Saturday the NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2016 will be announced at the NFL Honors ceremony. With the New York Giants' long and proud history, its almost inevitable that the players (and coaches) and the Giants would have crossed paths memorably.
Some of the men who have had the biggest impacts on the game have also had some of the most interesting connections to the Giants.
Anderson only spent one year with the Giants -- the 2001 season -- he holds the distinction of playing in the most games of any player in NFL history -- 382 games from 1982 to 2007--, and being the league's leading scorer. In his lone year with the Giants, Anderson scored 95 total points, making 82.1 percent of his field goals and 96.7 percent of his extra point attempts. After leaving the GIants, Anderson signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, but was beaten out for the kicking job in 2004 by Lawrence Tynes, who would go on to kick the Giants to a pair of Superbowls with game-winning field goals in overtime.
Don Coryell is one of the most influential offensive minds in NFL history. Before Bill Walsh's scheme became known as the "West Coast Offense" the offense created by Don Coryell in San Diego was the "WCO". Coryell's scheme, which became known as the "Air Coryell" offense for it's desire to attack vertically down the field, has produced some of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. It is also an offense that the Giants have encountered often over the last 30 or so years.
The Washington Redskins under Joe Gibbs, the Dallas Cowboys of the early '90s and again under Jason Garrett, the "Greatest Show on Turf", quarterbacked by Kurt Warner, the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton, and Norv Turner's offense -- quarterbacked by Philip Rivers -- were all based on Don Coryell's philosophy.
Despite a largely successful final act with the Minnesota Vikings -- and a largely forgettable stint with the New York Jets -- Brett Favre will likely always be remembered as a Green Bay Packer. Favre's career was thrilling, at times needing to produce magic to rescue the team from predicaments he helped put them in. Favre's fearlessness bordered on recklessness, as he would attempt throws that most other quarterbacks wouldn't even think of. Brett Favre the gunslinger has been a frequent comparison for Eli Manning and his own tendency toward foolish fearlessness.
But also, a pair of career lows came against Manning and the Giants. The first came in 2008, when Favre's Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and seemed to be on a collision course with the unbeaten New England Patriots in the Superbowl. However, the Road Warrior Giants came into Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship Game and derailed that narrative, and the final pass Favre threw was an over-time interception to Corey Webster. That game has been hailed as one of the best championship games in league history.
The second came in December 3rd, 2010, when a sprained shoulder ended Favre's unparalleled Iron Man streak of starting 297 consecutive games. That game, Favre was set to start for the Vikings against Eli Manning and the Giants. Today, Eli Manning is the NFL's "Iron Man", owning the longest active streak among quarterbacks in the league, and the third longest such streak in league history.
Warner has one of the most unlikely stories in NFL history, and has the rare distinction of taking two separate franchises -- the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals -- to the Superbowl. In between those trips to the Superbowl, Warner was a Giant. Signed two days after being cut by the Rams in 2004, Warner won five of his first seven games, but was benched by new head coach Tom Coughlin in favor of rookie quarterback Eli Manning after a two game losing streak. The Giants ended that season going 6-10, with a 1-6 record under Manning.
With the Giants committed to starting Manning, Warner voided the second year of his contract and became a free agent, eventually signing with the Arizona Cardinals. However, his brief stint as the Giants' quarterback marks the last time any quarterback but Eli Manning started a game for the Giants.