Giants By The Numbers: 87 Is For ...

Howard Cross

Howard Cross.

In a 13-year career spent exclusively with the New York Giants fro 1989-2001, Cross was the epitomore of a hard-nosed, blocking tight end. He caught just 201 passes in those 13 seasons, with a high of 31 in 1994. It was his blocking for Giants' running backs, though, that kept him in the league all those years. Cross, in fact, played more games than any player in Giants' history, 207.

Back in 2001, when Cross was nearing retirement from the team, Dave Anderson of the New York Times wrote a terrific piece about Cross. Here is a snippet of that story, which you really should go read.

In Super Bowl XXV on Jan. 27, 1991, the Giants had a 20-19 lead as Cross watched Buffalo's Scott Norwood miss a 47-yard field goal with four seconds left.

''Standing there on the sideline,'' he recalled, ''I was thinking about our scouting report. Norwood hadn't made a field goal over 40 yards on grass all season. I kept saying, 'He shouldn't make this, he shouldn't make this.' And he didn't.''

When asked about his favorite moments as a Giant, Cross didn't mention any of his three first-down receptions in that Super Bowl victory.

''I remember watching L. T. and Leonard Marshall sacking Joe Montana,'' he said. ''Watching L. T. and Simms hugging after L. T.'s last game. Watching Simms throw an interception against the Redskins, then getting into a scuffle with big Wilbur Marshall and just throwing him to the ground. I thought, 'Wow, and that's a quarterback.' ''

Other Notables Who Wore No. 87
  • Jerry Hillebrand (LB, 1963-66)
  • Rich Kotite (TE, 1969-72): This was a second tour of duty with the Giants for the future head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets. He caught a career-high 10 passes for the Giants in 1971.
  • Gary Shirk (TE, 1976-82): Caught 130 passes in seven seasons. His best year was 1981, when he caught 42 balls.
  • Domenik Hixon (WR, 2007-Present): Had to put Hixon in here. The Giants will miss him this season, which he will miss with a knee injury.
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