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What was the fanbase's level of optimism going into 1986?

BlackLight : 6/10/2024 4:16 pm
A few years before I started following the team, and decades before social media added a different dimension to fandom. What was the general feeling in the summer of '86 - thirty years removed from the last title? Did we think we were right on the doorstep? Did we think Chicago and San Fran would spend the rest of the decade in the NFC driver's seat? Did fans finally concede that Simms had the goods, or did it take winning the Super Bowl before it finally put that question to bed? Or were fans actually less jaded and cynical about things?
I thought we would be very good  
Essex : 6/10/2024 4:20 pm : link
and the second best team in football but the Bears were coming of an historic year and they beat us 21-0 in playoffs the year before. I was never convinced we were better than the bears who were also 14-2 or 13-3 in 1986, but then they lost the Washington in the Divisional Round so that game never happened. I think we would have won, but that was a good football team.

TL;DR the bears were very good and so were we and I thought it would come down to one of us, kind of like a 1990 feeling with Niners.
and by convinced I mean a firm belief we would win  
Essex : 6/10/2024 4:22 pm : link
i think we would have won at home, but I was not sure. Also, people forget that before the second Washington game in the regular season the Giants were winning games in 86, but many were very close and some comebacks. We fell down 17-0 to the Niners on MNF also to the Saints earlier that year. After the second Washington game the team hit another gear.
Super Bowl contender  
Darwinian : 6/10/2024 4:26 pm : link
.
Pretty good.  
truebluelarry : 6/10/2024 4:27 pm : link
We knew the Giants were a solid team.
But still, things like division championship and super bowls were things that other teams enjoyed.
In 1985 the Giants proved they could go toe-to-toe with just about anybody, but they always had something go wrong like a flukey turnover that would bite them in the ass (the Browns game and both Cowboy games come immediately to mine).

Going into 1986 the Giants peaks were Wild card wins. The playoff run (both games at home that I was fortunate to attend) and Super Bowl XXI were rarefied air and it was like "pinch me, I must be dreaming".

My recollection is that 1985 was a good year and we were optimistic  
Ivan15 : 6/10/2024 4:29 pm : link
Going into the 1986 season. Any team with LT had a chance.

Generally, seasons leading up to 1986 and leading up to 2007 had the same questions. Was the QB good enough to get to the Super Bowl?

The questions are louder today. Can Jones even get the Giants to the playoffs again? Jones or someone needs to show us he can get the Giants to the playoffs before anyone but the most crazed fan can be optimistic about being a Super Bowl team.




The 1986 Bears were paper tigers  
Greg from LI : 6/10/2024 4:29 pm : link
14-2, yeah, but against a laughably weak schedule - the NFC Central was incredibly bad that year. They turned the ball over at an astonishing rate. Had they had to come into the Meadowlands in January 1987, they would have been smoked.
After losing to Chicago  
Mayo2JZ : 6/10/2024 4:31 pm : link
I think it was Simms or LT who said they needed to be better and boy were they! I was so excited for '86 that I went to the first game in Dallas when Joe Morris held out. We almost beat the Cowboys if it weren't Hershel Walker. I went to every KEY game that year. The second Dallas game at home, Denver, Minnesota and the playoff game where we literally destroyed the Niners. Me and my buddy even made the highlight film for that year from the Niners game. Truly a magical year!
High expectations in 1986  
Rick in Dallas : 6/10/2024 4:35 pm : link
After a very good 1985 season
Super Bowl contenders  
Matt in SGS : 6/10/2024 4:36 pm : link
the Giants at that point were following the general path that you saw from the previous Super Bowl winners. A few years of building success, getting to the playoffs, winning a game but then losing to the eventual Champion, which set them up to be the next in line.

They were the pick of a few pundits before the season to go to the Super Bowl. Inside the NFL on HBO, Nick Buoniconti actually picked the matchup before the season, but he had Denver winning it.

I remember after the Week 1 loss at Dallas, I was thinking all that hope for nothing..but I was around 12/13 at the time, so I'll give myself a pass, lol.
As a 12 year old  
ElitoCanton : 6/10/2024 4:36 pm : link
I thought we'd be great. I still think we win in Chicago in 1985 if we didn't fumble when were driving early in that game.
RE: As a 12 year old  
Darwinian : 6/10/2024 4:39 pm : link
In comment 16534125 ElitoCanton said:
Quote:
I thought we'd be great. I still think we win in Chicago in 1985 if we didn't fumble when were driving early in that game.


