25 Stories, Moments, and Artifacts

Toughness. Determination. Destiny. The 1990 new York Giants “showed no mercy.” And in the end, things went right for the Super Bowl XXV champions. 

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MOST VALUABLE PANTS

Taking athlete superstition to the next level, running back Ottis Anderson wore practice pants during his MVP performance in Super Bowl XXV, something he had been doing throughout the magical playoff run.

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NO THREE-PEAT

In the NFC Championship Game, Matt Bahr made a record five field goals, including a 42-yarder as time expired to lift the Giants over the two-time defending Super Bowl champion 49ers at Candlestick Park.

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THE TOUCHDOWN MAKER

Wide receiver Stephen Baker lived up to the nickname “The Touchdown Maker” when he swung the momentum of Super Bowl XXV with a 14-yard catch in the end zone with 25 seconds remaining in the first half.

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BANKS' CAST

The Giants had an atmosphere of accountability, and nothing could stop linebacker Carl Banks. Not even a dislocated wrist. With an expected recovery time of six to eight months, Banks missed six weeks.

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JERSEY PRIDE

By Dan Salomone

No one bleeds bluer than rock star Jon Bon Jovi. The New Jersey native caught every game he could in person, even sometimes disguising himself as a photographer on the sidelines.

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SUPER COACHING STAFF

Tom Coughlin. Bill Belichick. Romeo Crennel. Ron Erhardt. Al Groh. Charlie Weis. Ray Handley. Seven of Bill Parcells’ assistants in 1990 have been head coaches in the NFL or at major college programs.

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COUGHLIN GOES TO BC

A week before traveling to Tampa, wide receivers coach Tom Coughlin accepted the head coaching job at Boston College. Minutes after they won the Super Bowl, he phoned recruits from the victorious locker room.

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RISING TO THE OCCASION

Needing to get the ball back late in the NFC Championship Game, Giants defensive tackle Erik Howard forced 49ers running back Roger Craig to fumble, and linebacker Lawrence Taylor recovered it in mid-air.

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REASONS TO BELIEVE

On a direct snap to the linebacker, Gary Reasons ran a fake punt 30 yards to set up Matt Bahr's fourth field goal, bringing the Giants within one point of the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

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BELICHICK’S PLAN

By Michael Eisen

To stop the K-Gun offense, defensive coordinator Bill Belichick devised a game plan that is now displayed in the Hall of Fame. He used as many as six defensive backs and as few as two down linemen to hold Buffalo to 19 points.

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PARCELLS VS. SIMMS

Captured on national television, coach Bill Parcells and quarterback Phil Simms had a heated exchange over an incomplete pass during a Week 9 game in Indianapolis. But winning solved all.

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INGRAM’S CONVERSION

One of the great individual efforts of Super Bowl XXV, wide receiver Mark Ingram highlighted the Giants’ spirit on a third-and-13 conversion from Buffalo’s 32 by breaking a half-dozen tackles for a 14-yard gain.

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CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Suffering a broken hand, cracked ribs and concussion all on one hit from Leonard Marshall in the NFC Championship Game, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana never started again for the 49ers.

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TURNCOAT PRIEST

One of Bill Parcells’ favorite stories, the head coach had become friends with Seton Hall’s Rev. Mannion, but the relationship took a turn when he saw him on the field as the Bills’ new chaplain.

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ONE GIANT LEAP

By Dan Salomone

Days after telling his wife that he would quit football at the end of the season, Jeff Hostetler’s frustration as a backup turned into the role of a lifetime when Phil Simms broke his foot. Hostetler took over as the starting quarterback, igniting an extraordinary chain of events.

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PHIL-ING THE VOID

Dec. 15, 1990 was a rough day for quarterbacks in Giants Stadium. Phil Simms broke his foot, and Jim Kelly injured his knee. One returned. One did not.

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UNITED WE STAND

Against the backdrop of the Gulf War, the patriotism could be felt everywhere in the ceremonies leading up to the grandest sporting event in the United States.

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BOOM! MADDEN TO THE RESCUE

After a postgame interview caused Jeff Hostetler to miss the team’s airport shuttle in San Francisco, Hall of Famer John Madden came to the rescue with his famous bus and gave the quarterback a lift.

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TROPHY FINDS A NAME

Awarded to the game’s MVP for the first time at Super Bowl XXV, the Pete Rozelle Trophy, named after the former NFL commissioner, went to Giants running back Ottis Anderson.

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SUPER BOWL SECURITY

By Michael Eisen

Debated if the game should even be played due to the implications of the Gulf War, security was at an all-time high for Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991.

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Early Check-in

Sports Illustrated captured the Giants’ exultation with a photo of defensive back Everson Walls moments after clinching Super Bowl XXV on Scott Norwood’s missed field goal.

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LEAVING A MARK

Because of a significant knee injury the year before, the Giants weren’t sure tight end Mark Bavaro would be on the team in 1990. But once again he proved to be the standard-bearer of toughness.

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

Members of the Super Bowl XXV-winning Giants team were featured on the cover of the Wheaties box, keeping with the “Breakfast of Champions” tradition that dates back to the 1930s.

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HOLDOUT? NO PROBLEM

Days before the Giants opened the 1990 campaign, perennial All-Pro linebacker ended his 45-day holdout. In the first game, he recorded three sacks in a 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

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BRAVO!

By Dan Salomone

Sports Illustrated captured the Giants’ exultation with a photo of defensive back Everson Walls moments after clinching Super Bowl XXV on Scott Norwood’s missed field goal.

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