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New York Giants Super Bowl Winners: Which team was the best?

Which of the four Giants' Super Bowl-winning teams was the best? Computer simulations from What If Sports provide us with one way of finding out.

Ezra Shaw

The New York Giants have won the Super Bowl four times. Which of those teams -- 1986, 1990, 2007 or 2011 -- was the best team? Well, I'm sure you have your opinion on that and you can express it in the poll at the end of this post.

To answer that question in a more scientific manner I went to the folks at What If Sports and asked them to run computer simulations to come up with an answer. What we came up with was a round-robin tournament in which each Super Bowl winner played the other three Super Bowl winners. Each game was simulated 1,001 times.

The results? The What If Sports simulator says the best Giants' Super Bowl team is the 2011 squad that beat the New England Patriots, 21-17. In the simulations, that team won 61 percent of its games. The worst team? The 2007 team that defeated New England, 17-14. That team won only 40.5 percent of the simulations.

A table showing the full results is below.

Rank Team Win % Avg PPG Avg PPA
1 2011 61.0 27.6 24.0
2 1990 49.8 21.8 21.8
3 1986 48.7 22.6 23.2
4 2007 40.5 21.7 24.6

Which team do you think was the best? Vote in the poll and let us know. A quick summary of each team is below to help refresh your memory.

1986 Giants

Head Coach: Bill Parcells
Record: 14-2 regular season (NFC East champs); 17-2 overall
League Ranks (Points): Offense (8th), Defense (2nd)
Super Bowl XXI: Defeated Denver Broncos, 39-20
Quarterback: Phill Simms (259-of-468, 55.3 percent, 21 TDs, 22 INTs)
Leading Rusher: Joe Morris (1,516 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, 14 TDs)
Leading Receiver: Mark Bavaro (66 receptions, 1001 yards, 15.2 yards per catch, 4 TDs)
Defensive Stars: Lawrence Taylor (20.5 sacks), Leonard Marshall (12 sacks), Harry Carson, Carl Banks, George Martin

1990 Giants

Head Coach: Bill Parcells
Record: 13-3 regular season (NFC East champs); 16-3 overall
League Ranks (Points): Offense (15th), Defense (1st)
Super Bowl XXV: Defeated Buffalo Bills, 20-19
Quarterback: Phil Simms (first 14 games), Jeff Hostletler (final two games and playoffs)
Leading Rusher: Ottis Anderson (784 yards, 3.5 yards per carry, 11 TDs)
Leading Receiver: Dave Meggett (39 receptions)
Defensive Stars: Lawrence Taylor (10.5 sacks), Pepper Johnson, Carl Banks, Leonard Marshall, Erik Howard

Wide right was 23 years ago today

2007 Giants

Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
Record: 10-6 (2nd in NFC East); 14-6 overall
League Ranks (Points): Offense (14th), Defense (17th)
Super Bowl XLII: Defeated New England Patriots, 17-14
Quarterback: Eli Manning (297-of-529, 56.1 percent, 3,336 yards, 23 TDs, 20 INTs)
Leading Rusher: Brandon Jacobs (1,009 yards, 5.0 yards per carry, 4 TDs)
Leading Receiver: Plaxico Burress (70 receptions, 1,025 yards, 12 TDs)
Defensive Stars: Michael Strahan (9 sacks), Osi Umenyiora (13 sacks), Justin Tuck (10 sacks), Antonio Pierce, Corey Webster

2011 Giants

Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
Record: 9-7 (NFC East champs); 13-7 overall
League Ranks (Points): Offense (9th), Defense (25th)
Super Bowl XLVI: Defeated New England Patriots, 21-17
Quarterback: Eli Manning (359-of-589, 61 percent, 4,933 yards, 29 TDs, 16 INTs)
Leading Rusher: Ahmad Bradshaw (659 yards, 3.9 yards per carry, 9 TDs)
Leading Receiver: Victor Cruz (82 receptions, 1,536 yards, 18.7 yards per reception, 9 TDs)
Defensive Stars: Jason Pierre-Paul (16.5 sacks), Osi Umenyiora (9 sacks), Antrel Rolle, Corey Webster, Justin Tuck, Kenny Phillips