Come on, now. That game wasn't close.
RE: Super Bowl contenders  
truebluelarry : 6/10/2024 4:53 pm : link
In comment 16534124 Matt in SGS said:
Quote:

They were the pick of a few pundits before the season to go to the Super Bowl. Inside the NFL on HBO, Nick Buoniconti actually picked the matchup before the season, but he had Denver winning it.


Right. Paul Zimmerman called the Giants-Broncos Super Bowl in the SI preview issue that September, with the Giants winning. Optimism was high.
As I recall it, most fans I knew  
Section331 : 6/10/2024 5:00 pm : link
were thinking Super Bowl or bust. The loss to Chicago in the playoffs the year before was pretty ugly, but I think most thought it was a learning process, and they'd be ready to take the next step.
RE: RE: As a 12 year old  
ElitoCanton : 6/10/2024 5:03 pm : link
It was close until the Landetta muff. An early score would have completely changed the game.

In comment 16534128 Darwinian said:
Quote:
In comment 16534125 ElitoCanton said:


Quote:


I thought we'd be great. I still think we win in Chicago in 1985 if we didn't fumble when were driving early in that game.



Come on, now. That game wasn't close.
Not sure about 86  
Breeze_94 : 6/10/2024 5:05 pm : link
But I do remember 07 nobody saw them as a SB threat.

They were 8-8 in 06 after falling apart down the stretch. Tiki had carried the offense for years and just retired. Strahan was contemplating retirement. Eli seemed to be a mistake prone QB who was average at best. The secondary was littered with question marks..
Lost the first game against the Pukes  
Sec 103 : 6/10/2024 5:14 pm : link
But that D was beyond good. I had no doubt until the Championship game, beating a division rival three times??? Scary shit, but the winds of change came and so did the Skins. After that I KNEW we would win.
Only two losses all year, and dominant on D. The O was pretty much ground and pound with a TE that was not only a great blocker but a man amongst boys.
I gave 17 points and got 3 to one from a coworker, he couldn't believe he was getting such a deal.
Broke his balls for years.
Extremely  
M.S. : 6/10/2024 5:21 pm : link
Hugh.

Haven’t felt that way in quite a while.

Back then, we knew the Giants were gonna kick some ass.

Today there’s a Giants media universe blowing sunshine up our ass.
Very optimistic  
Red Dog : 6/10/2024 5:28 pm : link
Most of us thought this was a Super Bowl team. It was loaded.

LT was the best player in the league. The overall defense was top shelf from front to back.

Simms had proved himself, and the offense wasn't bad, with Joe Morris arguably the best RB in the league at the time with a very good OL.

Specials were solid with good kickers and a head coach who really understood the value of STs.
I thought they'd compete for the SB in 86 and beat any AFC team  
David B. : 6/10/2024 5:35 pm : link
I thought the Giants D was almost as good as the 85 Bears, and their offense was better than the 85 Bears. The teams to beat back then were Chicago, SF and WSH.
Super Bowl contender, yes.  
81_Great_Dane : 6/10/2024 5:35 pm : link
The 1985 team was terrific and that playoff game in Chicago was the closest of any game the Bears played that post-season. The Giants were already arguably the 2nd-best team in the NFL going into '86.

The thing about the '86 season was that for a lot of it, the Giants seemed shaky, especially on offense. There was real concern about what would happen when they faced the Bears in the playoffs. But the league was already figuring out the Bears and they were already declining.

I don't think the Giants have been favored that way since, with the possible exception of 2008.
The team was a legitimate contender pre-season  
Mike from Ohio : 6/10/2024 5:54 pm : link
Not just among Giants fans, but the national media as well. Chicago was team that posed the most formidable challenge, but the cap was narrowing fast from 1984 and 1985.

Simms had shown he was a QB you could win with in 1984 and 1985. He took another step in the SB against the Broncos that cemented him as a very good QB.

