In the biggest city in the world, a city of champions, only one thing was on the mind of New York football fans in 1987: A Super Bowl title.
When you play in a sprawling metropolis known for The Pride of The Yankees, Broadway, Joe, and Willis Reed's knee, no less than a world championship will do. The New York Giants, after finishing the 1986 regular season with a massive record of 14-2, headed into January of the new year as the NFC East champions.
The scene was set, and the heat was on. It was just three months after the city finished celebrating Bill Buckner's error and the Mets' first World Series victory. New York's lone Super Bowl Championship had been captured by the G-Men's hometown rival, the Jets, way back when the roman numerals were a heck of a lot smaller.
On January 25th, 1987, the Giants finally matched all the expectations by claiming a second Lombardi Trophy for the Big Apple. Their resounding defeat of the Denver Broncos, 39-20, saw quarterback Phil Simms crowned the game's MVP, and their dominant linebacker, Lawrence Taylor, establish himself as the league's best defender. The legendary status of Coach Bill Parcells was just taking shape, as his team happily drenched him with Gatorade.
30 years later, the franchise has added three more world championships and seen success behind the likes of Jeff Hostetler, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin along the way. But, for fans of the team, there's nothing quite like the first time. Here's a look at the 1987 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, 30 years after they captured glory:
15 Raul Allegre
Placekicker Raul Allegre spent his time in the NFL with three different organizations but found his greatest success with the Giants. A member of both the franchise's first two Super Bowl teams, Allegre kicked 137 FGs and averaged 73.7% accuracy over the course of an eight-year NFL career.
Allegre joined the team late in the '86 season, but chipped in immediately with winning field goals in consecutive weeks down the stretch. After a bit of a carousel at the position, that was enough to convince Parcells to settle with Allegre for the long haul. He would remain the Giants' starting kicker until he was replaced by Matt Bahr in 1991.
After he retired, Allegre began doing Spanish-speaking broadcasts and worked as a pre-game host for the Dallas Cowboys. Today, he is the color analyst for Monday Night Football on ESPN Latin America.
14 Phil McConkey
Phil McConkey should have been a movie star. The mustachioed wide receiver had an upper lip that even Tom Selleck would have to admire.
An undrafted free agent from the Naval Academy, McConkey was already 27 when he entered the league in 1984. After fulfilling his military commitment, he hadn't played in five years. Two seasons later, he would be playing in the biggest game of his life.
Against the Broncos, McConkey caught a 44-yard reception on a flea flicker that gave the Giants a first and goal on the one-yard line, setting up a touchdown on the next play. In the fourth quarter, McConkey snagged a tipped ball out of the air for a six-yard touchdown reception. McConkey finished the game with 50 receiving yards, 25 punt return yards, one touchdown and a huge place in the lore of Giants history.
Due to entering the NFL at such an advanced age, McConkey's career was brief. His time in football after Super Bowl XXI was relatively quiet, with brief stays in Arizona, Green Bay, and San Diego. He faded from the league in 1989.
In 1990, McConkey failed in an attempt to secure the New Jersey 12th District congressional seat when he lost to fellow Republican Dick Zimmer.
Today, McConkey is the president of Academy Securities, a financial services firm staffed largely by disabled veterans, He lives in the San Diego area with his wife and their daughter and owns several small businesses there, as well.
13 Maurice Carthon
After beginning his pro career with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, Maurice Carthon made a short migration to the Giants' roster in 1985. As the lead battering ram in Parcells' offense, the 225-pound fullback opened holes for his diminutive backfield partner, Joe Morris.
He retired with 950 career rushing yards, and three touchdowns. Perhaps the biggest number of all is two... signifying the number of championship rings he owns today. Upon ending his playing career, he sought to work his way to an NFL head coaching position.
Carthon served as an assistant coach under Parcells with the Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys, and was also a member of the Kansas City Chiefs staff. He had a tenure as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, as well.
Carthon is now 55 years old and despite being lauded for years by Parcells as head coaching material, has yet to land the top spot on an NFL sideline.
12 Carl Banks
Number 58 was a hard-hitting linebacker who could send a surge through a runner or a scare through a passer. An acute combination of size and speed, Carl Banks did the dirty work for the New York defense.
