The New York Giants are one of the classic franchises in NFL history. They are known as winners who have a well-run organization. This has not been the case in recent years.
The Giants have fallen apart because of their poor decisions in the front office and on the sidelines. It began when Ben McAdoo was hired as head coach. That was a failed experiment. Pat Shurmur was even worse during his two years. Now, the Giants have to hope that Joe Judge can right the ship for the team.
It was not always this way. The Giants have a rich history of championships led by some of the best football names of all time. Here are the top five coaches in team history.
5. Jim Lee Howell
Howell inherited a poor team in 1954 and immediately turned them around. He finished above .500 in his first two years but did not make the playoffs. In year three, Howell turned the Giants into a championship team.
The Giants won their first of three division titles under Howell in 1956. They finished 8-3 and defeated the Chicago Bears, 47-7, in the NFL Championship. Howell would lead the Giants to two more title games but suffered losses.
Howell never had a losing season in seven years with the Giants. He brought the team back to their winning ways and that continued for years even after he left.
4. Jim Fassel
Fassel took over in 1997 and delivered the Giants to the playoffs in year one. New York won the NFC East at 10-5-1, but lost in the wild card round to the Minnesota Vikings. The Giants would return to the postseason in 2000 under Fassel.
The 12-4 Giants won another division title and made themselves comfortable in the playoffs. They picked up a 20-10 victory in the divisional round over the Philadelphia Eagles. They made quick work of the Vikings and earned a spot in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, they ran into an all time defense of the Baltimore Ravens and were held to seven points.
Fassel would return to the playoffs one more time before being let go after a 4-12 season in 2003. He finished 58-48-1 in seven years as coach of the G-Men. He was 2-3 in the playoffs in three trips.
3. Steve Owen
Owen took over as head coach in 1931. His 23 years are the most by any head coach in Giants franchise history. New York won eight division titles led by Owen. He finished his tenure with 150 wins.
The Giants became a championship team shortly after Owen was hired. In just his third season, New York went to the NFL Championship but lost. The very next season in 1934, the Giants won the championship 30-13 over the Bears. Beginning in the 1933 season, the Giants made the NFL Championship Game six times in nine years, winning two of them.
In total, Owen coached the Giants to eight championship games. He was one of the fathers of Giants football. Owen is one of two coaches in Giants’ history with 100 or more wins, and he holds the record.
2. Tom Coughlin
Coughlin took over after Fassel’s departure. The Giants finished second in a terrible NFC East at 6-10 that year. Beginning in 2005, Coughlin turned the Giants into a winning team and they remained that way until he left in 2015.
The Giants won the division in 2005 with an 11-5 record. They would go onto lost their first playoff game and suffer the same fate in 2006. The 2007 season is one that fans will never forget. The Giants won 10 games and entered the playoffs as a wild card team. They would go on to win three of the toughest road games possible. It began in Tampa Bay then knocked out the top-seed Dallas Cowboys. New York then traveled to Green Bay and eliminated the Packers in below freezing temperatures.
The 2007 team faced off against the then-undefeated New England Patriots with arguably the best offense ever. They shut down the offense and picked up a 17-14 win. The Giants would make another Super Bowl run under Coughlin in 2011. Coughlin led the Giants to the postseason five times in his tenure.
The ending was not a happy one for Coughlin. He stepped away from the team after a second straight 6-10 season in 2015. This was a mutual parting of ways that could be seen from a mile away. The Giants have yet to find a competent head coach since Coughlin left five years ago.
1. Bill Parcells
Coughlin could have landed at the top of the list, but it is hard to dethrone Parcells. In 1983, the Giants hired Parcells and it would change the franchise forever. After a 3-12-1 season in year one, Parcells led the Giants to the playoffs in five of the next seven years.
Parcells coached the Giants through the ’80s and had to deal with another great in Joe Gibbs in Washington. He is viewed as one of the best coaches in NFL history. It did not take him long to win a championship. After two straight divisional round losses, Parcells broke through with a Super Bowl in 1986.
Four years later, the Giants finished 13-3, one game worse than they did in 1986. They won the division for the third and final time under Parcells. They made a run to the big game against the Buffalo Bills. With a little help from Scott Norwood, the Giants and Parcells won another title.
Parcells is one of 13 coaches in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls. He would go on to coach the New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys before retiring. He never accomplished with them what he did with the Giants, though.