The Daily Blitz brings you the latest news surrounding your New York Giants from team headquarters in East Rutherford, N.J.
NOW ON GIANTS.COM
» Victor Cruz putting up big numbers for Giants
» Corey Webster aims to return vs. Eagles
» Damontre Moore ready for increased role
» Safety Will Hill set to return to team
» Roster moves may open up room for RB Cox
THROWBACK THURSDAY: ‘THE REPLACEMENTS’
In the third week of the 1987 season, the NFL players went on strike with hopes of gaining the right to a fair free agency process. Instead of cancelling some of the season’s games, like the NFL had during the players’ strike in 1982, it opted to take a different route — replacement players.
“The owners, determined not to be bullied by the players’ union (as they arguably had been in 1982, when another players’ strike forced the cancellation of five weeks’ worth of NFL games), resolved that this time, the games would go on as scheduled—with or without the players,” Shmoop.com wrote. “What followed was one of the strangest months in pro football history, as NFL teams fielded lineups of amateur athletes unconvincingly masquerading as NFL players while the real players—many of them millionaires—walked picket lines, unconvincingly masquerading as blue-collar working stiffs.”
And it couldn’t have happened at a worse time for New York.
The team had just won its first-ever Super Bowl, defeating the Denver Broncos, 39-20, in Super Bowl XXI in Pasadena, California at the end of the 1986 season. It boasted the league’s MVP in linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who is one of two defensive players to ever win a league MVP award, and had quarterback Phil Simms, the Super Bowl MVP. And it had a Hall of Fame coach in Bill Parcells.
But, with its starters, the team dropped its first two games. On Sept. 22, the players strike became official and the NFL cancelled the third week of the season for the replacement players to become acclimated with their teams.
On Oct. 5, when Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49ers came to town, it was Jim Crocicchia, a two-time Ivy League champion at the University of Pennsylvania, lining up under center.
“The situation seems to call for a tough quarterback, and Crocicchia has credentials,” Frank Litsky wrote. “He said his nose and his right little finger had been broken while boxing. Amateur boxing? ‘No,’ he said. College boxing? ‘No,’ he said, ‘bar boxing. I took a couple of hits, but I can take care of myself. But don’t make me out to be a fighter. My mother will kill me.’”
Crocicchia completed six of his 15 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown but the Giants lost, 41-21. The replacement players went 0-3 in their three weeks. For the Giants, that meant an 0-5 start.
And for Crocicchia, that meant the end of his NFL career. He was replaced in Week 5 by his backup, Mike Busch, who was then replaced by Simms’ backup, Jeff Rutledge, after he crossed the picket line in Week 5.
He played one season for the New York Knights of the Arena Football League in 1988 before retiring.
On Oct. 15, after 24 days of being on strike, Taylor, Simms and the rest of the Giants’ starters returned to the field. The team finished with a 6-9 record.
After losing to Kansas City this past weekend, New York holds a 0-4 record for the first time since the 1987 strike season.
“I’m hoping that our fans are as boisterous and supportive as they’ve ever been, maybe even more. I just hope everyone rallies around our team right now. The players need it, we all need it, we all need to feel that great support and the 12th man, playing at home in the division, there’s certainly every reason in the world to be excited about that. A 1 o’clock game, I’m hoping that they help us, that the fans help us win.” -Coach Tom Coughlin
TWEET OF THE DAY
AROUND THE DIVISION
COWBOYS: No Miles Austin at Wednesday’s practice
EAGLES: Press conference: LeSean McCoy
REDSKINS: Are there any trades in Redskins’ future?
The Star-Ledger reports: Giants links
ESPN NY reports: Hankins’ time?
The New York Daily News reports: Win over Eagles is all Giants need to get back in race
Tags: Giants, Jim Crocicchia, new york giants, NFL, throwback thursday
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