clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Giants By The Numbers: 33 Is For ...

Mel Triplett.

Huh? I can picture the quizzical "who the heck is Ed talking about?" looks on the faces of a lot of you as I type this. And I understand them. I really had to dig to come up with the right guy to name here.

There are two other players who wore 33 whose names you are more likely to remember -- running backs George Adams and Jarrod Bunch. Neither of those guys, however, put up the career numbers Triplett did, nor did they play for the Giants during a period of sustained success that matches Triplett's six New York seasons.

Triplett, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound fullback was best known for his blocking. In those days, however, fullbacks were actually real parts of the offense. In four seasons Triplett gained 2,289 yards on 553 carries (a 4.1 yards-per-carry average). He scored 11 rushing touchdowns and caught three TD passes.

When Triplett came to the Giants in 1955 some thought he would be the best fullback in the NFL since the legendary Bronco Nagurski. He never lived up to that billing, but he was nonetheless a productive player during a terrific era of Giants football.

Adams was drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the Giants in 1985. Instead of becoming the team's next great running back he flamed out quickly -- something which has been a theme among many highly-drafted Giants' running backs the past 25 years. There have been more misses than hits.

Adams gained 498 yards his rookie year, but never approached that meager total again. After four seasons in New York he had totaled just 886 rushing yards, and the Giants let him go. He spent two non-descript years in New England and was then out of football.

Bunch suffered a similar fate. He was drafted in the 1991 first round (27th overall). In 1992 Bunch showed promise, gained 501 yards and averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Knee injuries curtailed his effectiveness, though, and two years later his career was done. He gained only 629 rushing yards in his three-year Giants' career.

Memo to Gartrell Johnson, current occupant of 33 and also a running back. Dude, change your number. Fast!