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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9 – Jim Lee Howell

Until a guy named Bill Parcells took over the team in 1982, Jim Lee Howell was probably the best head coach in New York Giants team history, although a case could be made for his predecessor Steve Owen. Howell led the G-Men for seven seasons from 1954-1960, He had a record of 53-27-4, which is still a franchise-best .663 winning percentage. During Howell’s tenure, the team went to the NFL Championship game three times. They won just one of the three, taking home a title for the 1956 season.

Howell was a two-sport star at Arkansas before signing with the Giants as a receiver and defensive back in 1937. He spent eight seasons with the team as player, 1937-1942, and 1946-47, making All-Pro in 1938. Back then players had offseason jobs and one of Howell’s was as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives in1941.

When his pro career ended, Howell took over as the head coach of Wagner College. Six year’s later he was called on to replace one of his mentors, Steve Owen as the New York Giants head coach. As mentioned earlier, he had Tom Landry running the defense, and Vince Lombardi handling the offense. Back then they were called assistants but now we refer to the job as coordinator.

Howell set the standard for today’s current coaching model. He was more of a mediator between the two strong personalities that worked under him. In one of the biographies on Lombardi, Lombardi – An Illustrated Life, Howell once said in regard to his two high profile assistants, that his job was to make sure there was air in the footballs.