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1986 Giants: One of a Kind!

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Senior writer and author Peter King, reporting for Newsday in the late 80's, mused on his experience covering the Giants, specifically the 1986 Super Bowl team.

"When I think back to the last football team I covered as a beat writer, the New York Giants for four seasons in the 1980s," King wrote, "I think how lucky I was."

King mentioned how linebacker Harry Carson and defensive lineman Jim Burt used to go "on and on (all of it good and valuable)" and recalled an instance when he talked to Bill Parcells for 45 minutes at his parking space early in the morning. He even brought up a time he went out to dinner with Phil Simms on a Friday before a playoff game because the quarterback "had a house full of sick kids and didn't want to risk catching whatever they had."

King then went on to talk about Parcells' mentorship of then-defensive coordinator Bill Belichick.

"But where Belichick really might have learned something from Parcells was in the psych lab. Before the Giants met the Rams in a 1989 playoff game, Parcells was determined to play mind games with (Lawrence) Taylor, who always had trouble with Rams left tackle Irv Pankey," King wrote. "He left a round-trip plane ticket to New Orleans on Taylor's stool. Taylor asked Parcells what it was. 'A ticket to New Orleans,' he said. 'You fly down there, give the return ticket to (linebacker) Pat Swilling, and tell him to fly back for the game. No one will know. You both wear 56. He's the only guy who can handle Pankey. You can't.'"

King said he is often asked what Taylor was really like and what it was like to watch him closely for four years. King wrote that LT never let the writers get close, but had "three or four civil conversations with him," including after a time he "sweetly" kissed King's wife's hand at a banquet.

"But as a player, Taylor was infinite fun to cover," King wrote. "I'll never forget when the Giants were 0-4 in the 1987 strike season, going to Buffalo to try to save their season in the last replacement game before the good guys came back. Taylor crossed the picket line and told Parcells, 'I don't know how much of a difference one man can make, but I'm gonna try to win this game for you.'"

King concluded with, "Sometimes you're fortunate in this business to be in the right place at the right time. In the primes of Taylor, Simms and Parcells, I was."

Among others, some teams and sporting events included in the series were the 1998 Yankees (Tom Verducci), the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (Phil Taylor), the 1992 Dream Team (Jack McCallum), the 1978 Yankees (Larry Keith) and the 1995 South African rugby team (Ian Thomsen). 

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