Professional football was introduced to New York at the same time that the New York Giants were established in the tristate area by original owner Tim Mara. The organization was legally named the “New York Football Giants” to distinguish itself from the New York Giants baseball team. The Giants experienced initial success during their inaugural season but struggled financially up until they faced Red Grange and the Chicago Bears in their 11th showdown. The match attracted over 73,000 fans and resulted in an influx of revenue – altering the course of the franchise forever.
Big Blue in the Big City
The New York Giants are partially responsible for the surge in popularity of American football in the United States. The team partook in what is known today as the “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” On Dec. 28, 1958, the G-Men faced the Baltimore Colts in the NFL championship game – the first championship match to extend into a “sudden death” overtime. Although the Giants lost, the game drew national attention after the intensity on the field was broadcast on NBC throughout the states.
Since their inception into the National Football Conference (NFC East), the Giants have appeared in the Super Bowl five times – emerging victorious four of those times. The team brought the Lombardi Trophy back to the Big Apple for the first time in 1986, after defeating the Denver Broncos (39-20). Two subsequent victories would follow, first in 1990 and again in 2007. One of the most memorable Super Bowl wins was against the New England Patriots in 2011 (21-17), which set a new record for Super Bowl champions with the lowest regular season record.
Historically, the Giants are known for utilizing different shades of red, blue, gray, and white in their jerseys. Throughout the years, the team has stuck with solid, bold colors and a minimalist design for its on-field attire.
Read on to see how the G-Men have transformed their patriotic-themed jersey over the course of decades, playing in one the greatest cities in the world.
Notable Jersey Changes
1925: The team kicks things off with red long-sleeved jerseys and simple helmets.
1929: Patches are added underneath the arms along with uniform numbers on the chest.
1930: A yoke is added on the shoulders. The team begins their long tradition of red, white, and blue.
1933: The team uses a red jersey with a horizontal blue stripe across the chest.
1934: An interesting look, the team uses a blue jersey with white numbers featuring red trim along with a white yoke.
1936: One of the more unique jerseys, the Giants use white jerseys with blue numbers and a red yoke over the shoulders.
1945: This season, the team uses solid red jerseys with white pants.
1956 (Away): Stripes and player numbers are added to the sleeves.
1962: Along with white numbers on the chest and sleeves, the Giants’ helmets use the “NY” logo (added in 1961), which remains in use until the end of the 1975 season.
1971 (Away): Away from home, the team uses a white jersey with red and blue cuffs.
1976 (Away): The team uses helmets featuring the full wordmark logo. They continue to be used until the 2000 season.
1986: A blue jersey with red and white cuffs is used. The striping pattern is also added to the neck line. A patch is worn on the left shoulder to honor a late, former player, Carl “Spider” Lockhart.
1990: The Giants make the Super Bowl and add a ceremonial patch to the left shoulder.
1999: For their 75th anniversary, the team wears a commemorative patch on the upper left chest.
2000: The team undergoes a rebranding. Numbers are added to the top of the shoulders.
2012: As part of a league wide update, the Giants get new jerseys, designed by Nike.
2013 (2014 shown): The Giants add white pants back to the uniform rotation.
Looking Back to Look Forward
Today, it’s a fairly common practice for NFL teams to retire the jersey numbers of players who have left their mark on the field. The Giants are no different in this manner, as they have a total of 11 retired jersey numbers – consisting of legendary players who played their hearts out as G-Men. It’s safe to assume that we will see future numbers retired, including that of Eli Manning – the team’s all-time passing leader – or possibly Tiki Barber – the leading all-time rusher for the Giants.
The New York Giants currently have eleven retired jersey numbers:
No. 1 – Ray Flaherty
No. 4 – Tuffy Leemans
No. 7 – Mel Hein
No. 11 – Phil Simms
No. 14 – Y.A. Tittle
No. 16 – Frank Gifford
No. 32 – Al Blozis
No. 40 – Joe Morrison
No. 42 – Charlie Conerly
No. 50 – Ken Strong
No. 56 – Lawrence Taylor
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