The New York Football Giants are a proud distinguished sports franchise, with a spirited cast of characters that have built and maintained the foundation of dignity in which the team strives to perpetuate every season. Names like Wellington Mara, Frank Gifford, and Sam Huff didn’t only help expand the brand of the New York Giants, but also enhanced the awareness of the game we love so much today. Football stars are now some of the most globally recognized people, similar to actors. What if Hollywood cast a movie about the New York Giants? Which actors would play Giants’ stars like Bill Parcells, Justin Tuck, or even Saquon Barkley? Let’s go through 15 New York Giants, past and present, and see which performer would have played them in this theoretical blockbuster.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This very different idea is an expanded version of an answer to a question sent to the Big Blue View Mailbag a while back by Marcus Mewborn. Here’s the question: “If you could choose a TV/Movie character to best describe Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin, and for the heck of it Ben McAdoo since he was so quirky. Who would you choose for them and why?”
I turned this over to Nick Falato, who volunteered for it, since I am nowhere near enough of a movie buff to have come up with all of these comparisons. Hope you enjoy a little light reading for an offseason Friday. — Ed V.
Bill Parcells, NYG: 1981-1990
Actor: Ron Pearlman
Yes, he played the Beast in Beauty & the Beast; Yes, he was HellBoy; and yes he was a gun smuggler antagonist in Sons of Anarchy, but I believe Pearlman could pull off Parcells. Pearlman has been acting since 1975 and he has tons of range within the characters that he has played. As Clay in Sons of Anarchy, he was ruthless and the character had a ton of edge. Pearlman can transform that personality from the gang riddled streets of California to the gridiron. Plus, Pearlman is an east coast guy (Born in New York), so it’s not a stretch to think Pearlman couldn’t easily modify his deep baritone voice to be more like Parcells’ Jersey accent.
Tom Coughlin, NYG: 1988-1990, 2004-2015
Actor: Robert Duvall
This is more of a testament to the greatness of Robert Duvall than anything else. Duvall doesn’t necessarily resemble Coughlin, but his acting ability would match Coughlin’s intensity, fierceness, and vocal depth. His role as Major Burns in the film MASH really alludes to how Duvall can portray a malevolent militaristic character. Coughlin is far from malevolent, but I’m sure some players would say he had a unique military style of motivation and punishment. Duvall was also Don Vito Corleone’s consigliere in The Godfather, but he had many other major roles in some of the best motion pictures of the last century. He was in The Betsy, The Great Santini, Apocalypse Now, and The Apostle. Duvall would need some glasses and a hairpiece, but I would certainly watch and enjoy him acting as Coach Coughlin.
Ben McAdoo, NYG: 2014-2017
Actor: John Heard
To put it kindly, McAdoo won’t be remembered in a fond light when talking to most Giants’ fans. He was a solid offensive coordinator who was in way over his head as the lead man, which should have been evident during his press conference where he looked like he was casted in Honey I Shrunk the Kids. The oversized suit also evokes memories of Heard’s role in The Sopranos. He was an amoral detective that helped Tony investigate Dr. Melfi in season one. Much like McAdoo, Heard’s clothes were questionable: unironed and ragged, which prompted Tony to tell him to “buy an iron” after paying him. Heard isn’t a huge acting name, but you’ve probably seen him before. He also fits the mold of McAdoo due to some of the roles he played: he was the corrupt antagonist in White Chicks, he repeatedly lost his child in the Home Alones, and he was an annoying office mate who kept failing to win against a child Tom Hanks in Big. Slap a big jumpsuit on this guy, put a menu in front of his face, and either slick his hair back or let it grow ... that my friends is a way for Hollywood to create a McAdoo. Sadly, Heard passed away in 2017.
Lawrence Taylor, NYG: 1981-1993
Actor: Sidney Poitier
One of the most feared defensive players of all time is being played by one of the most well respected actors of his era. Poitier helped break Hollywood color barriers and is now a respected diplomat. He’s won more thsan 19 awards and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Poitier played many different roles in his career and a young Poitier would have thrived as Taylor. I’ve only seen Poitier act in a few movies, due to the gigantic age gap, but I’d feel like a fabulist if I didn’t mention my first exposure to Poitier was in a season one episode of South Park.
Michael Strahan, NYG: 1993-2007
Actor: Laurence Fishburne
Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Michael Strahan and his 141.5 sacks would be played by Morpheus himself, Laurence Fishburne. Known mainly for The Matrix Franchise, where he was a protagonist and the leader of the Nebuchadnezzar, Fishburne also starred in Boyz in da Hood, where he was the savvy father to the character of Cuba Gooding Jr. Fishburne was also in Contagion, which is a movie that probably should resonate at this moment. If you look close enough, Fishburne also has a slight gap in his teeth. Is that the sole reason why I selected him for this role ... no, but it’s a plus! Fishburne’s excellent acting would master a role like the dynamic Michael Strahan mastered putting pressure on Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII.
