Forget for a second that no professional teams play today in the five boroughs. Plenty of games were played at the Polo Grounds, including the 1934 NFL championship in which the Giants borrowed basketball sneakers and beat the Bears in icy conditions. The Jets and Giants, plus the now-defunct Dodgers, Yankees and Bulldogs, have called New York home. The Mara family has long been a pillar of the league, and the Giants won four NFL titles before the merger. Fans from the state have had a parade of standouts, including quarterbacks Phil Simms and Joe Namath, two-way star Frank Gifford, coaches Marv Levy and Weeb Ewbank, and lineman Roosevelt Brown.
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Fan Bob Graziano: More footballs get tossed, caught, spiked and fumbled in New York than all the other states combined. More NFL-licensed jerseys, coffee mugs, linens and baby rattles are stashed in New York closets than in all the closets west of the Mississippi. In New York football -- dare I say Football? -- is king. Read more from Bob
Jim Brown didn't just play football at Syracuse; he was also an All-American in lacrosse, played a couple of seasons of basketball and competed in track. The never-subtle back is considered one of the greatest of all-time, shredding college and, later with the Browns, pro defenses. The Orange picked up a national title in 1959. The Army teams of the World War II era were powerhouses, winning three national titles from 1944-46 with two Heisman winners, Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis.
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Upstate high school football pulls more weight. In NYC, where the bright lights of Broadway offer plenty of other entertainment options, fans at a game more often than not have a tie to someone on the field. Coach Vince Lombardi, quarterback Sid Luckman and tight end John Mackey hail from New York. Spring 2006 DI signees: 28. Fall 2004 high school football teams: 507.
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