Top 10 All Time Giants
In 1953, the Giants had one African-American on the roster. Emlen Tunnell had approached Giants’ owner Tim Mara 5 years earlier, after hitching a ride from Pennsylvania to Manhatten, and became the first black player on the Giants roster.
The 1953 draft featured a lightning quick tackle from historically black Morgan State University. Roosevelt Brown only became know to the Giants after a member of the Giants happened across his name mentioned in a newspaper for an all black All-American team. The Giants took him with the 8th pick in the 27th round, which is the latest round an NFL Hall of Fame member has ever been taken.
Brown, despite his draft position and relatively unknown status, earned the starting left tackle position for Steve Owen’s Giants by the time the ’53 season started. His athleticism and quickness were unmatched, and he even returned a few punts as a Giant, but as an offensive lineman, he revolutionized the position and ushered in a new era of blocking.
Utilizing his quickness and strength, offensive line coach Vince Lombardi introduced a new play into the offense, the power sweep. It called for offensive lineman to pull and lead the back around the outside. Roosevelt Brown thrived, and exemplified what Lombardi famously dubbed, “a seal here, and a seal here.” Brown led the way for the power sweep that would become famous in Green Bay, and during the 50’s, the “Madison Avenue Giants” would ride Rosey Brown and a vaunted defense to a championship in 1956 and championship game appearances in ’58, ’59, ’61, ’62, and ’63. Along with this, Brown was named to 9 Pro Bowls and 6 All-Pro teams. He was distinguished as a member of the All-1950’s decade team and became only the 2nd predominantly offensive lineman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The success the team felt during this era largely diminished following Brown’s retirement in 1965, which only speaks to his impact on the field. The next decade and a half could be seen as the dark ages for the Giants; they missed the playoffs beginning in 1964 and would not make them again until 1981. By that time, the Giants would again look to the defensive side of the ball for success, and began that resurgence with the next player on the list.
Next: #6-A Return to de-fense