clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

If Eli is the best, who is the worst Giants’ QB of all time?

Eli Manning is arguably the best quarterback in Giants history. Who are some of the worst? Here is a list of names to consider.

New York Giants vs New England Patriots
Jared Lorenzen

The New York Football Giants are one National Football League (NFL) franchise that throughout its history has been known for their defensive play. This began in the 1950s when players such as Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Rosey Grier, Emlen Tunnell, Jimmy Patton, Jim Katcavage and Dick Modzelewski jelled into a ferocious unit.

During this time, Giants defensive back Tom Landry developed the 4-3 defense that many a club would later adopt and was permanently installed once he became the team’s defensive coordinator. Landry believed the other team’s offense had patterns that would likely divulge their play selection in upcoming games.

Suddenly, all around the Polo Grounds and later Yankee Stadium fans began to chant “Defense! Defense! Defense!” instead of cheering for the offensive stars. In pro football, this had never happened before. The term “blitz” or “red dog” would be derived by the Giants defense and was a signature of this unit during this time.

But every team lives and dies by their quarterback. Name a championship team that did not encompass a high-quality signal caller under center. In college football, it has been proven that an average QB can lead a team to the Promised Land, but not in the NFL.

There has been many a great run of excellent Giants’ teams that have captured NFL titles, but on the flip side there have been many lean years – and even decades of bad teams. With horrible squads, the QB play was always front and center. Here is a list of the truly dreadful from bad to rotten.

20. Don Heinrich – 1954-1959, 23 starts, played eight seasons with three NFL teams. 164-406, 2,287 yards, 17 TD, 23 INT, 49.6 QB rating. Played in three NFL Championship games and on the Cowboys very first team. Is enshrined in the College Hall of Fame. Would start the first quarter of each game from 1955-1959 and Charlie Conerly would then play the final three quarters.

19. Kent Graham – 1992-1994/1998- 1999, 19 starts, 694-1,339, 7,801 yards, 39 TD, 33 INT, 100 times sacked, 69.0 QB rating. Back up to Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Danny Kanell and Kerry Collins. Played for seven different NFL teams.

18. Paul Governali – 1947-48, played in 17 games with four starts, 218-500, 3,348 yards, 31 TD, 33 INT, 59.5 rating. 1942 Maxwell Award winner, served three years in World War II. Played four pro seasons, two in the AAFC.

17. Scott Brunner – 1980-1983, 30 starts, five NFL seasons with two clubs. 512-1,046, 6,457 yards, 29 TD, 54 INT, 56.3 QB rating, sacked 71 times. Was Giants starting QB when Bill Parcells was hired, eventually beat out by Phil Simms. Was traded to Broncos, then traded to Packers, then traded to Cardinals.

16. George Shaw – 1959-1960, five starts, played 12 seasons with three different NFL teams and one AFL team. Was first player taken overall by Colts, then lost job to Johnny Unitas. Career: 405-802, 5,829 yards, 41 TDs, 63 INT, 58.8 QB rating. With Giants, 100-191, 12 TD, 14 INT. Was injured early in career and never regained his physical poise.

15. Jim Crocicchia and Mike Busch – 1987. Each player competed in training camp for the number three slot and were both cut. Brought back as QBs of Giants replacement squad. Had 3 starts between them. Crocicchia went 6-15, 89 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 82.4 QB rating. Busch played in two games and went 17-47, 278 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 60.4 QB rating.

14. Dave Brown – 1992-1997, 53 starts, 892-1,634, 10,248 yards, 44 TD, 59 INT, sacked 181 times. Former first round supplemental draft selection, finished his final four years with Cardinals. Replaced Phil Simms after retirement. Never lived up to his first round billing.

13. Jeff Rutledge – 1983-1989, four starts, 14 seasons with three NFL teams. 274-526, 3,628 yards, 16 TD, 29 INT, sacked 52 times, 61.4 QB rating. With Giants: 179-350, 2,391 yards, 9 TD, 19 INT.

12. Gary Wood – 1964-1966, 68-69, 10 starts, then finished with Ottawa of the CFL. Was Y.A. Tittle’s backup chosen in the 8 th round, then backed up Fran Tarkenton, went to Saints in expansion draft and was third string. 186-400, 2,575 yards, 14 TD, 23 INT, sacked 46 times, Threw for 1,142 yards in 1966 alone. Six NFL seasons. 55.4 QB rating.

11. Danny Kanell – 1996-1998, 20 starts from this fourth round pick. 491-956, 5,129 yards, 31 TD, 34 INT, 63.2 QB rating. Finished out his career with two seasons each with the Falcons and the Broncos. 1997 Giants team with Kanell at helm won the NFC East with 10-5- 1 record.

10. Jerry Golsteyn – 1977-1978, five starts, played eight NFL seasons with five clubs, played one year USFL and one year semi-pro. 92-217, 2 TD, 13 INT, 36.2 QB rating. 9 INT while with Giants.

9. Bob Clatterbuck – 1954-1957, two starts, 77-149, 1,032 yards, 8 TD, 9 INT, was on 1956 NFL Championship team, taken in Round 27. Played five pro seasons, his final year in the AFL’s first year.

8. Eddie Miller – 1939-1940, 0 starts, 48-96, 700 yards, 6 TD, 9 INT, 55.9 rating. 1939 Giants went 9-1- 1 with Ed Danowski at starting QB. World War II ended Miller’s career and became a pilot that began a 30-year military stint. A very promising player that never had the opportunity to play the game again.

7. Jesse Palmer – 2001-2004, started three games, 63-120, 562 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT, 58.3 QB rating. Sacked 16 times. Kerry Collins’ backup and Bruce Smith’s 200 th career sack.

6. Jared Lorenzen – 2004-2007, started zero games, 4-8, 28 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 58.3 QB rating. Became Eli Manning’s backup in 2006 after a strong pre-season which is the only bright spot. Playing weight: 285 lbs. Signed with the Colts for one season before playing three seasons of indoor football. Was league MVP of the Ultimate Indoor Football League in 2011.

5. Curtis Painter – 2013, 0 starts, 148-287, 6 TD, 13 INT, 9 fumbles lost, 57.6 QB rating. With Giants: 8-16, 57 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 19.0 QB rating. Many were surprised he even made the team.

4. Jim Del Gaizo – 1974, one start, played four seasons with three NFL teams. 44-103, 648, 4 TD, 10 INT, 37.3 QB rating. With Giants: 12-32, 165 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT. Played on Dolphins 1972 undefeated/untied team.

3. Randy Dean – 1977-1979, one start, played 4 NFL seasons with two teams. 30-65, 279 yards, 1 TD, 5 INT, 31.5 rating. Was traded to Packers, then cut.

2. Joe Pisarcik – 1977-1979, 23 starts, 424-898, 5,552 yards, 24 TD, 48 INT, 112 sacks, 53.9 QB rating. Played for Calgary in CFL from 1974-1976 then the Eagles for four years after the Giants cut him. Renowned for his handoff to Larry Csonka with seconds left in the game leading the game amidst a 5-2 record which was fumbled and returned for an Eagles TD, famously called the “Miracle in the Meadowlands.”

1. Frank Filchock – 1946, 11 starts, 87-169, 1,262 yards, 12 TD, 25 INT, 60.2 QB rating. Became first multi-year contract with Giants. Later suspended for four NFL seasons for an association with gamblers involved in the 1946 NFL title game against the Bears. He went to play in the CFL the following two years but was involved in other scandals in that league which resulted in forfeiture of games and one team being ejected from the league. He was reinstated by the NFL in 1950, but at age 33 the Giants - who still had his rights - passed.