linemen.
So we had this idea to look at the New York Giants' Mount Rushmore and who would be on that. I put it to my Twitter followers, and in a very unscientific poll of responses, this is what you gave me:
Lawrence Taylor, 42 votes
Eli Manning, 30 votes
Michael Strahan, 23 votes
Bill Parcells, 17 votes
That's a fine Giants Mount Rushmore. And while Strahan is the franchise's all-time sacks leader, I think his vote total must be inflated by his recent election to the Hall of Fame and the likelihood that my Twitter followers trend young.
I think Taylor is the all-time no-brainer, the greatest defensive player the league has ever seen and a candidate for most dominant player of all time at any position. He's the slam-dunk guy for this list. Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and the franchise's all-time passing leader, is pretty close to a no-brainer as well. And Parcells, who coached the Giants to their first two Super Bowl titles, is obviously a strong choice.
But for Strahan's spot, I might look at the next few guys on the list you came up with on Twitter:
Wellington Mara, 12 votes
Frank Gifford, 8 votes
Tom Coughlin, 8 votes
Phil Simms, 8 votes
Sam Huff, 6 votes
Harry Carson, 4 votes
Y.A. Tittle, 3 votes
Huff is the guy I had my eye on for the fourth spot. He played eight years for the Giants from 1956 to '63 and then five for the Redskins after that. He was a middle linebacker who played in five Pro Bowls (four as a Giant) and was a dominant defensive star in an era before they played Super Bowls or kept sack totals. Obviously, I never saw him play, but he seems to fall into the category of all-time great Giants who may not be the first name to rush to the minds of modern Giants fans when we do an exercise like this.
Mara is an interesting case as a transcendent NFL figure and a father of the franchise (someone suggested Tim Mara as well), but we already have a coach on there, and I wasn't too keen on another nonplayer. Coughlin makes a case as a better all-time Giants coach than Parcells was, but Parcells gets the nod as the coach who put the Giants on the map as a Super Bowl championship-caliber team.
Gifford falls into a similar category as Huff -- did you know he's second in franchise history in receiving yards? -- and of course Simms is the guy whose passing records Manning broke. Tittle and Charlie Conerly probably deserve more love than they got as well.
So in conclusion, I think I'd go Taylor/Parcells/Manning/Huff, but the Giants' franchise has enough history to make this a fun debate. What do you think?