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Classic Uniforms & Legacy Games

Top 25: Ranking the biggest games in blue


Ahead of this week's Legacy Game,'s Michael Eisen ranks his top 25 games played in the iconic blue uniforms from the '80s and '90s.

25) Oct. 2, 1988. Giants 24, Washington 23

The Giants won 35 regular-season games from 1988-90, a franchise record for three consecutive seasons. Three of those victories were by a single point – the Hostetler-led comeback listed below, a 13-12 triumph in New Orleans on Nov. 27, 1988 (a game, ironically, in which Hostetler started but was replaced by Jeff Rutledge at the beginning of the third quarter) and a 24-23 victory in RKF Stadium in Week 5 of the 1988 season. And the Giants might not have won that game under the NFL's current rules allowing two-point conversions. But they did, thanks largely to Washington kicker Chip Lohmiller's poor performance. He was wide left on his PAT after Timmy Smith's touchdown run gave his team a 6-3 lead. Washington chased the point for the rest of the game. Down 24-9, Mark Rypien threw touchdown passes of 49 and 21 yards to Ricky Sanders. The latter, early in the fourth quarter, cut the Giants' lead to 24-22. Today, Washington could try to tie the game with a two-point conversion, an option that wasn't adopted until 1994, so Lohmiller's PAT pulled them within a single point. Washington had a chance to win the game, but Lohmiller's 36-yard field goal attempt with 2:54 remaining sailed … wide left. Then, the Giants ran out the clock.

24) Oct. 21, 1990. Giants 20, Cardinals 19

Quarterback Jeff Hostetler gave a preview of the skill and savvy he would deploy three months later in leading the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XXV. He rallied the Giants from a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes to a last-second, 20-19 victory against Phoenix. Hostetler entered the game after Phil Simms suffered an ankle injury late in the first quarter. His first pass was a 19-yard completion to Mark Bavaro. But the Giants trailed, 19-10, when they took possession at their own 24 with 5:38 remaining. Hostetler led them on a 8-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Baker. The defense forced the Cards to punt and the Giants took over at their own 29 with 58 seconds left. Hostetler completed passes of 26 yards to Mark Ingram and 18 yards to Lionel Manuel, setting up Matt Bahr's game-winning field goal as time expired.

23) Dec. 20, 1986. Giants 55, Packers 24

The Giants concluded the greatest regular season in their history - and solidified their standing as the team no one wanted to face in the playoffs - by thrashing Green Bay, 55-24, in Giants Stadium. Their ninth consecutive win improved their record to 14-2, a franchise single-season record for victories. The Giants jumped out to a 24-0 lead, withstood a Packers rally and outscored the visitors in the second half, 31-7. Phil Simms threw two touchdown passes to Mark Bavaro and one to Zeke Mowat, while Lee Rouson ran for two touchdowns and Joe Morris one. Morris' 115 yards paced a 226-yard rushing attack.

22) Aug. 31. 1997. Giants 31, Eagles 17

The Giants made Jim Fassel's head coaching debut a memorable and successful one by jumping out to a 21-point lead on their way to a 31-17 defeat of division rival Philadelphia. Rookie safety Sam Garnes made the biggest play in his first NFL game, intercepting a Rodney Peete pass and returning it 95 yards for the clinching points with 4:58 remaining. The Eagles had scored back-to-back touchdowns to close to within 24-17. Dave Brown threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Calloway and ran 3 yards for another score, while Tiki Barber scored on a 1-yard run in his debut. The defense recorded nine sacks of quarterbacks Ty Detmer and Peete, including 2.5 by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.

21) Sept. 23, 1990. Giants 20, Dolphins 3

The Dolphins were led by Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, who had a forgettable visit to New Jersey. He completed 14 of 30 passes for 115 yards, and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns. The Dolphins totaled just 158 yards and seven first downs and had a puny 19:42 time of possession. Their only score was a 51-yard field goal by Pete Stoyanovich. In the first quarter, the Giants had a 17-play drive that took 10:25 off the clock and ended with Raul Allegre's 22-yard field goal. Ottis Anderson scored on a pair of short runs and Allegre kicked another three-pointer for the Giants.

Once again, the New York Giants are bringing back their classic blue uniforms from the '80s and '90s this Sunday as part of two Legacy Games presented by Quest.

