The Giants will induct three pivotal figures in their 21st century success — one executive, one coach, one player — into their Ring of Honor this autumn.
Former general manager Ernie Accorsi, former coach Tom Coughlin and former defensive end Justin Tuck will get the nod in a halftime ceremony when the Giants host the Bengals in a Monday night game Nov. 14. The trio will bring to 42 the number of men so honored by the Giants.
Accorsi had left the general manager job by the time they won Super Bowl XLII after the 2007 season, but he hired Coughlin as coach in 2004 and drafted Tuck in 2005.
Coughlin and Tuck helped the Giants add another Lombardi Trophy after the 2011 season, with Tuck as a captain.
Accorsi will be the second GM in the Ring of Honor, joining George Young. He left the post after 2006, his ninth season since succeeding Young. His signature personnel move was trading for quarterback Eli Manning on draft day in 2004.
“When you start working in the National Football League, this is not something you would ever dream could happen,” Accorsi said in a news release from the team. “I’ve seen these in different stadiums, and when you see all the great players and coaches up there, it’s not something I ever thought could happen.
“I can’t even put into words what an honor it is, especially with this franchise. It’s overwhelming that someone who started at the bottom in this league could end up with some of the names up there, like Lawrence Taylor and Frank Gifford. It’s just incredible for me to get this.”
Coughlin will be the fourth coach inducted, joining Steve Owen, Jim Lee Howell and Bill Parcells. He and the Giants parted ways after last season, his 12th.
“It was a great privilege to be the 16th head coach of the New York Giants, and it’s a privilege and a tremendous honor to be a part of those great names in Giant folklore that are in the Ring of Honor,” Coughlin said. “It’s something [my wife] Judy, my family and I very much appreciate.”
Coughlin left the Giants somewhat reluctantly in early January and said he was not necessarily through with coaching. But after speaking to the Eagles and 49ers about their openings, he did not end up with a team for this season, and he will turn 70 in August, seemingly making it unlikely he will be an NFL head coach again.
He has remained on generally good terms with the Giants franchise, and fans will get the chance to express their gratitude to him directly in November.
“The New York Giants, to me, is the greatest franchise in the history of the NFL,” Coughlin said. “We recognize the long history of the Giants and the greatest city in the world, the tremendous coaches and players that have represented the Giants over the years. It’s a great honor to be included in the same breath with some of these prestigious former players and coaches.”
Tuck will be the fifth defensive end inducted, joining Andy Robustelli, George Martin, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Tuck left the Giants after 2013, played two years for the Raiders and then re-signed with the Giants for one day in May to retire as a member of the team.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “Anytime something like this is bestowed upon a person, you have to consider all the other guys up there, all the people that have paved the way for a small-town kid like me to have the opportunity to be put up in the rafters by what I consider to be the greatest football franchise there is.
“I don’t think it’s dawned on me yet how big a deal it is, but I’m sure that night there will be some emotions that come out and be very visible. I’m very, very excited about it.”
Tuck said going in with Accorsi and Coughlin will add to the honor.
“That is just special,” he said. “They gave me the chance to be a Giant. None of this would be possible without them, so I think it is fitting that I get the opportunity to go in with them. How I look at it is I will be the third of this group and the other two are unbelievable with what they have been able to accomplish, not just with the Giants, but with football in general. I am pretty lucky to be even considered in the same light as those two.
“Obviously, they are very important to what I have been able to accomplish in football, and I wouldn’t even be in the conversation if it wasn’t for them. Hats off to them, and I am looking forward to sharing a night with them.”
Said Accorsi of joining the others: “That makes it extra special. That is exactly the way I feel. [In the 2005 draft], we get [cornerback Corey] Webster in the second and Justin in the third. We got them both in the second and third round because they played hurt.
“They were both first-round players, but we took a risk because they didn’t play as well. But a lot of times guys sit that season out after a knee. Next to the quarterback, my obsession is with the pass rushers. To go in with a pass rusher like him and Tom Coughlin . . . I love Marty Schottenheimer [his coach in Cleveland], but Tom is the greatest coach I ever was involved in hiring. It is a special honor.”
Said Coughlin: “Justin Tuck played 11 years in this league. He was a young man with tremendous character and ability, a guy who recognized the professionalism of the game and the sport, who had great self-confidence and was a two-time Super Bowl champion.
“And Ernie is one of the greatest historians of our game, a guy who has literally done it all. He is someone I have great respect and admiration for. Of course, I’ll always be grateful for the whole Giant organization that made the decision as to who the 16th head coach would be.”