Oh, Lord! I'm not really sure I want to do this one.
I really hate doing it, but this number is for ... Jeremy Shockey. It has to be. There is a huge part of me that, sentimentally, wants to give this one to the popular Bill Parcells era wide receiver Phil McConkey. I simply can't do it.
I loved the guts of the 5-foot-10, 170-pound McConkey as both punt returner and wide receiver. The eye black, the frenzy-enducing towel waving, and the Super Bowl touchdown pass he caught that ricocheted off Mark Bavaro's hands are images etched in my brain.
I can't, however, deny the fact that as a New York Giant Shockey was a far superior player to McConkey, and pretty much everyone else who has ever worn the number.
- In six seasons with the Giants, Shockey caught 371 passes -- more than any tight end in franchise history.
- He went to four Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro in his rookie season of 2002 -- which would turn out to be the best individual season of his career.
Whether it was the change in regime from Jim Fassel to Tom Coughlin, or Shockey's own wild lifestyle and injury-prone body, he has never again lived up to that rookie season when he caught a career-high 74 passes and was a nightmare for defensive backs.
We all know his antics, both on and off the field, were sometimes not well-received. We all know Shockey's ending in New York was not pretty. Some of you are still disappointed he is gone, I'm sure. That stuff isn't what we are here to discuss today, though.
Shockey remains one of the most unique characters -- and most talented pass receivers -- in Giants' franchise history.
I can't see any way NOT to make him the winner here.
By the way, in five Giant seasons from 1984-88 McConkey -- a Navy graduate -- caught 67 passes, averaged 8.0 yards on 228 punt returns and 19.2 yards on 69 kickoff returns.