20) Sept. 14, 1986. Giants 20, Chargers 7

In Week 1 of the 1986 season, the Giants allowed 31 points while losing in Dallas; and the San Diego Chargers scored 50 and gained 500 yards in a rout of the Miami Dolphins. The oft-repeated question before the teams met in Giants Stadium the following week was how would the Giants' defense suppress the Chargers high-scoring offense. The answer? Easily. San Diego scored just seven points, totaled 25 yards and held the ball for only 20:16 as the Giants rolled, 20-7. Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts completed 19 of 43 passes and was intercepted five times. Joe Morris and Lionel Manuel scored touchdowns and Joe Cooper kicked a pair of field goals for the Giants, who lost only one game after the opener and finished 17-2, including a victory in Super Bowl XXI.

19) Oct. 10, 1993. Giants 41, Washington 7

From 1988-90, the Giants won three consecutive games in Washington by a combined eight points. In the following two years, they lost a pair of 17-point decisions on the Potomac. After two bleak seasons, they proved in the fifth game of the 1993 season that they would again be a force in the NFC East with an overwhelming 41-7 rout of the home team in RFK Stadium. The Giants led, 27-0, before Washington scored its lone touchdown. Phil Simms completed 14 of 17 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns. David Meggett threw a fourth touchdown pass on a halfback option. Wide receiver Mike Sherrard caught a scoring pass from each while finishing with four receptions for 124 yards. Tight end Howard Cross had two touchdown catches. Lewis Tillman rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. The Giants outgained Washington, 415-304, and did not commit a turnover.

18) Dec. 5, 1999. Giants 41, Jets 28

The 1999 Giants finished a disappointing 7-9 but had one game they could savor into the off-season. In Week 13, their offense played its best game of the year in a 41-28 victory against their fellow denizens of Giants Stadium. The Giants, who led, 34-7, entering the fourth quarter, amassed season highs in points, first downs (25), total yards (490), rushing yards (152) and passing yards (338). Quarterback Kerry Collins, the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, completed 17 of 29 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns with no interceptions. Amani Toomer caught all three scoring passes, including 80- and 61-yarders, and finished with six receptions for 181 yards. Ike Hilliard had six receptions for 121 yards and Joe Montgomery rushed for 111 yards and one touchdown. Jessie Armstead led the defense with seven tackles, including a sack.

17) Sept. 11, 1989. Giants 27, Washington 24

The Giants played their second consecutive season opener on a Monday night vs. Washington, this time in the nation's capital. Raul Allegre's 52-yard field goal as time expired – his second three-pointer in the final 2:17 – gave the Giants a stunning 27-24 victory and silenced what had been a deafening crowd in RFK Stadium. The Giants jumped out to a 14-0 as Odessa Turner (30 yards) and David Meggett (62 yards) caught touchdown passes from Phil Simms. Ottis Anderson's 14-yard touchdown run gave the Giants a 21-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. But two touchdowns, the second on a 24-yard interception return by Monte Coleman, put Washington ahead, 24-21. Allegre's 32-yard field goal tied the score and after the Giants forced a punt, the offense drove 36 yards in five plays before his game-winner.

16) Sept. 9, 1990. Giants 27, Eagles 20

Lawrence Taylor missed the Giants' entire training camp in 1990 and did not report to the team until four days before the season because of a contract dispute. The absence didn't prevent him from playing like, well, Lawrence Taylor. In a season-opening Sunday night game, Taylor sacked Philadelphia quarterback Randall Cunningham three times among his seven tackles as the Giants defeated their NFC East rivals, 27-20, in Giants Stadium. Taylor was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Trailing at halftime, 10-6, the Giants took control with three consecutive touchdowns, on Phil Simms passes of 12 yards to Rodney Hampton and 41 yards to Mark Ingram, and David Meggett's 68-yard punt return. The victory ended the Giants' four-game losing streak vs. the Eagles.

15) Dec. 24, 1989. Giants 34, Raiders 17

The Giants scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to win their third consecutive game and clinch their first NFC East title since 1986 with a 34-17 victory against the Los Angeles Raiders in Giants Stadium. The triumph improved the Giants' record to 12-4 in the second of three consecutive double-digit victory seasons. David Meggett's 76-yard punt return touchdown gave the Giants an early 7-0 lead. The Raiders took a 14-7 edge before Anderson's first 1-yard score helped create a 17-17 halftime tie. Anderson's second touchdown gave the Giants the lead for good. Bjorn Nittmo's second field goal and Phil Simms' 3-yard touchdown run capped the scoring.

