received a hatful of honors this season, but three years ago he was a very
shaky young coach. His first season was a 3-12-1 debacle. The team was in
turmoil. Carson wanted out. Taylor signed a five-year future contract with the
USFL. At the end of the year there were strong rumors that Howard
Schnellenberger would replace Parcells, whose contract had two years left.
Dec. 22, Bill and I had a talk in my office," Giants G.M. George Young
says. "The next day I told him he was still the coach."
Changes were made.
Young Johnny Parker became the Giants' strength coach. The club built a special
weight room. Young and Parcells played the USFL market, bringing in Carthon and
right guard Chris Godfrey and center Bart Oates, all key figures in the
resurgence of the Giants' running game. From the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars
came Sean Landeta, a Pro Bowl punter this year. The pieces fell into place. The
Giants had an offense to go with their traditionally strong defense.
The irony in the
Giants-Denver matchup is that Bronco coach Dan Reeves was once a serious
candidate for the New York job, losing out to Ray Perkins on the final pick in
"I told him he
was eminently qualified," Young says, "but I'd worked with Ray at
Baltimore and I preferred to go with someone I'd known. I told him not to
worry. It would only be a matter of time before he'd be a head coach—and a good
Reeves has had
five winning seasons in his six years in Denver. He has produced two division
champions, and now he has a quarterback who has reached the threshold of
superstardom. The Giants are the overwhelming favorite on Sunday, but you can't
forget the way Elway gathered his teammates around him for that 98-yard drive
against Cleveland. Inspiration against raw power. It's an intriguing
In the preseason I
picked New York to beat Denver in the Super Bowl. I liked the way the Giants
loaded up on defense in the draft, and I figured the extra depth would give
them fresher legs for the playoffs. I also liked the feeling of hunger the club
projected, the sense of mission. The Broncos swung my vote after a Friday night
preseason defeat of the Rams. Elway looked sensational. So did Vance Johnson,
who caught 11 passes for 195 yards. I thought they would be 1986's most dynamic
passing combination, strong enough to carry a defense that was certainly good
enough. I thought that when they got cornerback Mark Haynes from the Giants,
they had that one great cover guy they needed. Well, I blew that one. Haynes
hasn't done anything, but the Broncos have managed just fine without him. My
pick—the same as it was in September—Giants 20, Denver 17.