A beloved figure in NY Giants history, deceased former longtime general manager George Young is up for enshrinement in Canton for the 2020 class. If he is, he will be the first member from the Giants organization to be enshrined since Michael Strahan in 2014, a player he drafted.
Young was the NY Giants general manager from 1979 to 1997 and helped the Giants rise out of murky depths of the NFL’s underbelly as fans saw horrible after horrible season in the ’70s. He was hired in the aftermath of the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” which is considered the lowest of the low points in Giants history.
However, Young would make the Giants forever relevant as an organization. It was he who hired hall of fame head coach Bill Parcells, who would lead the NY Giants to their first two Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990 under the pure defensive dominance established by players Young drafted as general manager.
Players that included hall of fame defensive end Lawrence Taylor, quarterback Phil Simms, linebacker Carl Banks and tight end Mark Bavaro in his early tenure.
After the Bill Parcells era, the Giants would struggle in the 90s’ with poor drafting and mismanagement of the salary cap. Young would draft hall of fame defensive end Michael Strahan in 1993, who would break the NFL sack record in 2001 with 22.5 sacks and help the Giants win Super Bowl XLII in his last season in 2007.
His later draft achievements also include ring of honor members linebacker Jessie Armstead, running back Tiki Barber, and wide receiver Amani Toomer, with the latter also contributing to the Giants winning Super Bowl XLII. At the end of the 97′ season, he would hand over the reins to assistant general manager Ernie Accorsi, who would trade for Eli Manning in 2004.
The rest is history. Manning would win two more Super Bowls for the Giants and keep Big Blue relevant in the 2000s.
“I’ve had a wonderful job here. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I’ve never had a bad day.” Young said fittingly after his tenure.
George Young is a finalist in the “contributor” category, which also includes ten other contributors for the special “Centennial Slate” the NFL has for its’ 100th year. Young will have to slot into three positions the NFL has available in the contributor category that is going to be debated on later in January.
Some of the other finalists for the 2020 contributor class include former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, owner Art Modell, owner Bud Adams, and NFL Films’ Steve Sabol. Young’s other accomplishments include winning executive of the year in 1984, 1986, 1990, 1993 and 1997 along with winning an NFL championship in 1968 and Super Bowl V with the Baltimore Colts.
If Young is named a member of the 2020 class, someone else will have to give his hall of fame speech as he died of a neurological disease on Dec. 8th, 2001 in Baltimore at 71 years old.