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The 1990 New York Giants season was one of the most successful seasons in the professional American football franchise's history. The Giants, who play in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL), won their sixth championship—and second Super Bowl—in franchise history during the season. Led by linebacker Lawrence Taylor and quarterbacks Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler, the Giants posted a 13–3 record and defeated the Chicago Bears and avenged a regular season road loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs. In Super Bowl XXV they avenged a regular season home loss against the Buffalo Bills 20–19 in Tampa Stadiummarker, against a patriotic backdrop inspired by the recently started Gulf War.

After making the playoffs in 1989, the Giants entered the 1990 season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. They began the season with a 27–20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, then won their next nine games before losing a rematch to Philadelphia 31–13 in week 12. The Giants also lost close games to the 49ers on the road and Bills at home in the regular season, before defeating both teams in playoff rematches. During the Buffalo game, Giants' quarterback Phil Simms was lost for the season with a broken foot. The Giants defense led the NFL in fewest points allowed (211), and the team set an NFL record by committing only 14 turnovers in the regular season. After the season, six Giants were selected to the Pro Bowl.


NFL Draft

The Giants had 11 selections in the 12 round 1990 NFL Draft, as opposed to the normal 12, and took running back Rodney Hampton in the first round with the #24 overall selection. They took defensive end Mike Fox out of West Virginia University in the second round (#51 overall) and linebacker Greg Mark (#79 overall) out of the University of Miami in the third round. Their final selection in the eleventh round was defensive back Joe Cosgrove (#303 overall) out of the University of Pittsburgh.


New York Giants 1990 final roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends
Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Defensive Backs
Special Teams Source:

Coaching staff

New York Giants 1990 coaching staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches
  Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches


Regular season

Week Date Time TV Opponent Result Game site
1 1990-09-09 8:15pm TNT Philadelphia Eagles W 27-20 Giants Stadiummarker
2 1990-09-16 CBS 1:00pm Dallas Cowboys W 28–7 Texas Stadiummarker
3 1990-09-23 NBC 1:00pm Miami Dolphins W 20–3 Giants Stadium
4 1990-09-30 CBS 1:00pm Dallas Cowboys W 31-17 Giants Stadium
5 Bye week
6 1990-10-14 CBS 4:15pm Washington Redskins W 24-20 Robert F.marker Kennedy Memorial Stadiummarker
7 1990-10-21 CBS 4:15pm Phoenix Cardinals W 20-19 Giants Stadium
8 1990-10-28 CBS 4:15pm Washington Redskins W 21-10 Giants Stadium
9 1990-11-05 ABC 9:00pm Indianapolis Colts W 24-7 Hoosier Domemarker
10 1990-11-11 CBS 4:15pm Los Angeles Rams W 31–7 Anaheim Stadiummarker
11 1990-11-18 CBS 1:00pm Detroit Lions W 20–0 Giants Stadium
12 1990-11-25 CBS 1:00pm Philadelphia Eagles L 13-31 Veterans Stadiummarker
13 1990-12-03 ABC 9:00pm San Francisco 49ers L 3-7 Candlestick Parkmarker
14 1990-12-09 CBS 1:00pm Minnesota Vikings W 23-15 Giants Stadium
15 1990-12-15 NBC 12:30pm Buffalo Bills L 13-17 Giants Stadium
16 1990-12-23 CBS 4:15pm Phoenix Cardinals W 24-21 Sun Devil Stadiummarker
17 1990-12-30 CBS 1:00pm New England Patriots W 13-10 Foxboro Stadiummarker
1 Bye week
2 1991-01-13 CBS 12:30pm Chicago Bears W 31-3 Giants Stadium
3 1991-01-20 CBS 4:15pm San Francisco 49ers W 15-13 Candlestick Park
4 1991-01-27 ABC 6:25pm Buffalo Bills W 20–19 Tampa Stadiummarker

All times in North American Eastern Time. (UTC–4 and UTC–5 during Standard Time)

Game summaries

Week 1: Vs Philadelphia Eagles

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

The Giants started the season with a 27–20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite sitting out training camp and the preseason in a contract dispute, linebacker Lawrence Taylor started against the Eagles and finished with three sacks and a forced fumble. The Giants defense forced three turnovers and held the Eagles to 83 rushing yards. The Giants offense scored three touchdowns in a 13-minute span in the third and early fourth quarters, but head coach Bill Parcells felt its performance was lackluster overall, "Our runners didn't run the way we wanted them to. They were a little impatient. There were five or six vivid examples of cutting back too soon. You just have to give the play a chance and let it go where it's supposed to."