14) Nov. 24, 1991. Giants 21, Buccaneers 14

Ten months after winning Super Bowl XXV in Tampa Stadium, the 6-5 Giants returned there to face the 2-9 Buccaneers. The Giants prevailed, 21-14, in a game with two memorable milestones. The first was the return of Phil Simms, who had thrown just two passes in the first 11 games after first-year coach Ray Handley named Jeff Hostetler the starting quarterback. After Hostetler injured his back in the third quarter, Simms saw his first extensive action of the season. His game-winning, 30-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Baker with 16 seconds remaining capped a performance in which he completed 10 of 14 passes for 100 yards. Defensively, the Giants sacked Vinny Testaverde seven times - this included 4.5 sacks by linebacker Pepper Johnson, which was the Giants' individual single-game record until Osi Umenyiora broke it 16 years later.

13) Sept. 2, 1984. Giants 28, Eagles 27

The Giants and Phil Simms needed successful starts in 1984. The team had endured a disastrous 3-12-1 season in 1983, when injuries limited Simms to just two games – his entire total in the previous two seasons. Everyone got what they needed as Simms threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-27 triumph in Giants Stadium. The 409 yards were then the second-highest total in team history. Simms threw touchdown passes of 16 yards to Zeke Mowatt, 65 yards to Byron Williams and 35 and 16 yards to Bobby Johnson. Williams and Johnson combined for 13 catches for 304 yards. Lawrence Taylor had seven tackles and one sack.

12) Dec. 7, 1986. Giants 24, Washington 14

The Giants and Washington had matching 11-2 records when they met in RFK Stadium for first place in the NFC East. Phil Simms threw three touchdown passes and the defense overwhelmed the home team's offense as the Giants won their seventh consecutive game, 24-14. Simms completed 15 of 29 passes for 255 yards, including scoring throws of 9 yards to Mark Bavaro (five catches for 111 yards), 7 yards to Bobby Johnson and 16 yards to Phil McConkey. The defense intercepted six of quarterback Jay Schroeder's passes – a total the Giants haven't matched since – and sacked him four times.

11) Dec. 21, 1985. Giants 28, Steelers 10

A loss in Dallas the previous week left the Giants needing a victory in their season finale to clinch a playoff berth. They earned it – and a home postseason game – by scoring all their points in the first half in a resounding 28-3 victory against Pittsburgh in Giants Stadium. Joe Morris rushed for 202 yards, then the second-highest total in franchise history, and scored three touchdowns to increase his season total to 21, still which remains a Giants' single-season record. Morris scored on runs of 1, 9 and 65 yards. The defense sacked Steelers quarterbacks three times to raise its season total to 68, which also is a team record.

The iconic blue uniform worn by Giants legends in the '80s and '90s returns for two Legacy Games this season.

10) Dec. 13, 1997. Giants 30, Washington 10

The Giants, who started 1-3 in Jim Fassel's first season as head coach, held a one-game lead over Washington when the teams met on the season's second-to-last weekend. But Washington's hope of forcing a tie at the top evaporated quickly as the Giants jumped out to a 17-point first-quarter lead and cruised to a 30-10 victory that clinched their first NFC East title since 1990. Former Super Bowl hero Jeff Hostetler had a nightmarish return to Giants Stadium, throwing four interceptions - two by Jason Sehorn, including one he returned 35 yards for a touchdown. The defense held Washington to 45 rushing yards and no rushing first downs. A botched handoff between Hostetler and Stephen Davis less than two minutes into the game resulted in Jessie Armstead's fumble recovery and Brad Daluiso's 41-yard field goal. Charles Way and Chris Calloway scored touchdowns before the opening quarter ended. Daluiso kicked two more field goals and Sehorn's touchdown with 57 seconds left sealed the deal.

9) Oct. 27, 1986. Giants 27, Washington 20

A loss in Seattle the previous week broke a five-game winning streak and left the 1986 Giants at 5-2 and tied for second place in the NFC East with Dallas, one game behind Washington – their next two opponent. In a Monday night game in Giants Stadium, Joe Morris carried 31 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yarder with 1:38 remaining to give the Giants a 27-20 victory that moved them into a first-place tie. Phil Simms threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Johnson, Raul Allegre kicked two field goals and Lawrence Taylor had three of the Giants' four sacks. The Giants led, 20-3, before Washington rallied to tie the game. The victory was the first in a 12-game winning streak that extended through Super Bowl XXI. A week later, Morris rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-14 home victory over Dallas.

