Giants By The Numbers: 42 Is For ...

Charlie Conerly.

One of the greatest New York Giants of all time. Quarterbacked the Giants from 1948-1961, a glorious era of football in the franchise's history. The number is retired in Conerly's honor. Conerly retired following the 1962 season, after Y.A. Tittle had taken over the job.

Here is a portrait of Conerly's Giants' career from Lew Freedman's "New York Giants: The Complete Illustrated History."

No one ever looked the part of the craggy-faced, savvy pro football leader more than Charlie Conerly, the beloved Giants' quarterback who broke into the lineup in 1948 and stayed until 1961.

A World War II Marine who became an All-American at the University of Mississippi, Conerly was portrayed as a 24-year-old rookie-of-the-year. Later he said that he was 27 when he took his first NFL snap. Before he took his last one, Conerly was portraying the Marlboro Man astride a horse on billboards around the nation.

Conerly was the epitome of the "Old Pro," the man looked up to in the huddle and revered as a go-to quarterback when the clock was ticking down. He threw 173 touchdown passes for nearly 20,000 yards and led the NFL in passing in 1959 at the age of 38, a year after being the signal-caller in the first sudden death overtime game against the Baltimore Colts. Conerly played in three Pro Bowls and four NFL championship games for the Giants.

Also a cotton farmer in Mississippi, Conerly spoke more with his actions, acquiring a reputation for being taciturn. "He's the toughest quarterback in the league, and I guess tough guys don't have to talk much," said Giants' coach Allie Sherman.

Conerly was NFL MVP in 1959. His 1,418 completions and 19,488 yards passing were Giants' team records at the time of his retirement.

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