Week 2: At Dallas Cowboys

at Texas Stadiummarker, Irving, Texasmarker

In temperatures reaching 122 degrees on the artificial turf at Texas Stadiummarker, the Giants played the Dallas Cowboys on September 16. In a matchup featuring the Giants, who went 12–4 in 1989, and the Cowboys, who went 1–15 in 1989, the Giants dominated from the outset, and used their backup players heavily throughout the game. Lawrence Taylor batted a Troy Aikman pass high into the air that he returned for a touchdown. The Giants defense held the Cowboys to 20 rushing yards and 156 yards of total offense, while their offense gained 369. In addition, the Cowboys totaled only nine first downs, averaged 1.8 yards a rush attempt, and were dominated by the Giants in time of possession; 41 minutes 40 seconds to 18 minutes 20 seconds. Despite the 28–7 victory, Giants center Bart Oates still felt the Giants offense could improve their play, "[w]e missed a lot of assignments. We rushed the ball O.K., but not like we did against Buffalo in preseason. Phil was pressured some. There were plenty of things we didn't do."

Week 3: Vs Miami Dolphins

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

The Miami Dolphins held the ball for only 19 minutes and 42 seconds, and totalled only 158 yards of total offense against the Giants defense on September 23. The Giants offense set the tone by holding the ball for 10 minutes and 25 seconds on the opening drive, leading to a field goal by Raul Allegre. They defeated the Dolphins 20–3 in front of 76,483 fans at Giants Stadiummarker. Coach Bill Parcells drew criticism from the local media following the game after linebacker Lawrence Taylor played in the final moments, despite the lopsided score, and injured his hamstring. The Giants defense held the Dolphins passing game, led by eventual Hall of Famemarker quarterback Dan Marino, to 119 total yards, and 3.6 yards per pass attempt.

Week 4: Vs Dallas Cowboys

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

The Giants faced the Dallas Cowboys in week four in front of 75,923 fans at Giants Stadiummarker. The Giants defense held the Cowboys to 51 rushing yards on 20 attempts, and the Giants controlled the ball for 35 minutes and 38 seconds of the game. Giants quarterback Phil Simms threw three touchdowns, and backup Jeff Hostetler ran for a 12-yard score late in the fourth quarter. Although the Giants league-leading defense gave up 284 yards, 84 came on the Cowboys' final possession when the Giants played a prevent defense. Simms threw touchdown passes to Mark Ingram, Bob Mrosko and Rodney Hampton, and the Giants built a 31–10 early in the fourth quarter, before pulling their starters and allowing a Dallas touchdown.

Week 6: At Washington Redskins

at Robert F.marker Kennedy Stadiummarker, Washington, D.C.marker

The Giants used their bye week to allow injured players such as linebacker Carl Banks, running back Rodney Hampton, special teamer Reyna Thompson, defensive lineman Erik Howard and offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott to recover from their injuries. They played the Washington Redskins in Washington D.C.marker the following week. The Giants forced four turnovers and won despite losing the time of possession battle to the Redskins 35 minutes 28 seconds to 24 minutes 32 seconds. Defensive coordinator Bill Belichick singled out free safety Greg Jackson, who had two interceptions, after the 24–20 win. "Jackson must have had 10 interceptions in practice, and if ever the cliche held true about a player playing the way he practices, it was so this week."

Week 7: Vs Phoenix Cardinals

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

In week seven, the Giants faced the Phoenix Cardinals in front of 76,518 fans at Giants Stadium. They rushed for 151 yards on 31 carries, and committed only four penalties for 24 yards. Their defense held the Cardinals to 96 passing yards and 221 yards of total offense. With 5 minutes 38 seconds left in the game, the Cardinals—13-point underdogs going into the game—extended their lead over the Giants to 19-10. However, the Giants came back with a 38-yard touchdown from Jeff Hostetler to Stephen Baker, and a game-winning 40-yard field goal by Matt Bahr to win 20–19. The Giants responses were subdued in their locker room after the win. "It wasn't pretty," commented linebacker Lawrence Taylor. "But you don't ask how to win, you just win."

Week 8: Vs Washington Redskins

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

In front of 75,321 fans at Giants Stadium, the Giants played the Washington Redskins in week eight. Each team totaled 16 first downs, four punts, five penalties, and the margin in time of possession was less than a minute. However, the Giants committed zero turnovers and forced the Redskins into three. Giants cornerback Everson Walls intercepted two passes—including one that he returned for his first career touchdown—and free safety Greg Jackson intercepted another. The first interception, by Walls, set up a Giants touchdown to give them a 14–0 lead in the second quarter. Jackson then intercepted a pass to set up another Giants touchdown in the third quarter, and Walls returned his second interception 28 yards for a touchdown that made the score 21–10 and put the game of reach in the fourth quarter.

