It doesn’t appear that the New York Giants and New York Jets will be playing in the Super Bowl anytime soon. Both teams have their sights set on the 2022 NFL draft. And, at least in Big Blue’s case, there could be some front office and coaching changes coming.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills have gone from AFC favorites to borderline playoff team fighting for a spot.
But everything wasn’t always bad for New York’s football teams. Believe it or not, all three at one point have played in the Super Bowl. Two of them have lifted the Lombardi Trophy. One remains the only NFL team to ever appear in four straight title games — a bittersweet factoid for Bills fans.
So while the 2021 New York professional football teams may not have their spotlight as the last team standing, we take a look back at the greatest individual performances by New York players in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl III: New York Jets QB Joe Namath (17-28, 206 yards)
The Jets’ defense forced five turnovers (four interceptions) while running back Matt Snell rushed for 121 yards and Gang Green’s only touchdown. But Namath backed up his guarantee by playing flawless football and leading the Jets — as 18-point underdogs — to a massive upset victory. Namath earned Super Bowl MVP honors as a result of the 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts.
Super Bowl XLII, XLVI: New York Giants QB Eli Manning (551 yards, 3 TDs)
Manning obviously had help, including an elite pash rush that made life miserable for Tom Brady. But his throws to David Tyree and Mario Manningham in winning time were simply sensational, leading Eli (with a combined 96.2 rating) to be named Super Bowl MVP after both upset victories over the New England Patriots (17-14, 21-17). The Giants are awful now, but fans will always have those two Sundays.
Super Bowl XLII, XLVI: New York Giants DE Justin Tuck (8 tackles, 4 sacks)
Tuck could’ve easily taken home Super Bowl MVP honors in Super Bowl XLII. He was that dominant. It’s why that Patriots team went 18-1. Because Tuck, with two sacks in each of the championship matchups against New England, was at the forefront of an overpowering New York defense.
Super Bowl XXI: New York Giants QB Phil Simms (22-25, 268 yards, 3 TDs)
22-for-25, 88%. It’s worth repeating that stat, since no one has been more accurate in Super Bowl history. And no one has topped Simms’ 150.9 passer rating either. He guided the Giants to a 39-20 rout of the Denver Broncos. Of course, compliments to Big Blue’s intimidating linebacking core of Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks and Harry Carson as well. But it was Simms who took home MVP honors.
Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants RB Ottis Anderson (102 yards, 1 TD)
Simms broke his foot, but backup QB Jeff Hostetler managed to save the season with his yeoman’s work under center. Still, it was Anderson, with 21 carries, who took home Super Bowl MVP after helping the Giants control the ball for over 40 minutes in their 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in which they overcame a 12-3 deficit.