In Super Bowl XXI, Banks recorded 14 tackles (10 solo) and would later go on to be a Pro Bowler in in 1987 and '88. He was added to the team's Ring of Honor in 2011 and was chosen as a member of the NFL all-decade team of the 1980s.
Banks retired in 1995, with career totals of 39.5 sacks and one interception. He has a degree in broadcasting from Michigan State, and served as an analyst for SiriusXM Radio and WFAN in New York.
Banks has even delved into boxing coverage, providing color commentary for the Evander Holifield vs. Alex Stewart fight in 1992. Banks also launched his own clothing line, G-III Sports by Carl Banks.
11 Sean Landeta
Many times, punters can be an anonymous part of a football team, but not Sean Landeta. His booming punts and unusual toughness for a guy at his position made him an unorthodox favorite of many Giants fans.
En route to the ultimate victory, the Giants counted on Landeta to position an opponent for their attack dog defense. While pinning teams back so Parcells could unleash the hounds, he averaged 44.8 yards per punt in '86. After leaving New York, he made a few stops around the league before re-signing with the club in 2006, so he could retire as a Giant.
Landeta's numbers when he finally quit? 1,401 punts for 60,707 yards, for an average of 43.3 yards per punt. To put that in perspective, he kicked the pigskin almost twelve miles in NFL gameplay during his 22-year career.
In September 2005, Landeta was elected to the Towson University Hall of Fame. The following year, he was enshrined in the NCAA Division II College Football Hall of Fame.
Landeta currently works with the Eagles and Giants organizations in multiple capacities as an alumnus of both NFL teams. He has worked as an analyst for CBS Radio and the FOX Television network.
10 The Gatorade Shower
Note to coaches everywhere: You can thank Jim Burt for this one.
The Giants' lineman had grown frustrated with his treatment by Parcells in practice and the locker room. One day in 1985, he decided to playfully get even by dumping a cooler of Gatorade on his coach, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the course if the next year, teammates Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson later began to do it regularly, sneaking up on their somber coach to dump the remaining contents of a icy cold jug over his head. The dousing continued throughout the season after every Giants' victory.
The fans, players, and media got in on it, with some of the Giants even acting as 'decoys,' while their teammates would sneak up on the unsuspecting coach. Eventually, Parcells embraced the gesture, as did the rest of the football world. Today, the Gatorade Shower is just as much a part of a victory as the trophy presentation, and sports fans have Jim Burt and the New York Giants to thank for that.
9 Jim Burt
The aforementioned Burt came into the league the hard way, as an undrafted free agent out of Miami. After his arrival to training camp in 1981, the nose tackle worked his way into the starting lineup and would eventually win two NFL titles, one with the Giants and the other with San Francisco.
In that 1986 season, Burt made his only Pro Bowl appearance. Over his career, he played in a total of 118 games and had 20 sacks. He retired in 1991.
During his playing days, one of Burt's trademarks was wearing his jersey a size or two smaller than normal. His rationale was that opposing defenders couldn't clutch and grab him as easily that way. Many popular stories circulated that his jerseys were so tight, Burt would often have to cut them off after a game.
Burt, 57, currently lives in Saddle River, NJ. As a celebrated native of Orchard Park, NY, he was elected into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
8 Mark Bavaro
The Giants' hard-nosed tight end won the hearts of the fans with his combination of grittiness and skill. His superb hands, along with his willingness to go over the middle, made him the renegade warrior of the New York offense.
Mark Bavaro showed that toughness in a career that saw him grab 351 catches for 4,733 yards. In the heat of the red zone, he was a blue collar kind of guy, hauling in 39 touchdowns and providing a constant scoring threat. He was chosen to the Pro Bowl in both 1986 and 1987.
Bavaro finished his career with stops in Philadelphia and Cleveland, but in the minds of New Yorkers, he'll ALWAYS be a Giant. The franchise agreed with that sentiment, placing in the team's Ring of Honor in 2011.
In 2008, Bavaro published a fictional account of life in the NFL, entitled Rough and Tumble. Now 53, he lives in Massachusetts with his wife Susan, and spends his leisure time playing golf.