Week 9: At Indianapolis Colts

at Hooiser Domemarker, Indianapolis, Indianamarker

The Giants improved to 8–0 with a 24–7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in front of 56,688 in the Hoosier Domemarker. The Giants defense held the Colts to 11 first downs, 181 total yards, and 55 rushing yards. Giants quarterback Phil Simms completed 17 of 21 for 172 yards, with no touchdowns, one interception. Simms' interception ended a streak of 150 passes without an interception. Defensive end Leonard Marshall sacked Colts quarterback Jeff George twice, Dave Duerson returned a fumble for a touchdown, and the Giants defense held George to 160 yards passing on 37 pass attempts. The Giants controlled the game from the start, ending the first half leading 17-0, and ahead of the Colts 206 to 45 in total yards, 13 to 1 in first downs, and 20:57 to 9:03 in time of possession.

Week 10: At Los Angeles Rams

at Anaheim Stadiummarker, Anaheim, Californiamarker

The Giants traveled to California to face the Los Angeles Rams on November 11. They defeated the Rams 31–7 in front of 64,632 fans in Anaheim Stadiummarker, led by efficient passing from Phil Simms. Going into the game the Rams had beaten the Giants three times in two years, including eliminating the Giants in the 1989 playoffs. Although the Giants defense was only able to sack Rams quarterback Jim Everett twice, they forced him into 17 of 36 passing for 186 yards, zero touchowns, and three interceptions. "It's hard to sack him," Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick said. "But we kept the pressure on. We had the same coverage we used the last eight years. Nothing radically different."

Week 11: Vs Detroit Lions

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

The Giants defeated the Detroit Lions 20–0 in week 11 to improve their record to 10–0, and set a franchise record for wins to start to a season. Quarterback Phil Simms threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mark Ingram in the second quarter to run the score to 17–0. After the Giants kicked a field goal to make the score 20–0, the teams played a scoreless second half. The shutout was the Giants defense first of the season, and coach Bill Parcells commented, "[t]he defense played very well. The offense played well when I let them. We played conservatively in the second half. We played pretty much error-free. We didn't do anything stupid."

Week 12: At Philadelphia Eagles

at Veterans Stadiummarker, Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

The Giants lost their first game of the season 31–13 to the Philadelphia Eagles on November 25 to set their record at 10–1. The Eagles broke open a close game by scoring two touchdowns in 22 seconds in the fourth quarter. The game was marked by several scuffles and after the game some of the Giants players complained of the tactics used by the Eagles. The Eagles amassed 179 rushing yards and 405 total yards, and punted the ball just twice in the victory. Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham, who would finish the season as the league's Most Valuable Player, rushed for 66 yards while completing 17 of 31 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who recorded three sacks and seven tackles in the Giants season opening victory over the Eagles, was held to one tackle in the loss.

Week 13: At San Francisco 49ers

at Candlestick Parkmarker, San Francisco, Californiamarker

The San Francisco 49ers matched the Giants with their own 10–0 start in the 1990 season. Although both teams lost in week 12 to stand at 10–1, their week 13 matchup was still highly anticipated. The game took place in front of 66,092 fans at Candlestick Park. The 49ers scored the only touchdown of the game in the second quarter on a 23-yard pass from Joe Montana to John Taylor. With four minutes left, they stopped the Giants on four passes from the 49ers' 9-yard line and went on to win, 7-3, after which 49ers safety Ronnie Lott and Giants QB Phil Simms had a heated verbal exchange. The Giants defense performed well in the loss. They held the 49ers to 152 passing yards, 88 rushing yards, and limited All-Pro Wide receiver Jerry Rice to one reception for 13 yards. 49ers defensive end Charles Haley recorded five tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in the victory.

Week 14: Vs Minnesota Vikings

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

The Giants faced the Minnesota Vikings at Giants Stadium in week 14. Led by linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who recorded 12 tackles and two sacks, the Giants defense held the Vikings to 132 passing yards. Taylor also forced a fumble by Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon and pressured Gannon into an interception by Gary Reasons at the Viking 17-yard line, which positioned Matt Bahr for the game-clinching 18-yard field goal. In addition, Taylor gave several inspirational speeches to his teammates. "He told us: 'I'm going to start playing the way we're supposed to play. If anybody wants to come along, fine,' " inside linebacker Steve DeOssie said. "He changed our attitude." The Giants won 23–15 to improve to 11–2.

