New York Giants: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Eli Manning, New York Giants. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Eli Manning, New York Giants. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images /
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New York Giants
New York Giants. Rick Stewart /Allsport /

Tuffy Leemans. 14. player. 31. . Fullback. 1936-43

A fullback, huh? Well we have to remember that, back in the 1930s and the 1940s, the fullback was an important part of every NFL offense. Running the ball was much more prominent, while passing was more of just a way to catch defenses off-guard.

When it came to Tuffy Leemans, though, he knew how to do it all. Whether he was running, catching or even throwing the football, good things were bound to happen. That’s why you can now find his head in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with his efforts as a jack-of-all-trades for the Giants serving as the catalyst for his induction.

It didn’t take long for Leemans to earn his status as a second-round pick for New York. Taking over as the Giants’ lead back, he won the NFL rushing title as a rookie, garnering All-Pro honors along the way.

He also dabbled as a safety, proving his prowess on the defensive side of the ball as well. Although he never recreated the magic of his first season, what came after was still plenty impressive.

Now, Leemans is immortalized in Canton as one of the NFL’s greatest athletes of the early days, consistently finishing among the league’s top rushers, while also affecting the game as a receiver and occasional thrower. On top of all that, his role in the Giants’ 1938 championship sealed his fate as one of the franchise’s all-time greats.