The Giants had been on the upswing for a few years so expectations were building over the prior few years. Message boards tend to bring out more opinions, but even those who thought they would never see the Giants win a Superbowl knew the team was good.
We were taking incremental steps  
Stu11 : 6/10/2024 6:05 pm : link
'84 we returned to the playoffs. '85 we took another step winning 10 games for the first time in forever and hosting a playoff game. The divisional game vs a generational team in the Bears was a tough battle for about 2 and a half quarters. So logically we felt the next step to get to the SB was possible. From '80 till '89 you didn't have a repeat champion. The SB winner hangover was real. You had teams like the Skins/49ers/Raiders win it twice but not back to back. We felt it was logical that the Bears would fall off a bit, and they did. Greg is spot on. The Bears were 14-2, but they weren't nearly the same team. Buddy Ryan had jumped to the Eagles, and Jim McMahon was hurt and their QB situation was musical chairs and Flutie ended up the starter and it was a downgrade. The prevailing feeling was if we could get home field it would make all the difference vs the Bears if we played them again. That was the real motivation all year from day one.
 
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 6/10/2024 6:10 pm : link
I can’t even begin to describe how angry I get when I hear people say we lucked out not facing the Bears in the 86 NFC championship game. We would have smoked them.
RE: After losing to Chicago  
JCassmen : 6/10/2024 6:11 pm : link
In comment 16534120 Mayo2JZ said:
Quote:
I think it was Simms or LT who said they needed to be better and boy were they! I was so excited for '86 that I went to the first game in Dallas when Joe Morris held out. We almost beat the Cowboys if it weren't Hershel Walker. I went to every KEY game that year. The second Dallas game at home, Denver, Minnesota and the playoff game where we literally destroyed the Niners. Me and my buddy even made the highlight film for that year from the Niners game. Truly a magical year!


Simms said it. He said they thought the Giants were intense and after the 21-0 loss to the Bears, said they realized they had to take it to up a notch (to 11!).
RE: We were taking incremental steps  
Pepe LePugh : 6/10/2024 6:20 pm : link
In comment 16534171 Stu11 said:
Quote:
'84 we returned to the playoffs. '85 we took another step winning 10 games for the first time in forever and hosting a playoff game. The divisional game vs a generational team in the Bears was a tough battle for about 2 and a half quarters. So logically we felt the next step to get to the SB was possible. From '80 till '89 you didn't have a repeat champion. The SB winner hangover was real. You had teams like the Skins/49ers/Raiders win it twice but not back to back. We felt it was logical that the Bears would fall off a bit, and they did. Greg is spot on. The Bears were 14-2, but they weren't nearly the same team. Buddy Ryan had jumped to the Eagles, and Jim McMahon was hurt and their QB situation was musical chairs and Flutie ended up the starter and it was a downgrade. The prevailing feeling was if we could get home field it would make all the difference vs the Bears if we played them again. That was the real motivation all year from day one.

Both years we were knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual SB Champ, so it was easy to believe.
RE: …  
truebluelarry : 6/10/2024 6:32 pm : link
In comment 16534173 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Quote:
I can’t even begin to describe how angry I get when I hear people say we lucked out not facing the Bears in the 86 NFC championship game. We would have smoked them.

Exactly right. The 2nd best team in the NFL that season was Washington - who beat the Bears in Chicago.
RE: …  
FStubbs : 6/10/2024 6:47 pm : link
In comment 16534173 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Quote:
I can’t even begin to describe how angry I get when I hear people say we lucked out not facing the Bears in the 86 NFC championship game. We would have smoked them.


This. IF the 86 Bears were that good, they wouldn't have lost at home to Washington.
Mine was high  
Matt M. : 6/10/2024 6:54 pm : link
Then again, I was only 14, so I was probably optimistic most years.

I did think we played OK against Chicago in 1985, or at least could hang with them. Unforced errors were the reason we lost.
RE: RE: Super Bowl contenders  
Matt in SGS : 6/10/2024 7:03 pm : link
In comment 16534133 truebluelarry said:
Quote:
In comment 16534124 Matt in SGS said:


Quote:



They were the pick of a few pundits before the season to go to the Super Bowl. Inside the NFL on HBO, Nick Buoniconti actually picked the matchup before the season, but he had Denver winning it.




Right. Paul Zimmerman called the Giants-Broncos Super Bowl in the SI preview issue that September, with the Giants winning. Optimism was high.


