New York Giants: 15 G-Men who changed the game forever

Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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15 – Charlie Conerly

Charlie Conerly was Eli Manning before Eli Manning’s famous father Archie was even born. An All-American quarterback from the University of Mississippi, who New York Giants fans had a love-hate relationship with. Additionally, there were many years he was pounded by defenses as a result of a porous Big Blue offensive line.

Truth be told, he was a darn good professional quarterback. Chuckin Charlie played parts of 14 NFL seasons all with the Giants, from 1948 to 1961. In that time span, Big Blue had a combined record of 102-62-6 (yes there were many more tie games because overtime wasn’t a thing yet). They won their division five times and went to four NFL Championship games, winning one in 1956.

During an era that didn’t feature passing, Conerly threw for 19,488 yards and 173 touchdowns for his career. He was a two time Pro Bowl selection, 1948 Rookie of the year, and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player of 1959. Conerly still holds most of the Giants rookie passing records. The G-Men retired his number 42.

What makes Connerly a game changer is what he did as his career ended. The Clarksdale, Mississippi native played the Marlboro Man in television commercials. The NFL wasn’t like it is now. There were no shoe contracts or big endorsement deals at the time. In a way, Conerly opened the door for other football players to make big money off the field.