Phil Simms recalls Giants’ Super Bowl XXI win over Broncos

Could it possibly be 37 years already since the New York Giants won their first Super Bowl?

Believe it or not, yes. 37 years ago, almost to the day (the 25th), the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos, 39-20, at the Rose Bowl in Super Bowl XXI, their first NFL championship in 30 years.

The star of that game was quarterback Phil Simms, who had a record day. He completed 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns en route setting Super Bowl records for consecutive completions (10), passing accuracy (88%), and passer rating (150.9).

The once embattled Simms finally vindicated himself after six topsy-turvy seasons in which he fought through injuries and inconsistency.

The first big hurdle that postseason would be the divisional round game at home against the rival San Francisco 49ers. The Giants won easily, 49-3, to advance to their first NFC Championship Game against another heated rival, the Washington Redskins.

It was a cold, blustery day at Giants Stadium and the crowd was filled with hope and anticipation. The Giants did not disappoint, winning convincingly, 17-0, and the fans were rewarded for their decades of patience.

In a recent sit-down with the New York Post’s Steve Serby, Simms recalled the scene during and after the win over Washington.

“All I could say at first was, ‘Oh my God, I finally get to play in a championship game and the wind’s going to blow 40 miles an hour.’ It was so windy that it made me laugh when I went on the field,” Simms said.

“The crowd was awesome the whole game. They were on fire from the time we ran out of the tunnel until we left. … The best part of our team that day was (punter) Sean Landeta. It just drives Lawrence (Taylor) crazy. But Sean Landeta was historic that day. Sean was booming them right through the wind.”

As one who was on the scene for that game, I can tell you it was like Mardi Gras, except half the crowd was stunned. The Giants are going to the Super Bowl? Nah, that can’t be right. We had seen some of the worst football any team had to offer in the past three decades and d now we were on the apron of a championship.

“It crossed my mind at the very end, kind of just when the game ended, I went, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to go to the Super Bowl,'” said Simms. “I just kind of thought, ‘Well, the Super Bowl’s only for guys like Joe Montana and Dan Marino.'”

Not so fast. The best was yet to come but Simms reminded all that the year didn’t go as smoothly as their 14-2 record indicated.

“Let’s be honest here, that was not a fairy-tale year. I went through a period where, holy Christ, if I completed a pass I was ready to jump for joy. It was rough. We had so many guys hurt. Come on, Jeff Hostetler was playing wide receiver a lot,” Simms said.

The truth was, the Giants’ defense was tops but the offense struggled that year. Simms doubted himself several times throughout the season before rediscovering his groove.

“It’s hard to pull the trigger when it’s not going your way,” he recalled. “Guys started getting healthy, and Bill (Parcells) just goes, ‘Man Simms, come on, let it go.'”

Serby asked Simms to compare the 1986 team to the 1990 club, which won Super Bowl XXV, but Simms — who broke his foot late in the year and couldn’t play in the postseason — wouldn’t bite.

“I’m not going to do that. That team was totally different from the ’90 team,” Simms said. “The ’90 team was predicated on just smashing people and just really dominating the team in the way we played — time possession, no turnovers, running it. The ’90 team is the most orchestrated team I ever played on by far. Here’s the formula, here’s what we do, and damn, it works.”

Simms got a ring as a member of the 1990 team. After all, he did lead the Giants to a 10-1 start that year but it naturally hit differently for the Super Bowl XXI MVP.

“It was hard to not be part of (Super Bowl XXV), but also I played a big part in it too (before the December foot injury),” he said. “I never lost sleep over it, let’s put it that way.”

Story originally appeared on Giants Wire