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John Mendenhall R.I.P.

jeff57 : 3/1/2021 12:46 pm
A good player in a bad era.

Former Giants defensive tackle John Mendenhall passed late last week at the age of 72, according to his family. Mendenhall played eight seasons for the team from 1972-79.
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That's too bad, he was a hell  
Section331 : 3/1/2021 1:10 pm : link
of a player. The Giants sucked for his entire tenure, so he didn't get the notoriety he deserved.
Very underrated player  
averagejoe : 3/1/2021 1:13 pm : link
loved watching him play. RIP John. Anyone that saw you play will remember you.
Tony in Tampa : 3/1/2021 1:13 pm : link
name from childhood. As I was learning the game he was what I learned a DT was. In the 70s all the Giants had was a strong D and he, Kelly, Carson and Van Pelt were the guys that made you feel proud on a woeful team.
My favoriite player  
Stufftherun : 3/1/2021 1:18 pm : link
growing up in fact I wore a #64 jersey in pop warner because of my love for his game. RIP to a terrific and unsung Giant.
One of the  
Rolyrock : 3/1/2021 1:30 pm : link
Lone bright spots I could hold on to as a kid.
that's too bad. good player, what a motor.  
Victor in CT : 3/1/2021 1:32 pm : link
those defenses played their hearts out every week to lose 14-10 or 17-13.
I remember watching him in the college  
Bubba : 3/1/2021 1:33 pm : link
all star game (remember those?) against Dallas. He was dominant.
RIP to a childhood favorite.  
truebluelarry : 3/1/2021 1:39 pm : link
Mendenhall was one of the very first Giant players I noticed and would root for. The defense carried the team in the late 1970s and Mendenhall, along with Harry Carson and Brad Van Pelt were exceptional players stuck on a bad team. In one of my media guides, I can't remember which season, it may have been 1976 or 1977, the Giants unofficially credited Mendenhall with 14 sacks for the year, which is an incredibly high number for an interior lineman. Whether that total is officially recognized or not, that speaks to the high caliber of play he brought to the field every Sunday.
12 sacks and 7 forced fumbles in 1977 at defensive tackle.  
Ira : 3/1/2021 1:44 pm : link
So sad  
uconngiant : 3/1/2021 1:52 pm : link
He was my Dad's favorite defensive player as Bob Tucker was his offensive player as was mine. He was tough and made plays. Agree with if he was on a winning team he would have been a Pro Bowler a few times

May he RIP and prayers for his family
Great heart. Excellent player.  
Red Dog : 3/1/2021 1:57 pm : link
Undersized DL was a GIANT surrounded mostly by midgets.

R.I.P. John. We still miss you.
Remember the name well ....  
short lease : 3/1/2021 2:02 pm : link

Just didn't follow the team that close during the 70's. Harry Carson and Mark Haynes(?) got all the headlines for me back then ...

But, once a Giant always a Giant.

RIP Mr. Mendenhall
NOooo - One of my childhood hero's  
PatersonPlank : 3/1/2021 2:06 pm : link
Very good player, underrated because the the players around him. So young.
He gave many joy in the midst of much pain  
Hammer : 3/1/2021 2:12 pm : link
Very Sad  
jintman : 3/1/2021 2:12 pm : link
Absolute crime he's not in Ring Of Honor....I remember he was the best defensive Player they had for years.
A lot of us must be the same age  
Pork Chop : 3/1/2021 2:30 pm : link
he was my first favorite Giant. I wore #64 whenever I had the chance on different football teams.
Hey Mendenhall, i heard you got traded  
cjac : 3/1/2021 2:30 pm : link
I just called sports phone suckah....

Best commercial of all time
RIP # 64  
Chris in San Diego : 3/1/2021 2:30 pm : link
One of my all time favorite players.
RE: Bright spot indeed.  
ColHowPepper : 3/1/2021 2:32 pm : link
In comment 15164162 Big Blue '56 said:
On any reasonable contender, he’s a legit all-star, imv.
God, yes. Team guy, first and foremost, a mini-Donald who played much, much bigger than his size. Stellar
A favorite of mine, also...  
GA5 : 3/1/2021 2:34 pm : link
Always enjoyed watching him play.
My memory of John  
KeoweeFan : 3/1/2021 2:50 pm : link
was him anchoring the center of the line yet traveling sideline to sideline with deceptive speed to make the tackle.
Dexter is the first Giant to duplicate that ability.
Very sorry to learn.  
TC : 3/1/2021 3:01 pm : link
LOVED his style of play! Cat quick, shed blockers, crunched ball carriers.
RE: I remember watching him in the college  
GiantEgo : 3/1/2021 3:28 pm : link
In comment 15164231 Bubba said:
all star game (remember those?) against Dallas. He was dominant.

Yes, I remember that game he almost won it on his own.
#64 gone,  
section125 : 3/1/2021 3:38 pm : link
Was one of my favorite guys. Loved his play.
RIP #64  
JohnG in Albany : 3/1/2021 3:54 pm : link
Say one thing for those dreadful Giants teams of the 70's.

They taught you how to watch defense because, well, there was nothing else of value to watch in those years.
John Mendenhall  
pa_giant_fan : 3/1/2021 4:01 pm : link
He was small for a DT but had a big heart.
John Mendenhall  
pa_giant_fan : 3/1/2021 4:02 pm : link
He was small for a DT but had a big heart.

RIP #64
RIP Mendy  
arniefez : 3/1/2021 4:17 pm : link
an excellent player on terrible teams. But he was far from the lone bright spot on those defenses. Van Pelt, Carson, Martin, Kelly, Gregory, Archer, Spider all played with Mendenhall. He was as good a NT/DT as Burt and Howard if not better. He was just born 10 years too soon.
RE: Hey Mendenhall, i heard you got traded  
Rico : 3/1/2021 4:20 pm : link
In comment 15164296 cjac said:
I just called sports phone suckah....

