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Giants legends come together to celebrate 100 seasons


NEW YORK – The Giants have been feted at the White House and hailed at ticker tape parades, but Thursday night they had one of the most memorable and significant non-gameday events in franchise history.

In the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Giants hosted “A Night with Legends” presented by Verizon, the kickoff to the 2024 season, the 100th in the franchise's history.

Perhaps the largest group of Giants icons to gather in one place at one time were cheered in a theater packed with Giants fans who came to thank their heroes for eight championships, including four Super Bowl victories, and countless priceless memories.

The attendees included four Pro Football Hall of Famers: coach Bill Parcells and players Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson and Michael Strahan. They were joined by Giants Ring of Honor inductees Tom Coughlin, Phil Simms, Eli Manning, George Martin, Pete Gogolak, Amani Toomer, Tiki Barber, Carl Banks, Mark Bavaro, Chris Snee, Justin Tuck, Joe Morris, Ottis Anderson and Ronnie Barnes.

Manning, Simms, Carson, Taylor, Martin, Barber, Toomer, and Snee all played at least 10 years in careers spent entirely with the Giants. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 33 players have played in a game in 10+ seasons with the Giants and never played a game for any other NFL team. That is the fourth highest figure among NFL teams behind Dallas, Pittsburgh and Green Bay.


"A Night With Legends" One-Hour Special airs 6/27 at 7 PM on MSG

Re-live the celebration with the "Giants 100: A Night With Legends" One-Hour Special. Premieres Thursday, June 27th at 7PM on
MSG Networks,, GiantsTV, Giants App, and YouTube

At his retirement news conference in January 2020, Manning explained his disinterest in playing for another franchise by saying, "Once a Giant, only a Giant."

Last night, he was excited to share time with his fellow exclusive Giants.

"That's a small fraternity of players that played a long time and played for only one franchise," Manning said. "That resonates with all those guys, and they hold that in a special place knowing that they played for the Giants and only the Giants. It was important for me, and I look forward to seeing some of those guys tonight."

Another member of that group was Greg Larson, a center who played in 173 games for the Giants from 1961-73. Larson passed away Thursday morning and was remembered fondly by team president John Mara when he spoke.

Many other Giants who have passed away were lauded for their contributions to the franchise, most notably co-owners Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch, who died three weeks apart in 2005. Former general manager George Young, running back/defensive back Frank Gifford – both Hall of Famers – and linebacker Brad Van Pelt were praised by former colleagues and teammates.

One of the evening's highlights was the announcement that a vote by fans on had selected David Tyree's famous helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII as the greatest play in Giants history.

Manning has often chided his offensive linemen for their blocking efforts on that play and did so again with center Shaun O'Hara and Snee sitting just a few feet away from him.

"Shaun, I want to thank you and Chris for not blocking anybody on that play," Manning said. "Snee, you did not touch one person. I almost threw you the ball. You were standing right in front of me and looking at me, like, 'I'm open.' I'm like, 'You're not supposed to be doing this.' It worked just like coach Coughlin drew it up – no one block anybody, and Eli be the great athlete that you are, run around, break a couple of tackles, and then throw it to Tyree's helmet in the middle of the field surrounded by three or four defensive players. And it worked."

View photos from 'Giants 100: A Night with Legends' presented by Verizon as we celebrate 100 seasons of Giants Football.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll were in attendance, as were current players Bobby Okereke and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Schoen and Daboll each have a great appreciation for the franchise's rich history.

"To be a part of the 100th season is really cool for me," Schoen said.

The G.M., an Indiana native, was eager to meet Bavaro.

"Bavaro played at Notre Dame and my dad used to take me to the spring games as a kid," Schoen said. "Somewhere in a box in the storage room there's a picture of me and Mark Bavaro and I have to find it."

Daboll said he has had numerous discussions with his illustrious predecessors, Parcells and Coughlin.

"I would say good friendly conversations, but they're unbelievable mentors for me to this day," Daboll said. "I've talked to those guys a bunch, I'd say more recently since I got this job, but unbelievable coaches, they have great stories. Thankful for both of those guys."

The oldest former player in attendance was the 82-year-old Gogolak, the original soccer-style kicker, whose 646 points remain the franchise record 50 years after he played his final game.

"I'm very proud to be part of the Giant family," Gogolak said. "It's a great organization and it's great to be back."

In 1966, Gogolak, who was born in Budapest, Hungary and played at Cornell, became the first prominent player to jump from the American Football League to the NFL.

"I'm just proud that I lasted that long, nine years, as a kicker with one team," Gogolak said. "That's a pretty good, good thing."

Gogolak came to the United States with his family as a teen following the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. He played soccer in Hungary and was convinced he could adapt his style of kicking to American football.

"When I saw Lou Groza, the old Cleveland kicker, kick the ball straight on, I was 15 years old and said to my father, 'I think I can do better than that and I can kick a ball from the side like a soccer player.' I should have patented this kick. I should have got a patent and a quarter every time people come in and did it, because now everybody is kicking this way."

The formal program was hosted by the longtime Voice of the Giants, Bob Papa. He first welcomed to the stage John Mara, the Giants' president and chief executive officer. As he often does, Mara spoke of his reverence for the Giants' fan base, particularly the families who have remained devoted to the team for two or three generations.

A short time later, Parcells and Coughlin, the Giants two-time Super Bowl winning coaches, were introduced to a long and loud ovation. Parcells, who led the Giants to victories in Super Bowls XXI and XXV, is now 82. Coughlin, whose teams won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI – and was the wide receivers coach on the Super Bowl XXV team – is 77. Their birthdays are nine days apart in August.

The coaches were joined on the stage by their Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks: Simms (XXI) and Manning (XLII and XLVI). Simms spoke of the impact both coaches had on the lives of so many of the players in attendance.

All five of the Giants' Super Bowl teams – including the 2000 squad that lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XXXV – were well represented. And Strahan asked the crowd to remember the coach of that team, the late Jim Fassel.

At one point late in the night, the following players were all on stage together: Simms, Taylor, Carson, Martin, Brian Kelley, Carl Banks, Ottis Anderson (the MVP in Super Bowl XXV), Morris, Phil McConkey, Bavaro, Jason Sehorn, Toomer, Barber, Manning, O'Hara, Snee, Victor Cruz, Tuck and Tyree.

All that was missing was the ticker tape.

*On Thursday, June 27, a one-hour "A Night with Legends" special will premiere at 7 p.m. EDT time on @msgnetworks,, @GiantsTV, Giants App and YouTube.

To commemorate their 100th season, the New York Giants today unveiled a "Century Red" uniform, which the team will wear for up to two games in 2024.


"A Night With Legends" One-Hour Special airs 6/27 at 7 PM on MSG

Re-live the celebration with the "Giants 100: A Night With Legends" One-Hour Special. Premieres Thursday, June 27th at 7PM on
MSG Networks,, GiantsTV, Giants App, and YouTube