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Giants By The Numbers: 7 is for ...

Mel Hein.

Perhaps we should rely on our own George Cronin, these days known as 'blue gonz' around these parts, for some historical perspective on this Hall of Famer. A guy still often called the best center to ever play, and a player for whom the Giants retired the No. 7.

Here is Cronin, writing for us in a series of historical posts he did a couple of years back.

Hein played two ways for fifteen years and never missed a game. Because he could do what other centers couldn't--flawlessly snap the ball to any one of three backs, the Giants were able to use a formation unique in the league. All NFL for eight years, he was MVP in '38, the only offensive lineman to win that award. I saw him play five or six times and remember him being able to snap the ball and get out in front of a runner on a sweep, pancaking defenders as often as not. As an LB in the 5-2 defense all teams played until Bill George of the Bears became the first MLB in '54, his hits separated defenders from their cleats, and he was a demon in pass coverage.

-- Hein's bio. Also, check out his Hall of Fame bio.