Former New York Giants General Manager George Young, who passed away in 2001 at the age of 71, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Young served as general manager of the franchise from 1979 until 1997. He is credited with bringing the Giants out of dark period when the team failed to make the playoffs during a 17 stretch, from 1964 until 1981. Under his guidance and supervision, the Giants made the playoffs eight times in 19 seasons, culminated by two Super Bowl championships in 1986 and 1990. Young was also named “NFL Executive of the Year” five times, including after the 1984, 1986, 1990, 1993, and 1997 seasons.
“George is certainly very deserving of being in the Hall of Fame,” said team President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara. “My only regret is that he’s not around to enjoy this. He took our organization from being in last place and not having a lot of respect around the league to being a Super Bowl Champion. He made every football department in our organization more professional. He changed the reputation and level of respect that our team had for the better. He improved us in so many different ways. He certainly is a very deserving Hall of Famer. Again, I only wish he could be around to enjoy this moment. It’s long overdue. All of us here are very happy that at long last he will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.”
“George Young transformed our organization,” said team Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch. “My father (the late Bob Tisch, who purchased Tim Mara’s 50 percent ownership in 1991) always appreciated George’s leadership and vision, and George was vital to our family as we transitioned from our traditional business interests into the National Football League. For that, we are grateful, and his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is most deserving and a long time coming.”
“George Young’s career is the very definition of a Hall of Famer,” said Ernie Accorsi, who worked under Young and succeeded him as general manager. “From assistant coach to scout to general manager to trusted advisor to Commissioner (Paul) Tagliabue, every step of the way there was excellence. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of George or something I learned from him. The only bittersweet part is that he’s not here. But as the great Beano Cook would say, ‘If the Gipper knew, George knows.’”
Young came to the Giants in 1979 when then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle suggested that team ownership hire him during a family feud between co-owners Wellington Mara and his nephew Tim Mara. Young was responsible for drafting a slew of New York Giants legends, including quarterback Phil Simms; running backs Joe Morris, Rodney Hampton, and Tiki Barber; wide receiver Amani Toomer; tight end Mark Bavaro; defensive ends Leonard Marshall and Michael Strahan; and linebackers Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, and Jessie Armstead. He also hired Ray Perkins, Bill Parcells, Ray Handley, Dan Reeves, and Jim Fassel as head coaches.
“I think this would have meant a lot to George because he always had a great appreciation for the history of the game and he had so much respect for people who were enshrined in the Hall,” Mara said “I think this would have meant the world to him, even though he may not have admitted to that. I think this would have had a huge impact on him. Again, I’m really sorry he’s not around to enjoy it.”
“He would be very, very happy and fulfilled by this,” said Accorsi. “This would have been something he cherished, because the game meant so much to him.”