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Giants and Jets
October 2002

The New York Giants brought New Jersey its first NFL championship with their victory in Super Bowl XXI. The Giants beat the Denver Broncos 39-20 to become the 1986 World Champions. Phil Simms, a resident of Franklin Lakes, was named Super Bowl MVP. Simms had perhaps the greatest game by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. He completed a record 22 of his 25 passes.

Also from Franklin Lakes, Harry Carson started one of the most famous traditions in sports history. Carson was one of the Giants greatest linebackers and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. After an important Giants victory in their march to the Super Bowl, Carson dumped Gatorade on coach Bill Parcells. Today, the “Gatorade Splash” is still one of the most famous victory celebrations in sports.

The Giants of the 1980s were led by the greatest linebacker of all time, Lawrence Taylor. “LT” is among the all-time NFL leaders in sacks. Taylor was still leading the Giants “D” in 1991 when the Giants got their second Super Bowl championship, beating the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV. Because of its last second drama, many considered the game the greatest Super Bowl ever.

Leading both of the Giants’ Super Bowl teams was coach Bill Parcells. Parcells, who attended River Dell High School, also brought the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl in 1997. In 1998, Parcells became head coach of Jets. Parcells led the Jets to the AFC Championship before retiring before the 2000 season.

Running back Curtis Martin is a key player who has helped turn the Jets into a top contender. Martin is one of only three players to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL. Martin also set Jets records for most yards in a game with 203 and most rushing yards in a season with 1,464.

In 2000, the Giants returned to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. Last year, the Giants season was highlighted by the play of defensive end Michael Strahan. Strahan set a record with 22.5 sacks in a single season. Former Jet Mark Gastineau previously held the record with 22. As the Giants and Jets head into the 2002 season, both teams will strive to bring another Super Bowl back to New Jersey.

Next: New Jersey Football Hall of Famers

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