7 Leonard Marshall
Leonard Marshall was a terror to opposing offenses in the '86 season, playing defensive end with the presence of a beast. Drafted in 1983 as a second-rounder out of Louisiana State University, he teamed with Lawrence Taylor to hold down the right side of the D for The Big Blue Wreckin' Crew.
In case you missed it, Marshall is also the guy who once hit legendary quarterback Joe Montana so hard, it knocked the future Hall of Famer out of action... for almost two years.
In his 11-year career, he was twice named to the Pro Bowl and registered 83.5 sacks before departing the team in 1993. He played two more seasons, one apeice for the Jets and Redskins, before retiring from the game.
Marshall has been active in several endeavors since he took off the shoulder pads. He coached football and also worked as a radio broadcaster, along with doing charitable work.
Sadly, Leonard Marshall was diagnosed in 2013 with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease usually associated with multiple concussions. Today, Marshall works to spread awareness about CTE and its effects on his fellow former players. He openly supports and advocates medical marijuana in the treatment of patients with multiple concussion syndrome.
He was inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame in 2008.
6 Ottis Anderson
Ottis Jerome Anderson was affectionately known as "the other O.J." after coming into the NFL in 1979 as the Offensive Rookie of the Year with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a Pro Bowler in his initial season, after rushing for 1605 yards. He would go on to rush forover 1,000 yards in five of his six seasons in the Gateway City.
The venerable running back was acquired by the Giants via a mid-season trade in 1986. Serving out the rest of the season as Joe Morris' backup, Anderson would be used sparingly, mostly in goal line situations.
However, Anderson did score a touchdown for New York in their Super Bowl XXI victory. He would follow that up with an MVP performance in the Giants' second world title win in Super Bowl XXV, forever guaranteeing him a spot in Giants' history.
Since retiring in 1993, Anderson has been a busy man. He has appeared on numerous television and radios hows. He is also president of Ottis J. Anderson Enterprises.
Anderson is also involved in several business ventures in the state of New Jersey, as well as youth-based organizations such as the United Way of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Now 59, he continues to endorse products and make personal appearances in the New York-New Jersey area.
5 Joe Morris
This short stack of dynamite was the key to the G-men's running game. Standing just 5'7", Morris pinballed his way through a swarm of helmeted monsters to rack up 1516 yards and 14 touchdowns in 1986.
During the playoff run, Morris continued to pace New York, rushing for 313 yards in the three NFC post-season leading up to the Super Bowl. He was a solid contributor in The Big Game, as well, totaling 67 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also caught four passes for 20 yards.
He later would go on to finish his NFL tenure with 5580 yards and 50 TDs.
Morris attempted a comeback with the Browns in '91, before settling into retirement permanently. At one time, he was co-owner of the New Jersey Arena League football franchise with former teammates Harry Carson and Carl Banks. Now 56, he still lives in The Garden State and works in real estate investment.
4 Bill Belichick
Before he started staking his claim as possibly the greatest football coach of all time, Bill Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the Giants. Working under the tutelage of Parcells, this future Evil Genius of New England was the architect of The Big Blue Wreckin' Crew.
In '86, his defense ranked first in the league against the run. They were also the second overall defense in the league, behind the defending champion, Chicago Bears. It was the early signs of what would soon come from The Mind of Belichick.
Oh, in case you haven't heard, Belichick has had a little bit of success since emerging from the shadow of Parcells. Only those living under a rock aren't aware of the amazing .627 career winning percentage of The Hooded One, or that he has been widely considered the leading sideline mind in the NFL for several years now.
He's also got six championship rings- two as a coordinator and four as a head coach. Despite a few scandals and some surly behavior, he's already penciled into a spot in Canton whenever he decides to hang it up.
Ironically, the former Giants coordinator would fall victim to his old team, suffering the only two Super Bowl losses in his career to New York in 2008 and 2012.
The always mysterious Belichick is known for shrouding his game plan from the opposition and muting his personality in front of the media. Currently, he likely in a dimly-lit room, grumbling to himself and planning new ways to capture his fifth Super Bowl title.
