Congratulations to George Young on his election to the Hall of Fame.
The selection of George to the Hall is so long overdue.
One stat says so much about George Young…he was selected as Pro Football Executive of the Year five (5) times as Giants GM! And guess what! The Pro Football Executive of the Year Award is named after George Young. George brought respectability back to the NY Giants.
I equate George Young’s career to that of “The Godfather”, HOFer Gil Brandt. Gil made his mark using early computers to help the Dallas Cowboys’ draft analysis and selection of draftees that would cause you to ask, “Who’s he?” The Cowboys’ success speaks for itself.
On the other hand, George made his mark as both coach and talent evaluator, balancing game preparation with talent recognition and keen draft picks from some less than well-known colleges. George worked many years with Don Shula in both Baltimore and Miami before coming to the Giants. That’s a pretty good mentor to start. But, George Young’s career—and the success of this wonderful franchise–took off when he became the GM of the Giants.
In 1979, after nearly 15 very lean years, George Young arrived as GM. George hires his first head coach, Ray Perkins, a disciplinarian that establishes the work ethic.
He then drafts a no-name QB from Moorhead State, Phil Simms. In fact, George had several very successful drafts for the GMen. Simms, Mark Haynes, Joe Morris, Leonard Marshall, Carl Banks, Gary Reasons, William Roberts, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Bavaro, Pepper Johnson, Jumbo Elliott, Dave Meggett, Howard Cross, Rodney Hampton, Michael Strahan, Jesse Armstead, Jason Sehorn, Amani Toomer, and Tiki Barber. Those are some top-performing Giants in their day. Oh yeah, one of those draft picks from 1981? Some guy we came to know as “LT”.
Perkins starts to get the Giants winning again but leaves to coach Alabama. So, George then turns the team over to Bill Parcells. We all know the results…winning teams, playoffs, Super Bowl Champs twice, and a return to the top tier of the NFL. [Yes, Hostetler took over when Simms broke his foot in the 10th game of the 1990 season…and my daughter was born during this game.]
Yet, even Hall Of Famers can make mistakes. Parcells retired the first time after the 1990 season. At this point, George decides to hire Ray Handley to replace Parcells. There were some draft misses in the latter years as well…Dave Brown, Kent Graham, Tyrone Wheatley, Butch Woofolk. Enter the next Giants’ dry period. After two tough years, George replaces Ray Handley with a really good coach (and former running back), Dan Reeves.
A little early success comes with Coach Reeves. But, three progressively worse years (1994-1996) lead to George Young’s last coaching change, the hiring of Jim Fassel for 1997.
With an NFC East title that year, George Young moves on from the Giants in 1998 to work with Commissioner Tagliabue. But his legacy continues…
Before George leaves, he convinces his good friend, Ernie Accorsi to join him with the Giants. Ernie was the Assistant GM for three years under George Young. In 1998, Ernie becomes GM…and here we go!! Jim Fassel remained the HC, and in 2000, the Giants went to the only Super Bowl they have lost…crushed really. But, the team had returned to the playoffs and championship conversation again 8 years after Bill Parcells was gone. But, another fade and an aging team were dropping the Giants to mediocrity.
In 2004, Ernie hired Tom Coughlin and orchestrated the trade to get Eli on Draft Day from the Chargers in exchange for Phil Rivers. Ernie had done his job and set the stage for 2007 and 2011 Giants Stardom. Like George Young, Ernie Accorsi was really good in the draft. He is responsible for Osi Umenyiora, Chris Snee, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Brandon Jacobs. Ernie may have turned the GM duties over to Jerry Reese for those Super Bowl years. But, as we all know, Tom and Eli paired up for those two playoff runs and Super Bowl championships over…the New England Patriots, coached by another former Giants coach and now legend…Bill Belichick. But drafts were lean under Reese. 2016 was the year of the Free Agent spree for Reese.
So, here we are nine years after that last Super Bowl…Ernie’s gone, Tom’s gone, and now Eli’s gone. Three HC and a GM change later, my Giants are again in the doldrums.
Do we have the next Super Bowl Trio (GM, HC, QB)? Is this our time again? Well, it’s starting out a lot like the era of George Young and of Ernie Accorsi. Dave Gettleman’s first two drafts look good.
Ernie Accorsi (who was hired by George Young) hired Dave Gettleman to a pro personnel position for the Giants in 1999. Ernie then comes back as a consultant for Giants’ search for a new GM in 2018. Dave Gettleman gets the job.
Dave Gettleman, like George Young and Ernie Accorsi, was tasked with drafting the next franchise QB. He picks Daniel Jones, a relative no-name maybe…but certainly a questionable choice by fans. Well, Daniel did well in his first year.
Here’s the next food for thought – George Young’s 2nd HC was Bill Parcells. Ernie Accorsi‘s 2nd HC was Tom Coughlin. And now, Dave Gettleman’s 2nd HC is Joe Judge. Joe Judge’s most recent boss and mentor? Bill Belichick.
I believe the stars are aligning nicely for the Giants…yet again.
Featured Image: NorthJersey.com