Jerry Barca dropped by CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show on Monday night to discuss his new book, “Big Blue Wrecking Crew,” which chronicles the New York Giants’ run to the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship: a 39-20 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI in January 1987.
“They were a fascinating team,” Barca said. “They were a great team. People remember this team. It’s a team that gets passed on to generations.”
The Giants, who made the playoffs just once from 1964 to 1984, hired Bill Parcells in 1983. Parcels went 3-12-1 in his first season, 9-7 in his second, 10-6 in his third and, ultimately, 14-2 in the Giants’ 1986 Super Bowl season.
“They were a mess in the ’70s, and this was the rise to glory,” Barca said. “If you’re an Eli Manning Giants’ fan, this is the foundation for the current Super Bowl (era). This is when the Giants became winners. Modern Giant football was born here and born from those ashes of what went on in the late-70s.”
The Giants were led by quarterback Phil Simms, tight end Mark Bavaro, receivers Stacy Robinson, Bobby Johnson and Phil McConkey, and running back Joe Morris. As for the defense? Lights out. Lawrence Taylor, who became the second defensive player to be named NFL MVP, led a unit that held opponents to 20 points or fewer in 14 games that season.
Four years later, Parcells led the Giants to another Super Bowl win in January 1991, this time beating the Bills, 20-19, in Super Bowl 25. Parcells then retired, only to return to the league in 1993 – as coach of the New England Patriots. He led the Pats to a Super Bowl appearance before leaving after the 1996 season.
Interestingly enough, the Giants almost rehired Parcells in 1997, but it never came to fruition.
“It was the relationship with (general manager) George Young that was not going to let that happen,” Barca explained. “Basically, the rift started after Parcells’ first year when he was 3-12-1, and George Young called Howard Schnellenberger at Miami to gauge his interest. Schnellenberger called his agent, who happened also to be Bill Parcells’ agent.”
Parcells’ agent informed Parcells of what Young was doing behind the scenes.
“The rift started then,” Barca said. “They were able to work it out and build this foundation for Giant football, but George Young wasn’t having it in ’97. Literally ran down the hallway (to hire Jim Fassel). The (Tisch family) and the (Mara family) had finally agreed you can go hire (Fassel). Then the call came in from Robert Tisch (saying), ‘If you’re comfortable with Parcells, offer it to him.’ Young had gone sprinting down his hallway and by the time John Mara could get to him, he had already made the offer to Jim Fassel. They wouldn’t renege on the offer to Fassel once it was made. As a matter of policy, they weren’t going to pull back that offer once it was made.”
Fassel guided the Giants to Super Bowl XXXV in January 2001. They lost to the Ravens, 34-7.