Another Super Bowl has come and gone, with the Green Bay Packers taking this year's title. Last week here at SB Nation New York we recounted all five New York Giant/New York Jet Super Bowls. But what about the championships that came before Super Bowl I in January of 1967? Nobody really counts those, do they? The Giants have won three Super Bowls, but they've also won three NFL Championships, giving them a grand total of six. Shouldn't those count, too, when adding up the all-time winners? Well, we're not forgetting them today, as here's a quick recap of each of the "lost" championships for Big Blue, plus an AFL Championship bonus.
Their first-ever league title came in the second championship game played, in 1934. The game took place on a frozen Polo Grounds field, and has become known as The Sneaker Game. One Giant player suggested wearing sneakers instead of cleats for better traction, so the team's equipment manager was sent out into the city on a sneaker hunt. After not being able to find an open sporting goods store, he borrowed nine pairs from Manhattan College's basketball team. When the Giants fell behind the Bears 13-3 in the third quarter, they switched to sneakers and scored 27 points in the fourth quarter, to win, 30-13. At halftime, the Little Rascals put on a show for the ages, with skits and antics galore. Stymie had a wardrobe malfunction, though, when his derby flew off in the wind.
Four years later, the Giants took on the Packers, again in the Polo Grounds. Big Blue was winning most of the way until Green Bay took a 17-16 lead in the third quarter. But a 23-yard Ed Danowski to Hank Soar touchdown pass gave the Giants the winning points, for a 23-17 victory. Each Giant earned $900 as the winning share. The 1938 equivalent of the Black Eyed Peas, the Andrews Sisters, were the stars of the halftime show, with Buddy Rich rising from beneath the stage to play a drum solo, and Bing Crosby descending from the sky to croon "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby."
In 1956, the Giants won their last pre-Super Bowl championship. This edition of Big Blue was the glamorous, Madison Avenue Giants, with Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Alex Webster, Sam Huff, Roosevelt Brown, Charlie Conerly and Mel Triplett, not to mention assistant coaches Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. The Giants faced the Bears once again, but this time in their new home in Yankee Stadium, and romped and stomped all over Chicago. After taking a decisive 34-7 halftime lead, the Giants didn't look back and won, 47-7. Gifford caught four passes for 131 yards, scored a touchdown and also rushed for 30 yards. Webster scored two touchdowns, Rote and Triplett one each and Conerly threw two touchdown passes. The halftime show consisted of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, who sang a medley of their hits. The Giants had such a big lead in the fourth quarter that they put Elvis into the game and he caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Conerly.
The Giants also lost 11 times in Championship Games, including the first one in 1933, the Greatest Game Ever Played in 1958 and three in a row from 1961 to '63. And let's not forget the Jets' AFL Championship victory in 1968, a 27-23 win over the Oakland Raiders at Shea Stadium. The game was close all afternoon long, when Joe Namath was intercepted by rookie George Atkinson, which led to a Raider touchdown and fourth-quarter lead for Oakland. But Namath quickly drove down field on the ensuing drive, which culminated in a sliding Don Maynard catch in the end zone for the winning points. Maynard caught six catches in the game, for 118 yards, and scored the first and last touchdowns. Namath threw for 266 yards and tossed three touchdown passes.
And now on to the other top stories of the week in the world of New York sports.
Thirteen Shopping Days Left for Carmelo: The local basketball world can only be seen through the prism of Carmelo Anthony-colored glasses these days. He wants to come here to play for the New York Knicks, the Knicks want him here, so the countdown is on, with just under two weeks until the trading deadline. And the Garden faithful has started the "We want 'Melo" chants. But Mike D'Antoni has answered back with a "We Don't Want You to Chant a We Want 'Melo Chant" chant. Of course, there are other teams inserting themselves in the mix, with the Los Angeles Lakers now making some noise about acquiring Denver's star. And will the New Jersey Nets reenter the picture, and swoop in and grab Anthony? Probably not, but you never know. On the court, the Knicks split a home-and-home with the 76ers, with Amar'e Stoudemire having another huge, clutch game in the win on Sunday, not to mention Landry Fields scoring a career-high 25 points. But it was back to the old, too-familiar formula of starting out slow, getting down by 20, storming back and then falling short in the desultory loss to Blake Griffin's Clippers. As for the Nets, they went a Net-like 1-2 this week, with the highlight being the overtime win over New Orleans. Sasha Vujacic was the hero in that game.
Where's Gump Worsley When You Need Him? While the New York basketball scene hinges on a possible Anthony trade, the theme for the three hockey teams this week is the ever-important goaltending situation. For the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist has been in a minor slump, and was briefly replaced by capable backup Martin Biron. For the New Jersey Devils, Martin Brodeur sprained his knee, and was briefly replaced by veteran Johan Hedberg. And for the New York Islanders, they're down to their fifth-string goalie. Dwayne Roloson was traded away. Rick DiPietro broke his face in an ill-advised fisticuffs matchup with Penguin goalie Brent Johnson. Nathan Lawson is out with an injury. Kevin Poulin injured his left knee in warm-ups before Tuesday's game and is out for the season. Evgeni Nabokov refuses to enter the United States to play for the Isles. So it was up to emergency goalie Mikko Koskinen to make his NHL debut against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, with emergency-emergency backup Joel Martin driving down from Bridgeport and making it in time for the third period. They may soon have to go the route of the 1928 Rangers, when 44-year-old coach Lester Patrick (who had been a defenseman during his career) put himself in the nets during a Stanley Cup Finals game, replacing Lorne Chabot, who had suffered an eye injury. The Rangers and Patrick won that game, and they went on to take the Cup, as well. And Patrick still holds the record for being the oldest goalie in a Stanley Cup Finals game. The Islanders did make a trade for former Ranger farmhand Al Montoya, though, to help out with their situation. But the team might have to keep him away from DiPietro, as those two got into a brawl back in 2007.
Up, Down & In Between: As for the games, the Rangers are suffering through their longest losing streak of the year, now up to five, as they continue to work hard, but just can't score. All eyes are staring intently at Marian Gaborik. No one will be staring at Chris Drury, though, as he's out for six weeks with a bum knee. The Devils continue on with their magical, unbelievable, long-shot run to the playoffs. Jacques Lemaire notched his 600th career win on Thursday thanks to an Ilya Kovalchuk overtime goal. And the Islanders won two out of three this week, with Koskinen picking up his first NHL win on Thursday, while Michael Grabner (two goals) continues on with his impressive debut season, as he's now up to 19 goals for the year, which is third most of any rookie.
(Almost) Pitchers and Catchers: There was a baseball sighting in Florida this week, with players from both the New York Mets and New York Yankees trickling into camp. They played Wiffle ball, barbecued and even occasionally tossed a baseball around. One player who was conspicuous by his absence was Oliver Perez. But can you blame him? The more anyone sees him pitch, the less of a chance he has to make the Mets or any other team for that matter. Somehow slipping through the cracks and not pitching at all this spring is his best chance to make the Mets' roster.