3 Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor is known just as much for his immense stature on the field as his intense lifestyle off of it. Some guys get a bust in the Hall of Fame, but LT play might deserve a whole wing to himself. He's considered by many observers to be greatest all-around defender in league history.
While names like Dick Butkus, Ray Lewis, and others could be thrown into that argument, there's no denying that Taylor revolutionized the linebacker position. Showing an uncanny ability to stop the run while providing lightning blitzes, offensive coordinators had no answer for him. The man-child from the University of North Carolina was named the 1986 NFL MVP and Defensive Player of The Year. He was the unquestioned leader of the team from his arrival in 1981 until his retirement in 1983.
10 Pro bowls. Two world titles. Multiple arrests. Lawrence Taylor was like King Kong, returning to conquer Manhattan. One classic story had the linebacker showing up at a team practice with a prostitute from the night before... still handcuffed to his arm. In the midst of a bawdy evening, LT had somehow lost the key.
Since his retirement, Taylor has received his gold jacket in Canton, battled Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania, and appeared in numerous movies and TV shows. He even showed off his fancy footwork as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars".
His 2004 autobiography, LT: Over The Edge, chronicled his wild life in the sports spotlight. In it, he discusses his rampant drug abuse and other aspects of his personal life under the bright lights of Broadway.
In 2010, Taylor was arrested and charged in New York state with third-degree statutory rape after allegedly paying a 16-year-old female for sex. He later pled guilty to a reduced charge and received probation while also being sentenced to register as a low-risk level one sex offender.
Today, he lives in Florida, and as recently as 2016, had a domestic abuse incident that resulted in the arrest of his wife.
As of today, Giants fans can only hope that better times are ahead for LT, and that he has put all of his troubles behind him. They geniunely want to see Lawrence Taylor as the hero they fondly remember from that Super Bowl XXI team.
2 Phil Simms
Phil Simms' 88% passing percentage is still a Super Bowl record, and the QB followed it up by being the second highest rated passer in the strike-shortened '87 season. Replaced in 1990 by Jeff Hostetler, Simms injured his foot in week 12 and was the backup on another Giants Super Bowl winner that year.
Upon his retirement in 1993, Simms had thrown for over 30,000 yards and totaled 199 TDs. He spent his entire NFL career wearing Giant blue, and is remembered fondly by fans as one of the franchise's heroes.
After teasing a comeback in 1995, Simms joined ESPN, before becoming a color commentator for CBS. After initially being paired with Greg Gumbel, he is now part of a broadcast duo with Jim Nantz providing play-by-play. He's also had the pleasure of watching his sons, Chris and Matt, play quarterback in the NFL, as well.
Simms, 62 , is a native of Springfield, KY and currently lives in New Jersey, He was enshrined as a member of The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. His jersey was retired by the Giants in 1995.
1 Bill Parcells
Widely considered one of the greatest coaching minds in the history of pro sports, Bill Parcells transcended not only the Giants, but the League itself. His icy glaze and hard features framed the smash mouth, grind-it-out play of his team. For New Yorkers, Parcells was the kind of blue collar, working class leader that fans had been waiting for. His two world championships in New York only ensured that legacy.
After a reclamation project in New England led to another Super Bowl appearance, albeit a loss, Parcells took over the Jets and Cowboys on the sidelines. Later, he journeyed to the Miami Dolphins' front office before retiring. Upon stepping away, he settled comfortably into the broadcast booth.
Enshrined in Canton in 2013, Parcells has been described as a no-nonsense leader in the same vein as Bobby Knight, Bear Bryant, and one of his successors, Belichick.
Today, he's still speaking his mind, only now, it's from behind the microphone. Parcells is currently an analyst for ESPN and also works as a consultant for the Cleveland Browns.
They say every Super Bowl winner leaves an indelible mark on the NFL. It's a signature, a calling card, or a persona that any elite squad has. Some call it swagger. Other just call it, "handling your business".
After 30 years, the 1987 world champion New York Giants are still doing just that... making a splash around the league and finding success in life. Along the way, they've found had a lot of highs and some lows, but they will always be remembered as victors in the City That Never Sleeps.
Without a doubt, this is one title team that has stood the test of time.
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