The New York Giants kicked off the 1990s with a thrilling, last-second win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Unfortunately, the rest of the decade wasn't as kind to Big Blue.
In the early part of the 90s, Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms were in the twilight of their great careers and the team was years away from drafting franchise players Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber. Thus, it would be almost 10 years before the Giants got back to the Super Bowl. However, the Giants fielded a few strong teams during the 90s with these five players leading the way.
Dave Meggett (RB) -- Meggett, the Giants fifth-round pick in 1989, was one of the most dynamic special teams players in team history. He holds the franchise records for most punt return yardage with 2,230 and most punt return touchdowns (six). In additon, the speedy Meggett was a dangerous third-down receiver out of the backfield. Unfortunately, he had off-the-field issues during and after his playing career and currently is serving more than 25 years in prison.
Bart Oates (C) -- Signed as a free agent in 1985, Oates was the anchor of Big Blue's offensive line for the early part of the 90s. The stalwart center never missed a game and made the Pro Bowl five out of six years from 1990-95. Oates finished his career with the San Francisco Giants, but he was a key member of the Giants' 1986 and 1990 championship teams.
Howard Cross (TE) -- Drafted in the sixth round of the 1989 NFL Draft, the sturdy Cross played his entire 13-year NFL career with the Giants (missing only one game) and holds the franchise record for most games played with 207. Cross, who was a member of the 1990 Super Bowl championship team, finished his career with 2,194 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.
Jessie Armstead (LB) -- Armstead, an eighth round selection of the Giants in the 1993 NFL Draft, anchored the team's defense for a good part of the decade. The hard-nosed linebacker was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (three times in the 90s). Armstead, who played for New York from 1993-2001, finished his Giants career with 597 tackles, the fourth-most in franchise history.
Rodney Hampton (RB) --The hard-running Hampton, who played for the Giants from 1990-97, ranks second on the team's all-time rushing list with 6,897 yards. He made the Pro Bowl two times, including in 1992 when he ran for career highs of 1,141 yards and 14 touchdowns. The team's first-round pick in 1990, Hampton was the focal point of the Giants' run-first offense throughout much of the decade.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Follow Adam on Twitter @PegCitySports.Sources
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