The first taste of football is approaching very soon as the Hall of Fame game is only 22 days away. Giants fans can rejoice again in short order… but until then, GMEN HQ continues its series.
The history of the #22 is one not blatantly full of fame and fortune. Many unknowns have donned the jersey number and eventually passed it to others who also moved on from the team. Yet, greatness comes in many forms, no matter how brief the tenure may have been. Jersey #22 especially has some defensive back history.
Looking into the past is where Giants fans will find the greatest success story to don #22. Dick Lynch, a cornerback from 1959-66 for Big Blue and Notre Dame alum, notched 37 interceptions in nine seasons. He was selected for the Pro Bowl and was voted All-Pro in 1963. After retirement, Lynch went on to do color commentary for years until he passed in 2008 from leukemia. He was 72. Lynch was a well known face in Giants lore and was considered an amiable and great man.
More recently, Phillipi Sparks, father of singer Jordin Sparks, also wore the number in the early 90s until 2000. He combined with Jason Sehorn to form a great duo that supported a strong defense. In total, Sparks earned 27 picks and over 400 tackles.
Sam Madison is another name that wore the number and made a major positive effect on the team rather recently. In 2006, Madison signed with the Giants but changed his number to #29 in 2007, before winning a ring with New York. His presence brought veteran leadership and experience to a secondary that struggled beforehand, and his leadership continued last year as he served as a training camp secondary coach.
Now a rich history hopes to have a rich present time. The number 22 is currently owned by running back David Wilson, who recently underwent spinal fusion surgery to correct stenosis in his neck. His fumbling issues have scarred confidence from coaches and fans, but the former first round pick still boasts elite speed and hopes to revive the promise he was once thought to have.
If Wilson can, he can change the Giants’ history of the #22, and shift it to offensive success in a brand new offense that hopes to use he and the rest of the backfield in versatile ways. Not only does his career lie on the line, but a tradition of cornerback excellence.
As we honor those who previously donned the #22, we all need to ask ourselves: Is it August 3rd yet???