Super Bowl XXV: Giants 20 Bills 19…My Bills that is….sigh OK here goes…be fair..not a fan…be fair…*gasp* The Giants made it to Tampa on the heels of one of the greatest NFC Championships ever played in their 15-13 defeat of the two time champion San Francisco 49ers. The team the Giants were built to defeat.
What was beautiful was how the Giants and 49ers each steamrolled toward the ’90 NFC title tilt like two tractor trailers headed for a head on collision. Each had won 2 playoff games against the other in head to head during the 1980’s. Yet the Giants had won the last two in 1985 and 1986. The latter was a 49-3 destruction which took place in the ’86 divisional round. A game made famous when Joe Montana was knocked from the game with a severe concussion by Giant Jim Burt (from the[[_]]).
The Giants were built by the late GM George Young. Yet it was Bill Parcells and DC Bill Belichick who designed his defense to throw off the timing of the 49ers offense, mainly though disrupting the receivers by knocking them off their routes.
Enter Mark Collins, who was drafted in 1986 from Cal State Fullerton. He was the best cornerback that covered Jerry Rice on a continual basis. Bumping him at the line of scrimmage and getting a good re-route that makes the cover 2 defense go…funnel the receivers in to the linebackers and safeties. This team had some big safeties in Myron Guyton and Greg Jackson….couple these guys with the aging yet effective Everson Walls and this was a solid secondary.
Did I forget the linebackers off this team? Linebacker and New York Giants just go hand in hand don’t they? Pepper Johnson (5 rings), Gary Reasons, Carl Banks, and Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor were stout. Stopped the run…rushed the passer and for one game against the 49ers in the NFC Championship in 1990 they flip flopped Lawrence and Carl Banks so that Taylor was rushing on Steve Wallace and had Leonard Marshall work against Bubba Paris…uh…we’ll get to that. Then you had the front line in a 3-4 that was just beefy in Erik Howard (who replaced the departed Burt) Eric Dorsey, and future Hall of Famer Leonard Marshall. Immovable on the point and still could collapse the pocket.
What’s funny is that the 49ers in the ’89 playoffs, were on their way to repeat as champions and they caught a huge break. While they were beating Minnesota, the Giants were locked in a dogfight with the L.A. Rams and were tied at 13 in overtime. First, the Giants were flagged on a very questionable pass interference by Sheldon White that moved the Rams into field goal range.
The next play Mark Collins breaks his ankle and the Rams rushed to the line of scrimmage and sent Flipper Anderson (Collins was covering) on a go route to end the game 19-13. The Giants would have stopped that 89 ‘Niner team. Of course friends wouldn’t listen and everyone was talking 3 peat. I told everyone the Niners aren’t built to handle the Giants and each team came in on a mission steamrolling to 10-0 start to the season, the both of them. Met on a Monday night each 10-1 and proceeded to beat the hell out of each other in a defensive struggle so good it was artistic. The Niners won 7-3 but could they win the rubber match??
Yes Everson Walls got to celebrate a big win in Candlestick Park… this was only the 2nd road team to win the NFC Championship in 11 years dating back to 1980. OJ Anderson, from The [[_]], was a workhorse and won Super Bowl MVP honors.
I didn’t think they could bounce back from such a dogfight within one week yet they did and held down MY BILLS with a power running game and kept the ball for 40 minutes. It’s still painful to think of the kick Norwood missed..and many folks say that the 86 Giants were better…but look at the two teams they had to beat to get this ring: The almost 3-peat 2 time Super Bowl champion 49ers and a juggernaut Buffalo Bills team that won the AFC Championship 51-3, were up 41-3 at the half and the starters were on the bench before the 4th quarter. San Fran played in the 2 Super Bowls previous and Buffalo would play in the next 3.
That is much stronger than defeating a wildcard 10-6 Redskin team in the ’86 NFC Title and Denver in XXI. In fact the ’90 run they had to beat 1 Hall of Fame Coach in Marv Levy and 9 Hall of Fame players on the 49ers and Bills. The 2 championships in ’86 had just Joe Gibbs and 3 Hall of Famers on the Redskins and Bronco squads.
I’d have to put this 90 team over the 86 team because of the strength of opponent to achieve both NFC and Super Bowl titles were stronger…that’s my take…what do you think??