That's right, I have that preview SI somewhere where Dr. Z picked it too.
The Giants even then made you sweat to the end of every game.  
anova : 6/10/2024 7:09 pm : link
I thought they were the best team to start the year. It was a different time in the NFL. Teams were primarily running teams, and there was no free agency. The Giants mostly steam rolled through teams, and they had some tough games. Simms really proved himself against the Vikings with the 4th and 17, so at that point they looked like they might be the team.

There roster didn't have all-pros at every position, shoot they had Herb Welch at FS by the end of the year. McConkey a late season pick up; injuries were a factor.

Their front 7 though, was as good or better than any team. They smoked the Packers in the last game of the season, and after destroying the 49'ers in the playoffs, I had no doubts. I had a hundred timer on them in the Super Bowl.
My recollection going into 86  
AROCK1000 : 6/10/2024 7:28 pm : link
There was no real Super Bowl talk...we had found ways to ruin seasons for 25 years going in,then we lost to Dallas week 1 on MFF.....it wasnt until we went on that great run at the end of the season,that we even dared to dream.We won our last 9 games including Dallas in a rematch,Washington 2x,Minn,SF...
Even the Super Bowl wasnt a start to finish win,we trailed at halftime.
In 86, the Giants were among the elites  
George from PA : 6/10/2024 8:20 pm : link
But not until the Vikings game....did I think Super Bowl.
Very optimistic  
mfjmfj : 6/10/2024 8:39 pm : link
but the view on Simms was mixed at best. Coming into the 1984 season he was viewed with about the same level of disdain as DJ is today. He was good in 84 & 85 but it was a defensive team, dominated by the running game on offense. He was an interception machine (his whole career). I don't think he became accepted as the Phil Simms until that otherworldly Super Bowl. 22/25 for a guy who was a roughly 55% completion passer. It was amazing.
The thing about the '86 Giants is they came in with high expectations  
Darwinian : 6/10/2024 9:27 pm : link
and they gradually proved they were the best team in the league and while we all worried about that Washington game in the dreadful wind, we knew we were the team to beat. It was almost a wire to wire season of greatness. Imagine if the 2008 team went on to win the Super Bowl. It was a little like that.

1986 was the best season the Giants ever had.
High expectations.  
ThomasG : 6/10/2024 10:29 pm : link
You knew the defense was going to be stellar. Morris was going to run well. Coaching was coming into their own. Just need some receivers to give Simms some good targets other than only going to Bavaro.

The biggest issue really was how good the NFC was back then, and could the Giants navigate through everybody to reach the Super Bowl. A game where the NFC dominated in the 1980s and early 1990s so you just had to get there.
A lot of people saying LT is the best player in the NFL  
mattnyg05 : 6/10/2024 11:15 pm : link
I wasn't around at that point-but going INTO 86 did you all feel like he was still the best? From everything I've seen/read there was a little concern after maybe a 'down' 85 (still better than 99 percent of players ever) and the rehab in the offseason.

Seriously asking, not picking an argument. LT was absolutely the best player on defense of all time and he proved it certainly in 1986-but my question is did you all feel like he was still the best, were there questions about him? Interesting topic
RE: In 86, the Giants were among the elites  
rnargi : 6/11/2024 6:03 am : link
In comment 16534247 George from PA said:
Quote:
But not until the Vikings game....did I think Super Bowl.


This is how I felt. I was 26 yard old and never thought we'd be good enough to win a SB. He'll they hardly MADE the playoffs let alone won a playoff game since I started watching with my Dad in 1970. But then 4th and 17 happened. And they made it look like a routine play. That's when I let belief creep in. Then week 13, the comeback against the 49ers on Monday night. The Giants never did that. Finally, when they smoked the 9ers 49-3 in the division round,I was pretty confident. Still, in the back of my mind, I was saying " but it's the Giants....they never win."
Yeah, was thinking Superbowl contender  
ZogZerg : 6/11/2024 8:28 am : link
So close in 85.
RE: The 1986 Bears were paper tigers  
Victor in CT : 6/11/2024 8:46 am : link
In comment 16534118 Greg from LI said:
Quote:
14-2, yeah, but against a laughably weak schedule - the NFC Central was incredibly bad that year. They turned the ball over at an astonishing rate. Had they had to come into the Meadowlands in January 1987, they would have been smoked.


