1981 New York Giants Season
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1981 New York Giants Season
1981 New York Giants season
OwnerTimothy J. Mara
Wellington Mara
Head coachRay Perkins
General managerGeorge Young
Home fieldGiants Stadium
Results
Record9-7
Division place3rd NFC East
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs (Eagles) 27-21
Lost Divisional Playoffs (49ers) 38-24
Pro BowlersLB Lawrence Taylor
LB Harry Carson

The 1981 New York Giants season was the franchise's 57th season in the National Football League. The Giants qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 18 years with a 9-7 record,[1] which placed them third in the National Football Conference East Division.[2] The Giants qualified for the postseason thanks to an overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the last game of the season, coupled with a loss by the Green Bay Packers.[3] In the Wild Card playoffs, the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-21 in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. New York's season ended with a 38-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.[2] The 49ers would go on to win Super Bowl XVI.[4]

Offseason

NFL Draft

The Giants drafted linebacker Lawrence Taylor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Taylor would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.[5]

1981 New York Giants draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 2 Lawrence Taylor * +  LB North Carolina
2 32 Dave Young  TE Purdue
      Made roster    +   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Personnel

Staff

Roster

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 6, 1981 Philadelphia Eagles L 10-24
72,459
2 September 13, 1981 at Washington Redskins W 17-7
53,343
3 September 20, 1981 New Orleans Saints W 20-7
69,814
4 September 27, 1981 at Dallas Cowboys L 10-18
63,449
5 October 4, 1981 Green Bay Packers L 14-27
73,684
6 October 11, 1981 St. Louis Cardinals W 34-14
67,128
7 October 18, 1981 at Seattle Seahawks W 32-0
56,134
8 October 25, 1981 at Atlanta Falcons W 27-24
48,410
9 November 1, 1981 New York Jets L 7-26
74,740
10 November 8, 1981 at Green Bay Packers L 24-26
54,138
11 November 15, 1981 Washington Redskins L 27-30
63,133
12 November 22, 1981 at Philadelphia Eagles W 20-10
66,827
13 November 29, 1981 at San Francisco 49ers L 10-17
57,186
14 December 6, 1981 Los Angeles Rams W 10-7
59,659
15 December 13, 1981 at St. Louis Cardinals W 20-10
47,358
16 December 19, 1981 Dallas Cowboys W 13-10
73,009

Game summaries

Week 12

1 234Total
• Giants 3 7010 20
Eagles 7 300 10
  • Date: November 22
  • Location: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: 39 °F (3.9 °C), wind 16 miles per hour (26 km/h; 14 kn)
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden

[6]


Week 13

1 234Total
Giants 0 307 10
• 49ers 7 703 17
  • Date: November 29
  • Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
  • Game start: 4:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: 49 °F (9.4 °C), wind 10 miles per hour (16 km/h; 8.7 kn)
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (CBS): Tim Ryan and Fred Dryer

[7]


Week 14

1 234Total
Rams 7 000 7
Giants 0 073 10
  • Date: December 6
  • Location: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • Game start: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 36 °F (2.2 °C), wind 28 miles per hour (45 km/h; 24 kn)
  • Referee: Fred Silva
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden

[8]

Week 15

1 234Total
• Giants 7 373 20
Cardinals 3 007 10

[9]


Week 16: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Heading into their last regular season game, the Giants needed a win over the Dallas Cowboys to remain in postseason contention.[10] Dallas, the NFC East champions, required a victory against New York, along with a loss by the San Francisco 49ers, to clinch home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.[11] Neither team scored in the first half;[12] Giants kicker Joe Danelo missed two field goal attempts from inside 30 yards in the first quarter.[13] The Giants opened the scoring during their second possession of the second half, as Scott Brunner completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Tom Mullady. On the final play of the third quarter, Dallas wide receiver Tony Hill caught a 44-yard pass from Danny White; three plays later, White threw a touchdown pass to Doug Cosbie, which allowed the Cowboys to tie the game, 7-7.[14] On the Giants' next drive, Brunner threw an interception to Michael Downs; after taking possession in Giants territory, the Cowboys went in front on a 36-yard field goal by Rafael Septién.[15]

Dallas held a three-point lead into the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, when a Tony Dorsett fumble gave the Giants the ball at the Cowboys' 45-yard-line. Inside the final minute, Danelo attempted a game-tying field goal from 40 yards. His kick was good, and the game was forced into overtime.[16] The Giants had the first possession of overtime after winning the coin toss, but were forced to punt. On the Cowboys' second play of their first overtime drive, Dorsett was unable to field a pitch by White; Lawrence Taylor recovered the fumble and the Giants gained possession at the Dallas 40-yard-line.[17] Danelo's ensuing 33-yard field goal attempt was unsuccessful, hitting an upright. The Giants then forced another Cowboys turnover, as White was intercepted by Byron Hunt, who returned the ball to the Dallas 24-yard-line.[16] Danelo was called on again, and his 35-yard field goal clinched a 13-10 victory for the Giants.[16] The following day, the New York Jets defeated the Green Bay Packers, giving the Giants their first playoff berth since 1963.[3]

Playoffs

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Wildcard December 27, 1981 at Philadelphia Eagles W 27-21
71,611
Divisional January 3, 1982 at San Francisco 49ers L 24-38
58,360

Standings

NFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Dallas Cowboys(2) 12 4 0 .750 6-2 8-4 367 277 L1
Philadelphia Eagles(4) 10 6 0 .625 4-4 7-5 368 221 W1
New York Giants(5) 9 7 0 .563 5-3 8-6 295 257 W3
Washington Redskins 8 8 0 .500 3-5 6-6 347 349 W3
St. Louis Cardinals 7 9 0 .438 2-6 4-8 315 408 L2

References

  1. ^ "New York Giants Franchise Encyclopedia". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  2. ^ a b "1981 New York Giants". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ a b Whittingham, Richard (2005). Illustrated History of the New York Giants. Chicago: Triumph Books. pp. 195-196. ISBN 978-1-57243-641-1.
  4. ^ Massa, Mike (January 10, 2020). "49ers' playoff history as the top seed in the NFC". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Lawrence Taylor". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "New York Giants 20 at Philadelphia Eagles 10". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ "New York Giants 10 at San Francisco 49ers 17". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Los Angeles Rams 7 at New York Giants 10". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "New York Giants 20 at St. Louis Cardinals 10". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Whittingham, p. 195.
  11. ^ Baker, Jim; Corbett, Bernard M. (2010). The Most Memorable Games in Giants History: The Oral History of a Legendary Team. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 195. ISBN 978-1-60819-074-4.
  12. ^ "Dallas Cowboys 10 at New York Giants 13". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ Gola, Hank (December 31, 2011). "Joe Danelo recalls '81 NY Giants, Dallas Cowboys match as a day filled with emotions". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Baker and Corbett, p. 197.
  15. ^ Baker and Corbett, pp. 197-198.
  16. ^ a b c Litsky, Frank (December 20, 1981). "Giants Win In Overtime; Playoff Spot On Line Today". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ Baker and Corbett, p. 199.

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