Best commercial of all time

I remember that commercial, too. It was very well done and very funny!
3rd round pick in 1972.  
Victor in CT : 3/1/2021 4:40 pm : link
2 first rounders, Larry Jacobson and Eldridge Small were busts. Mendy was the only player in that draft who made it with the Giants. They drafted a C from Lehigh, John Hill, in the 6th round. He became a 10+ yr starter with the Saints.
Saw him in 1974 at the Yale Bowl,  
BigBlueNH : 3/1/2021 4:50 pm : link
my first Giants' game, and also Craig Morton's first game as a Giant. He was a beast. I remember watching the team load onto a bus in their full uniforms at games end (who knows where they had to go for showers), and remember thinking he was the widest human being I had ever seen.

Also, he really was one of the few bright spots on that 74 D. A lot of the names set forth above came later.
He was awesome when the Giants didn't have a lot going for them  
steve in ky : 3/1/2021 4:52 pm : link
I don't think he gets as much credit as he deserves in Giants history
Was a Special Player  
Samiam : 3/1/2021 5:19 pm : link
Its true as mentioned above that he did play with some pretty good players but that was at the end of his career here. For most of his career, he played for the Giants when they were a laughingstock franchise; in my opinion, definitely worse than what we have been experiencing these past few years. For most of his career, he was pretty much the only talent on the defense,

I have no recollection of him playing elsewhere but i just read that his last year in the league was with the Lions. How did that happen?
Peter from NH (formerly CT) : 3/1/2021 5:27 pm : link
young to be gone
My favorite player from mid to late 70s.  
.McL. : 3/1/2021 6:02 pm : link
Before him it was Spider Lockhart, now they are both gone. Sad day.

RIP to a great player who was severely underrated by the rest of the league.
RIP #64  
Devour the Day : 3/1/2021 6:08 pm : link
My first favorite player when I was 10 years old and just starting to get into NYG football.
RIP John  
SomeFan : 3/1/2021 6:26 pm : link
He was very good. Two other bright spots on those teams were Bob Tucker and Ron Johnson. Pretty much that was it.
Photo of  
LS : 3/1/2021 7:24 pm : link
John against the Eagles.
John Mendenhall - ( New Window )
Saw him up close at Soldier Field  
yalebowl : 3/1/2021 8:30 pm : link
Amazingly, I inquired with the Giants team offices if they had extra game tickets for the Bears-Giants game in Chicago, and I got two tickets. It was cold rainy day in December and I took my brother-in-law to the game. We drove down from Wisconsin.

The seats were folding chairs on the 20 yard line behind the Giants bench area in front of the stadium seats. I saw John Mendenhall as he walked by us at half time to the locker room. What a treat.
Some Mendenhall scans from the archives  
truebluelarry : 3/1/2021 8:48 pm : link
1976 Yearbook cover

1976 Yearbook bio

1975 Media Guide photo w/Jack Gregory

1975 Media Guide action photo

1978 Media Guide action photo sequence w/Harry Carson

1979 Media Guide bio (scan came out a little crooked, apologies)

Man, I loved that guy  
VanPelt/Manning#10 : 3/1/2021 9:14 pm : link
Everyone here has already said above what needs to be said about a true Giant great from a dismal era. So sorry to see another one go. RIP
R I P  
Bleedin Blue : 3/1/2021 10:33 pm : link
One of the few bright spots on some bad teams!!
Never got his due  
HomerJones45 : 3/1/2021 11:33 pm : link
Because of the bad teams he played on. Excellent player. RIP John.
The most underrated Giant  
Mendenhall : 3/2/2021 8:48 am : link
of all time. When the Giant teams of the 70's were absolutely horrible he was a beacon of light. A 250lb DT, quick as a mouse. Not only a great football player but an even better person. RIP.
My very first "favorite Giant"  
rnargi : 3/2/2021 9:33 am : link
Rest easy, Big John
RIP Mendy  
liteamorn : 3/2/2021 9:39 am : link
He truly was a great player in a tough era, RIP
AcidTest : 3/2/2021 10:30 am : link
was an excellent player and tremendously underrated, undoubtedly because as others have said, he played on some very bad teams. RIP. God bless. Prayers to his family and friends.
RE: Bright spot indeed.  
Brick72 : 3/2/2021 11:36 pm : link
In comment 15164162 Big Blue '56 said:
On any reasonable contender, he’s a legit all-star, imv.


Absolutely. There were times when all you heard on a play was "Mendenhall!" Will never forget that.
RE: The most underrated Giant  
Brick72 : 3/2/2021 11:45 pm : link
In comment 15164585 Mendenhall said:
of all time. When the Giant teams of the 70's were absolutely horrible he was a beacon of light. A 250lb DT, quick as a mouse. Not only a great football player but an even better person. RIP.

Agree. He is one of the most underrated Giants of all time. John Mendenhall. 'Nuff said!
In his rookie season, I saw Mendenhall play a preseason game  
GeofromNJ : 3/5/2021 1:31 am : link
in late August against the Eagles. The Grambling rookie was easily the best player on the field on that hot August day, and when I say best player I mean, best player, not just best Giant. The Giants finding Mendenhall in round 3 in '72 seems in retrospect like pure luck. In round 1, the Giants drafted DE Larry Jacobson and CB Eldridge Small. In round 4, they drafted Tom Gatewood, TE from ND. The players they passed up in that year's draft would break your heart.
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