exactly. in fact I remember LT being really nervous about playing WAS, 1) they were great and 2) that he thought it was near impossible to beat a team like that 3 times in 1 year.
The expectation was to be NFC champs  
sb from NYT Forum : 6/11/2024 9:11 am : link
…after SF in 84 and the Bears in 85, the general feeling was this year was their turn.
IIRC, reaching the previous  
section125 : 6/11/2024 9:14 am : link
season's conference championship game was like the 1st step for getting to the Super Bowl. Seemed it was a stepping stone. The Bears beat them up pretty badly in the ice cold the previous season.
So optimism was high.
Very, very high.  
Big Blue Blogger : 6/11/2024 9:45 am : link
So many of the losses in 1985 were flukey, especially against Dallas, plus the Theismann broken-leg game . There was no question the ‘86 team had the talent to win it all, except maybe at WR. The question was whether bad bounces, boneheaded plays, and bad coaching decisions would continue to cost them in close games. In ‘86, they made the plays to win those games, although the early losses to Dallas and Seattle sure looked a lot like the previous season.
RE: RE: The 1986 Bears were paper tigers  
Essex : 6/11/2024 9:54 am : link
In comment 16534405 Victor in CT said:
Quote:
In comment 16534118 Greg from LI said:


Quote:


14-2, yeah, but against a laughably weak schedule - the NFC Central was incredibly bad that year. They turned the ball over at an astonishing rate. Had they had to come into the Meadowlands in January 1987, they would have been smoked.



exactly. in fact I remember LT being really nervous about playing WAS, 1) they were great and 2) that he thought it was near impossible to beat a team like that 3 times in 1 year.

I don't argue with the fact that we would have beaten the Bears in 1986, but to say it would have been a cake walk is a little revisionist-- we got smoked by them in the first game of 87 before the strike. Back then teams did not change much from year to year. The Bears were also the number one seed in 1988. The Bears while not nearly as dominant as 85, was still a good team and there run of being one was far from over. Does that show we would have lost at home--absolutely not (I think we would have won), but the Bears were a good team and could have won and to say otherwise is a bit revisionist.

What I would say is that we were kind of like the 10-1 Eagles this year that year--we won a lot of close games and the offense had struggled many times that year (we had two losses). Then we took the exact opposite turn--instead of having a collapse, we went into Washington and blew them out of the building and were just on a different level after that game. So, yes I do think we were the best team and would have won but I think that is more than us as opposed to the Bears not being that good anymore.
1986 Bears  
Csonka : 6/11/2024 10:06 am : link
If not for a ridiculous sheap shot on McMahon by a Packer, that 86 team might have been just as good as '85. They gave up more than 14 points 3 times all regular season.
RE: 1986 Bears  
truebluelarry : 6/11/2024 12:31 pm : link
In comment 16534451 Csonka said:
Quote:
If not for a ridiculous sheap shot on McMahon by a Packer, that 86 team might have been just as good as '85. They gave up more than 14 points 3 times all regular season.


Yeah, but who were those three games against? The Browns, Vikings and Rams - three quality teams, two of which made the playoffs. The Bears inflated their stats against inferior competition because they played in a weak division. the Lions, Packers and Buccaneers were the dregs of the NFL.

I looked up Paul Zimmerman's 1986 NFL forecast  
truebluelarry : 6/11/2024 12:41 pm : link
It's interesting to look back 38 years later (damn, I feel old!)

cover
https://i.imgur.com/PjGhp9Q.jpeg
Joe Morris vs 49ers 1985 NFC Wild Card
https://i.imgur.com/lyZGbxv.jpeg
Dr. Z's rankings
https://i.imgur.com/cio6Mau.jpeg
https://i.imgur.com/QRoG2Cw.jpeg
Giants & Bears 1 & 2 in NFC
https://i.imgur.com/KMHqQTR.jpeg
Zeke Mowatt & Mark Bavaro
https://i.imgur.com/sHnHRpK.jpeg

RE: RE: RE: The 1986 Bears were paper tigers  
Greg from LI : 6/11/2024 12:53 pm : link
In comment 16534443 Essex said:
Quote:
I don't argue with the fact that we would have beaten the Bears in 1986, but to say it would have been a cake walk is a little revisionist-- we got smoked by them in the first game of 87 before the strike. Back then teams did not change much from year to year. The Bears were also the number one seed in 1988. The Bears while not nearly as dominant as 85, was still a good team and there run of being one was far from over. Does that show we would have lost at home--absolutely not (I think we would have won), but the Bears were a good team and could have won and to say otherwise is a bit revisionist.