Week 15: Vs Buffalo Bills

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

The Giants lost at home to the Buffalo Bills 17–13 in week 15. The game was played in inclement weather, which caused 10,295 no-shows at Giants Stadium. They led the Bills in total yards (313 to 264), rushing yards (157 to 65), first downs (20 to 13) and time of possession (37 minutes 59 seconds to 22:01), but lost nonetheless. Quarterback Phil Simms broke his foot during the game, causing him to miss the remainder of the season, and was replaced by inexperienced backup Jeff Hostetler The Bills built a 14–10 second quarter lead behind 74 and 78 yard touchdown drives. The teams alternated field goals to make the score 17–13. However, the Giants could not score in the fourth quarter despite mounting drives to the Bills' 18 and 23 yard lines.

Week 16: At Phoenix Cardinals

at Sun Devil Stadiummarker, Tempe, Arizonamarker

The Giants played the Phoenix Cardinals in Tempe, Arizonamarker in week 16. Their defense allowed 452 yards, and Cardinals quarterback Timm Rosenbach threw for three touchdowns and set a new career high with 381 yards passing. The Giants noticed in the week leading up to the game that teams had success running with their fullback against the Cardinals, and in the game, Giants' fullback Maurice Carthon set a career high with 67 rushing yards on 12 carries. They also installed several plays to take advantage of quarterback Jeff Hostetler's scrambling ability. Hostetler threw for 191 yards and ran for 31 in his first start of the season. The Giants held on to win 24–21 when two of the Cardinals fourth quarter drives resulted in interceptions and their final drive was stopped on a sack by Lawrence Taylor.

Week 17: At New England Patriots

at Foxboro Stadiummarker, Foxboro, Massachusettsmarker

The Giants travelled to Massachusettsmarker to face the New England Patriots at Foxboro Stadiummarker in week 17. The game was a de facto home game, as many Giants fans made the trip up to Foxboroughmarker to sell the stadium out. The game had no playoff implications for the Giants, who had clinched the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs the week before. The Giants rushed for a season high yards 213 yards, led by quarterback Jeff Hostetler's 82 yards on 10 carries. The Patriots' Jason Staurovsky missed a potential game-tying 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, and Hostetler then ran a 30-yard bootleg on a key third down play to allow the Giants to run out the clock and secure the victory 13–10.


NFC East
New York Giants 13 3 0 .813 335 211
Philadelphia Eagles 10 6 0 .625 396 299
Washington Redskins 10 6 0 .625 381 301
Dallas Cowboys 7 9 0 .438 244 308
Phoenix Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 268 396


The Giants finished the regular season having committed an NFL record low 14 turnovers, and their defense led the league in fewest points allowed (211). Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 914

* 1990 NFL Standings, Stats and Awards,, accessed May 23, 2007. Following the season, six Giants—defensive lineman Erik Howard, center Bart Oates, offensive guard William Roberts, linebackers Pepper Johnson and Lawrence Taylor, and special teamer Reyna Thompson—were selected to the Pro Bowl.

NFC Divisional playoff: Vs Chicago Bears

at Giants Stadiummarker, East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker

An early game goal-line stand by the Big Blue 'D' set the tone, as the Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 31–3 in the NFC Divisional playoff game at Giants Stadium on January 13, 1991. Ottis Anderson rushed for 80 yards on 21 carries, and the Giants rushed for 194 yards overall, and dominated the Bears in time of possession; 38 minutes and 22 seconds to 21 minutes and 38 seconds. Giants coach Bill Parcells used an unusual four-man defensive line most of the game—as opposed to their traditional 3-4 defense—causing the unprepared Bears confusion on their blocking assignments. The Giants were 4 for 4 on fourth down plays and converted 6 of 14 third downs. Their defense held Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak to 17 of 36 passing for 205 yards, and two interceptions, and running back Neal Anderson to a season-low 19 yards on 12 carries.

NFC Championship Game: At San Francisco 49ers

at Candlestick Parkmarker, San Francisco, Californiamarker

The Giants advanced to face the two-time defending champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game on January 20, 1991 in front of 65,750 fans at Candlestick Park. The game was a rematch of the contest won 7–3 by the 49ers one month earlier.

