Danny Kanell and tbi Quarterback Markit
Jim FasseL said after the Minnesota game that Danny Kanell was his starter for the next season: “Danny managed the game well, and I expect him to take that to the next level.” That was wishful thinking.
One of the hidden reasons that the Giants lost to the Vikings was that they could not do any better than field goals, even with Minnesota’s mistakes in the first half. On the first score, Kanell twice overthrew open receivers in the end zone before settling for the three-pointer. But how much could be expected of a fourth-round draft pick? The only reason that Kanell was the starter was that former first-round pick Dave Brown was a total flop.
The Giants have spent a number-one draft pick on a quarterback a total of five times. Philip Rivers was traded, but of the other four who stayed with the team, only Phil Simms was a success; Brown, Travis Tidwell, and Lee Grosscup were all busts. As a matter of fact, of the 10 other starting quarterbacks the Giants have drafted over the years, only third-rounders Jeff Hostetler and Don Heinrich have had any success. Kanell, Jesse Palmer, Randy Dean, Scott Brunner, Kent Graham, Bobby Clatterbuck, Jerry Golsteyn, and Gary Wood are all best forgotten.
The Giants have had much more luck in trading for quarterbacks. Since World War II, New York has obtained Frankie Filchock, Charley Conerly, Y. A. Tittle, Earl Morrall, Fran Tarkenton, and Eli Manning through trades. Of course, not all trades can be winners; other deals brought in lesser lights Norm Snead, Craig Morton, Jim Del Gaizo, George Shaw, Ralph Guglielmi, Milt Plum, Dick Shiner, and Randy Johnson.
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The other avenue for quarterbacks free agency has also proven a mixed bag, bringing to New York Joe Pisarcik from the CFL, Kerry Collins and Tommy Maddox from the scrap heap, and Kurt Warner from a heroic recent past.
Vikings kicker Eddie Murray celebrates his game-winning field-goal as Giants defensive back Percy Ellsworth walks dejectedly off the field. Ellsworth was one of two New York players who failed to recover Murray’s onside kick a few moments earlier.
It came up low. I knew the ground was wet, and it could skid and go fast. As I went down on it at the last minute, it kind of popped up. A football isn’t like a baseball where you can scoop it up, but I should have had it, really.
New York’s best and most sure-handed receiver, Chris Calloway, had the first shot at the ball 10 yards downfield, but shockingly, he let it bounce off his chest, and in the ensuing scramble the Vikings recovered it.
The Giants were reeling and continued to lose their composure, allowing Minnesota to drive down the field on seven plays, aided by an interference call on Sparks. Murray kicked the game-winning 24-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining, and the Giants’ season was over.
The internal squabbling would continue as a theme for the rest of Fassel’s inconsistent seven-year tenure, although he would lead New York to one Super Bowl. Sadly, this spectacle was the last game for two Giants heroes. On the field, all-time leading rusher Rodney Hampton gained a paltry 18 yards in his final appearance; watching from a booth above was the man responsible for the turnaround of the Giants franchise over the last two decades, retiring general manager George Young.
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