Amani Toomer, NYG: 1996-2008
Actor: Taye Diggs
I know Diggs mostly for his roles in House on Haunted Hill and Malibu’s Most Wanted. Anyone who can survive a nightmare like a Then There Were None situation is good enough to play a Giants’ great like Amani Toomer. Yeah, sure ... Diggs’ attempt to change B-Rad didn’t go over so well, but that doesn’t mean he can’t act as a receiver in the NFL.
Eli Manning, NYG: 2004-2019
Actor: John Krasinski
Manning’s role was the most difficult one for me to fill. Eli is just a very unique looking person; there’s not many like him in the world, other than maybe Michael Phelps, and Krasinski kind of resembles Phelps. The Office star has proven that he’s more than just Jim Halpert. He was very good in 13:Hours, and he starred in A Quiet Place. Manning made a name for being a quiet type of leader that always said a lot, without saying anything, in his interviews, so that title fits. Krasinski also stars as Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, where he’s an expert in fighting; just like Manning is an expert in the clutch. Times’ Magazine named Krasinski in the top 100 most influential men in the world back in 2018. Manning has been that for the majority of us Giants’ fans for years, so Krasinski can play Eli Manning. Also, Krasinski’s dry, intelligent, sense of humor in The Office fits Manning’s wit.
Justin Tuck, NYG: 2005-2013
Actor: Ernie Hudson
Hudson is one of the strongest actors in Hollywood and Tuck is one of the strongest defensive ends in recent football history. Hudson led a rescue diamond expedition to the middle of the Congo, hunted ghosts as Winston Zeddemore, and was a warden in one of the most drama filled prisons in the world. Tuck had 451 tackles, 60.5 sacks, and 18 forced fumbles for Big Blue. A lot of Husdon’s roles are consistent with leadership billets, something that Tuck embodied with confidence as a Giants’ star. Much like I try to forget about the final two years of Tuck’s career, Hudson tries to forget Miss Congeniality II.
Daniel Jones, NYG: 2019-Present
Actor: Beau Mirchoff
I really wanted to cast Daniel Jones to play Eli Manning in a movie about Peyton Manning’s life (shout out to whoever came up with that joke), but I decided on Beau Mirchoff, who I didn’t know too much about outside of his limited role in Scary Movie 4. Mirchoff was the ambitious son of the satirical character from Signs that was acting as Tom Cruise, played by Craig Bierko. Funny enough, I wanted to cast Daniel Jones as an actor I saw on Seinfeld that I felt resembled the young quarterback. The actor’s name was Layne Beamer and he was in the Season 5 episode called Stand In, where Kramer was a stand in for a father on a show’s set. Beamer played the father and had a striking resemblance to Jones. Beamer’s career in acting was limited after that quick stint, so I went with Mirchoff, who is now more of a television series actor.
Saquon Barkley, NYG: 2018-Present
Actor: Michael B. Jordan
Black Panther and Fantastic Four are movies where Jordan plays a superhero. Barkley is a real life running back that might as well be superhuman; Barkley suffered an injury in Week 3 of 2019 and came back in three weeks, when most people would have been out for eight. Barkley couldn’t regain form, mostly due to a poor offensive rushing attack, but his freakish athletic ability is indicative of a real life player with superhuman speed, burst, and agility. Jordan is also Creed, a Rocky branch off movie about the son of Apollo Creed. Creed is a precocious fighter who is incredibly effective; Barkley is a precocious running back who is hopefully about to have a true breakout year. Jordan’s smile lights up Hollywood and Barkley’s lights up the NFL. There are just too many similarities between the two stars ... I just hope Barkley taps into his superhero potential in 2020.
Carl Banks, NYG: 1984-1992
Actor: Idris Elba
Ahhh, I wouldn’t forget our amazing broadcast team. Banks was a stud linebacker, with two Super Bowl rings for the New York Giants. Now, he’s the color commentator who assists Bob Papa on the radio. As a player, Banks had 627 tackles and 36 sacks as a Giants. Elba was a drug kingpin in The Wire and played Nelson Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom. Elba would play the current radio booth Carl Banks and would do a fantastic job next to fake Bob Papa, who is our next character.
Actor: A 55-year-old Mel Blanc
Mel Blanc is one of the most famous voice actors and radio personalities of all time. He’s done the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, and Mr. Spacely from The Jetsons. Blanc’s new role will be Bob Papa, who has one of the most distinct voices in radio. Even though Papa is still going strong as the play-by-play analyst for the Giants on the radio, his voice is nostalgic for me and brings me back to a younger Falato when the Giants were defeating the Green Bay Packers in the 2007 NFC Championship Game. Blanc can turn his voice into Papa’s and now the movie would be able to have a soundtrack.