What I would say is that we were kind of like the 10-1 Eagles this year that year--we won a lot of close games and the offense had struggled many times that year (we had two losses). Then we took the exact opposite turn--instead of having a collapse, we went into Washington and blew them out of the building and were just on a different level after that game. So, yes I do think we were the best team and would have won but I think that is more than us as opposed to the Bears not being that good anymore.


The Bears offense flat out stunk, even with McMahon (who was always overrated anyway). The Giants would have shut their asses out, same as they did to a far better Redskins offense. Maybe the Giants offense wouldn't have scored much on the Bears' defense, but the Bears wouldn't have been able to even move the ball much.

In their last ten games, including the playoff loss to Washington, the Bears turned the ball over 35 times. Seriously.

There is no way that team is scoring on the Giants in Giants Stadium in January 1987.

Regarding the opener the next season, I have heard multiple Giants, including Parcells, admit that the team slacked off the entire offseason after the title, fat and happy.
Just to underscore how close the team was in 1985...  
Big Blue Blogger : 6/11/2024 1:04 pm : link
The six regular-season losses were by a total of twenty points. The averge margin of victory in the wins was two TDs.

And contrary to the perception that a dominant defense was held back by a stagnant offense, the 1985 Giants did not lose any low-scoring games. The average score in the six losses was 29-26. Although Simms contributed pick-sixes against Cincinnati and Dallas, in nearly all of those losses the defense couldn't get off the field on critical second-half drives.
RE: Just to underscore how close the team was in 1985...  
truebluelarry : 6/11/2024 1:17 pm : link
In comment 16534609 Big Blue Blogger said:
Quote:
The six regular-season losses were by a total of twenty points. The averge margin of victory in the wins was two TDs.

And contrary to the perception that a dominant defense was held back by a stagnant offense, the 1985 Giants did not lose any low-scoring games. The average score in the six losses was 29-26. Although Simms contributed pick-sixes against Cincinnati and Dallas, in nearly all of those losses the defense couldn't get off the field on critical second-half drives.


Like the Browns game. After Marty Schottenheimer pulled Bernie Kosar for Gary Danielson in the third quarter the Giants defense was helpless.

It was interesting to reread the Dr.Z evaluation on the Giants where he mentioned that the Giants covered for him on the field in 1985, intimating that even though he had the sacks on the stat sheet (13), he wasn't LT the Superman the year before and had a lot to prove in 1986 after going to rehab during the offseason.
Man, I remember watching that Browns game at my grandfather's house  
Greg from LI : 6/11/2024 1:19 pm : link
and he and dad were so angry and baffled by how they managed to lose that game when they were utterly dominating Cleveland.
I was so excited about the Mets  
exiled : 6/11/2024 1:34 pm : link
that I was high on the Giants—especially after the World Series, the Giants were so dominant.

What a special year that was for this Mets/Giants fan. I waited my whole life for 1986.
It's so weird to read these type of threads  
arniefez : 6/11/2024 2:14 pm : link
and see how people remember things differently and in some cases completely inaccurately.

When the 1986 season started there was no doubt that the Giants were good enough to be a playoff team for the 3rd straight year. They were an ascending team with more than a half dozen future Giants Ring of Honor players in their primes. But the Giants had never seriously contended for the Super Bowl. There was hope but it was based on building on 1984 and 1985 which ended with playoff losses to much better teams that became Super Bowl winners in those seasons.

Phil Simms was 31 years old in 1986 coming off a Pro Bowl season in 1985 and had won 2 playoff games. Eli was 26 in 2007 had played poorly in and lost 2 playoff games. Even with the injuries and the typical Giants fan base "hating" on their starting QB Simms was a much more established NFL QB.

In my opinion the Giants most important and greatest regular season win of the Super Bowl era was in Washington week 14, December 7, 1986. The Giants did not blow out the Redskins that day. They won the game 24-14. Washington actually out gained them and held the ball longer than the Giants did. That happened more times than most younger Giants fans would think considering the level of reverence those of us who were lucky enough to be there for that season have for the 1986 team.