The 49ers had the best record in the NFC and were heavily favored to defeat the Giants, who were playing without their starting Quarterback and running back. This game proved to be a defensive showdown, a positional game with few first downs and low scoring. The teams alternated field goals in the first and second quarter to make the score 6–6 at halftime. As they had in Week 12, the Giants defense held San Francisco's offense in check, limiting San Francisco to one touchdown and two field goals. The 49ers defense also held the Giants' offense in check, limiting the Giants to four Matt Bahr field goals through the midway point of the fourth of quarter. Otis Anderson's power running style wore down the 49ers as Giants controlled the clock with long drives. Less than five minutes into the third quarter, 49ers quarterback Joe Montana threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Taylor to give the 49ers a 13–6 lead. In the 4th quarter, Giants fans held their breath as quarterback Jeff Hostetler was injured during a sack by former Giants defensive lineman Jim Burt, but returned later to finish the game. A Giants' field goal made the score 13–9 at the end of the third quarter. With 9:42 remaining in the game, Leonard Marshall sacked a flushed-out Montana with a square blow between his shoulders and knocked him out of the game (Montana would miss the next season and a half due to injuries sustained from the hit]. With the Giants down by 4 points, the Giants faced a 4th down in which they faked a punt and used a direct snap to upback Gary Reasons who rushed for a first down. The Giants than got into field goal range and Matt Bahr's 4th field goal brought the Giants to within 13–12. On the ensuing possession, the 49ers got a big first-down pass from Steve Young to Brent Jones and the game seemed over as the 49ers were about to win the game by simply running out the clock with a few short yardage plays. However, an unlikely Roger Craig fumble was forced by the helmet of Erik Howard and recovered by Lawrence Taylor which returned possession to the Giants. Sparked by a nifty rollout pass from Jeff Hostetler to Mark Bavaro, the Giants drove to the 49ers 25-yard line, where Matt Bahr made his fifth field goal at the gun to give the Giants a dramatic 15-13 victory. The Giants had pulled off an unlikely upset over the two time defending Superbowl champions off the play of their backups QB Jeff Hostetler and RB OJ Anderson, together with gutsy playcalling by coach Parcells. In a game of inches, the fake punt proved decisive.

Super Bowl XXV

at Tampa Stadiummarker, Tampa, Floridamarker

Super Bowl XXV took place amidst a background of war and patriotism in front of 73,813 fans at Tampa Stadiummarker, in Tampamarker, Floridamarker. The Gulf War had begun less than two weeks previous and the nation rallied around the Super Bowl as a symbol of America. Adding to the patriotism was Whitney Houston's stirring rendition of the National Anthem, which became known as one of the greatest renditions in Super Bowl history. The game lived up to the stirring Anthem, as it went down as the most competitive Super Bowl in history. The Giants got off to a quick 3–0 lead. However, the Bills scored the next 12 points, on a field goal, a touchdown by backup running back Don Smith, and a safety after Jeff Hostetler was sacked in the end zone by Bruce Smith, to give the Bills a 12–3 lead. The Giants then ran a drive that took nearly 8 minutes, and culminated in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Hostetler to Stephen Baker making the score 12–10 at halftime.

The Giants received the second half kickoff and mounted a record-setting drive. The opening drive ran for over 9 minutes (a Super Bowl record) and culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Ottis Anderson, giving the Giants a 17–12 lead. The signature play of the drive came on a third down play, when Giants receiver Mark Ingram appeared about to be tackled well short of a first down. However, Ingram evaded several tacklers, and dragged one defender just enough to get the Giants the first down, and kept the drive alive. By this time, the Giants strategy to handle the Bills offense had become clear: keep them off the field. Indeed, the Giants two touchdown drives consumed over 17 minutes.

The Bills struck back quickly. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Thurman Thomas ran for a 31-yard touchdown that put the Bills back in front, 19–17. A few possessions later, the Giants drove down to the Bills 4 yard line, but were unable to score a touchdown and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Matt Bahr that gave the Giants a 20–19 lead. Both teams exchanged possessions before the Bills began one final drive. The Bills drove down to the Giants 30-yard line to set up what would be a potentially game-winning 47-yard field goal attempt by Scott Norwood. Just before the kick, ABC showed a graphic indicating that, on grass that season, Norwood had only made 3–of–7 field goals from at least 40 yards. A few moments later, in what became the game's signature moment, Norwood's attempt missed wide right, and the Giants won their second Super Bowl, 20–19.

The Giants set a Super Bowl record for time of possession with a mark of 40:33, and Ottis Anderson was named MVP of the game after rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Awards and honors

See also



  • Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1994 ISBN 0312114354
  • Schwartz, John. Tales from the New York Giants Sideline, Sports Publishing LLC, 2004 ISBN 1582617589
  • Sprechman, Jordan and Shannon, Bill. This Day in New York Sports, Illinois: Sports Publishing LLC. 1998 ISBN 1571672540

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