Giants News | New York Giants –

Still going strong


In the ongoing ESPN project, fans vote on who they think the best players will be three years down the road from 2014-16 based on what they've shown so far, and maybe more importantly – their age.

After all, it is a vote about the future, and 30-somethings like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning didn't make the list.

However, the divisional bloggers followed up with a projection of the best 30-and-over players at the start of the 2014 season, and Dan Graziano predicted Eli Manning as the strongest "Oldie but goodie" in the NFC East.

With Manning hitting the milestone this past January, it got me thinking about which Giants have played their best football after flipping the calendar to the big 3-0.

We'll start on the defensive side of the ball.

Few players have been as productive as Michael Strahan before their 30th birthdays, let alone after.

The 15-year vet recorded 79.5 of his franchise-record 141.5 career sacks after turning 30, which he did in November of his record-setting season of 22.5 sacks in 2001. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year as a result and claimed the NFC award two seasons later after notching 18.5 sacks.

Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell, who played with the Giants for a decade from 1948-58 as a defensive back, made 25 of his then-NFL record 79 interceptions and helped the Giants win the NFL Championship in 1956 after turning 30 the previous year.

Now we turn to the offense, which boasts most of the notable season records as well as two Super Bowl MVP's.

Phil Simms was selected to two Pro Bowls, won two Super Bowls and holds the second and fifth-best passing seasons by a Giants quarterback – and all came in his thirties. Simms passed for 4,044 yards in 1984, and it remained a Giants record until broken in 2002 by Kerry Collins, who had just turned 30.

The other MVP is running back Ottis Anderson, who rushed 21 times for 102 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XXV at the age of 34 (his birthday was eight days before).

Running backs are typically regarded as having short playing careers, but Tiki Barber set the Giants' single season rushing record twice after he hit 30.

Even John Carney joined in the fun.

The journeyman kicker came up five points shy of setting the Giants' single-season scoring record with 143 (35 field goals and 38 extra points) in 2008. He was 44 at the time.

And with that return to yesteryear, here's an update on how the Giants are faring on the Dream Team of Tomorrow:

A week into the voting, Justin Tuck leads defensive ends with 35 percent, followed by Chris Long (20.7%) of St. Louis and Trent Cole (19.9%) from the Philadelphia Eagles. Jason Pierre-Paul sits in fourth with nearly 18 percent. Without playing one snap in the NFL, the Giants' first-round pick Prince Amukamara ranks fifth among cornerbacks with just over 10 percent.

On the offensive side, G Chris Snee is in third with 25 percent, right behind the Saints' Jahri Evans (33.4) and the 49ers' Mike Iupati (30.4).

Picking one player from each team, Dan Graziano of wrote about WR Hakeem Nicks and his potential to be a future star.

"Nicks is already one of the best and most reliable wideouts in the NFL, and he's got just two years in," Graziano wrote on his NFC East blog. "He's 23 years old right now, which means he'll play the 2014 season at age 26. In the meantime, he'll have been Eli Manning's No. 1 receiver in the Giants' pass-heavy offense and had enough skill-position talent around him (Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, etc.) to have put up big-time numbers. His physical gifts are clearly substantial, and they aren't going anywhere between now and 2014."

[Vote now while the ballot is still open](( "ESPN")

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.