The Giants defense forced 7 turnovers that day. 6 interceptions. Lawrence Taylor was the NFL MVP in 1986. LT played one of his greatest games that day. He beat HOF LT Joe Jacoby around the end early in the game and blasted Jay Schroeder which set the tone for the rest of the day. That was also the game that made Brad Benson famous. He handled All Pro Dexter Manley very well that day, pretty much one on one, while playing with an almost season long cut on bridge of his nose that kept opening up during the game and providing material for John Madden to do his thing.

I don't want anyone to think that 1986 wasn't the most magical Giants season of my lifetime. It was by far. The Giants played 12 games in Giants Stadium in 1986. 2 pre season games, 8 regular season games, 2 playoff games. Their home record was 12-0 in 1986. Their 2nd and last loss was in Seattle week 7.

This what followed that game.

A Monday Night football home win vs Washington while the Mets were winning the World Series at Shea the same night. At the stadium we were following and cheering for both games. The Giants came into that game tied with Dallas, 1 game behind Washington for the NFC East lead. When the game ended there was a 3 team tie for 1st place. It was a unique night. Washington won their next 5 games in a row.

Then came two pretty much evenly played 17-14 wins over Dallas at home and Philadelphia on the road. Carl Banks knocked Danny White out of the Dallas game with a broken wrist on a brutal sack. The Dallas win put the Giants and Washington a game ahead of the Cowboys. The Philadelphia win kept pace with Washington at 8-2.

The three games that followed the win in Philadelphia all had plays that have been named in Giants history. 4th and 17 in Minnesota, The George Martin interception at home vs Denver. The Bavaro catch in San Francisco. Each game the Giants were doing great, iconic things that we had only seen other teams do to them since Super Bowl I.

December 7, 1986 the 11-2 NY Giants at the 11-2 Washington Redskins for first place in the NFC East. After the Giants beat them and Banks ended Danny White's season in week 9 Dallas lost 6 out of their last 7 games. Washington had won 5 games in a row. The Giants had won 6 games in a row.

Washington had been to 2 Super Bowls and won 1 and would win another the following season in 1987. By comparison the Giants 11 wins were their most of the Super Bowl era with 3 games left in the 1986 season. The year before they won 10 games. It was their first double digit winning season of the Super Bowl Era. The Giants were in unknown, uncharted territory.

I wasn't at that game. I watched it on my state of the art 26" 4:3 standard definition TV with some friends. But I'll never forget it. It was billed as the NFC East championship game and IMO it turned out to be that and more. I think that win set the stage for the Giants first 2 Super Bowl wins. Winning the NFC East was the last regular season hurdle for the Giants.

At that point with a 12-2 record in 1st place, for the first time ever, winning the Super Bowl felt like a real possibility even for the most pessimistic Giants fans.
good post arniefez  
Victor in CT : 6/11/2024 2:31 pm : link
that 2nd WAS game was a doozy. well played , tough match, very few penalties by 2 great teams that respected each other.

I remember back then my Mom pestering my father for a big new TV and he always put her off, but the day before he and I went to PC Richard in Smithtown and brought home a for those days huge 27" Sony Trinitron console that weighed a ton LOL. We brought it home ourselves so we could have it for the game. The "oh sure now we get new TV" chorus from my mom and sister went on for weeks.

The other thing is that the game was played on Sunday at 1:00PM. No night game or flex. Good times.
for what its worth  
Giants86 : 6/12/2024 10:37 am : link
I picked the Giants vs Broncos before the season to reach the Super Bowl.
The Redskins were a really good team  
Greg from LI : 6/12/2024 11:22 am : link
And the Giants beat them three times. That was awesome.

The SI cover that week was Mark Bavaro with the headline "REAL GIANTS". I had that cover on the wall of my bedroom up through high school, along with a clipping of a picture from the Richmond Times Dispatch the Monday after the game of LT hitting Jay Schroeder. That game was so big.
Parcells told the AB&G bartender he didn't think they were there yet..  
x meadowlander : 6/12/2024 12:03 pm : link
...I used to frequent Allendale Bar and Grill back in the mid-late 80's - while I didn't cross paths with Parcells there, the bartender did - preseason 86', told the bartender the team was close, but he didn't expect a SB win. Clearly, they weren't at the Bears level... yet.

I also remember rumors in 89' that Parcells believed THAT team was going all the way.

Rose-colored glasses say THAT was the best period in modern history to be a Giant fan - NFC East was SO competitive, and the Giants were a top 5 team for nearly a decade straight.
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