8) Dec. 13, 1998. Giants 20, Broncos 16

The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were 13-0 and looking to join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only NFL teams to complete a season with a perfect record when they arrived at Giants Stadium with three games remaining in the 1998 season. The Giants were 5-8 and 12½-point underdogs. But Amani Toomer's touchdown on a 37-yard pass from Kent Graham with only 48 seconds remaining gave the Giants a stirring 20-16 victory. Toomer leaped high in the end zone to take the ball away from cornerback Tito Paul. The Giants withstood a last-gasp drive by comeback king John Elway and savored the biggest NFL upset of that season.

7) Jan. 9, 1994. NFC Wild Card Game. Giants 17, Vikings 10

The Giants used a dominant defense and rushing attack to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat Minnesota, 17-10, in a Wild Card game in Giants Stadium. Rodney Hampton tied a Giants postseason record with 161 rushing yards and scored touchdowns on third quarter runs of 51 and 2 yards. His 51-yard dash is the longest run in Giants' playoff history. Linebacker Michael Brooks made nine tackles, Keith Hamilton had two sacks and the Vikings never advanced further than the Giants 27.

6) Jan. 13, 1991. NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Giants 31, Bears 3

In his first postseason start, Jeff Hostetler threw touchdown passes to Stephen Baker and Howard Cross and ran for a 3-yard score as the Giants routed Chicago, 31-3. Fullback Maurice Carthon also scored. The Bears' 152.3 rushing yards a game placed them second in the NFL that season, but they ran for only 27 yards and zero first downs vs. the Giants. Cornerbacks Mark Collins and Everson Walls intercepted quarterback Mike Tomczak, who was sacked three times.

5) Jan. 4, 1987. NFC Divisional Playoff. Giants 49, 49ers 3

For the second consecutive postseason, the 49ers managed just a field goal after traveling cross-country to face the Giants and got blown out, 49-3. Phil Simms completed just nine passes, but four of them were for touchdowns, to Mark Bavaro, Bobby Johnson, Phil McConkey and Zeke Mowatt. Joe Morris scored on runs of 45 and 2 yards while rushing for 159. Joe Montana endured a miserable game – he got knocked unconscious on a steamrolling hit by Jim Burt while throwing a pass that Lawrence Taylor intercepted and returned 28 yards for a touchdown.

4) Dec. 29, 1985. NFC Wild Card Game. Giants 17, 49ers 3

The Giants routed the defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers in their first home postseason game since 1962 and first in Giants Stadium. Phil Simms threw touchdown passes to tight ends Mark Bavaro and Don Hasselbeck, Eric Schubert kicked a 47-yard field goal and Joe Morris rushed for 141 yards. The defense recorded four sacks of quarterback Joe Montana.

3) Jan. 11, 1987. NFC Championship Game. Giants 17, Washington 0

The Giants scored all their points in the first half while routing Washington, 17-0, before a raucous Giants Stadium crowd to advance to their first Super Bowl. The wind blew furiously up to 25 mph. Coach Bill Parcells made a the critical decision of kicking off when the Giants won the toss, putting the wind at their backs. Raul Allegre drilled a 47-yard field goal and Phil Simms threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Lionel Manuel on their first two possessions. Joe Morris added a 1-yard run in the second quarter and the defense dominated as the Giants defeated Washington for the third time that season.

2) Jan. 27, 1991. Super Bowl XXV. Giants 20, Bill 19

Backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler's error-free game helped the Giants win their second title in five seasons with a 20-19 defeat of the Buffalo Bills in Tampa. The Giants' time of possession (40:33) was a Super Bowl record and limited opportunities for a Bills offense that averaged 26.8 points a game and scored 51 in the AFC Championship Game vs. Oakland. Hostetler, who took over when Phil Simms suffered a late-season foot injury, threw for 222 yards and one touchdown. Game MVP Ottis Anderson ran for 102 yards and a score. The victory was punctuated when Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood's 47-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with four seconds remaining.

1) Jan. 25, 1987. Super Bowl XXI. Giants 39, Broncos 20

The Giants routed the Broncos in the Rose Bowl, 39-20, to win their first NFL championship since 1956. After trailing at halftime, 10-9, the Giants scored the first 24 points of the second half. MVP Phil Simms completed 88% of his passes (22 of 25), a Super Bowl record that still stands. Simms threw three touchdown passes – to Zeke Mowatt, Mark Bavaro and Phil McConkey – with no interceptions. Ottis Anderson and Joe Morris scored on short runs as the Giants scored 30 points over the final two quarters. Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson led the Giants with seven tackles and Leonard Marshall had two of the team's four sacks. The 1986 Giants won a franchise-record 12 consecutive games to finish 17-2.

The Giants are celebrating the first of two Legacy Games presented by Quest on Sunday against the Bears.