The New York Giants may still be feeling the sting of not being in the Super Bowl one year after winning it all. But it should still be a monumental Super Bowl weekend for the franchise as Michael Strahan and Bill Parcells are up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2013 class vote Saturday.
Both men deserve the call to the Hall.
"If [Strahan's name is] not called, it will be a black, gloomy day for the NFL," defensive end Justin Tuck told Giants.com this week in New Orleans. "I don't see how he's not a shoo-in for a first-ballot Hall of Famer."
Lawrence Taylor will always be thought of as the greatest defensive player in Giants history, but Strahan had a record-setting career while playing for the Giants from 1993-2007.
Selected in the second round as the 40th overall pick in 1993 draft out of Texas Southern, the 6-foot-5 defensive end collected a franchise-record 141.5 career sacks -- fifth most in NFL history. He led the NFL in sacks in 2001 and 2003, setting the single-season record in 2001 with 22.5 sacks. (Shout out to Brett Favre.)
He was a seven-time Pro Bowler -- only four Giants have been selected to more Pro Bowls, and all are Hall of Famers (Taylor, Harry Carson, Rosie Brown and Emlen Tunnell). He was named first-team All-Pro four times and the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2001.
Those credentials should make him the first player since John Elway to be elected to the Hall of Fame after winning the Super Bowl in his final game. Running back Jerome Bettis also has a shot at earning the same distinction Saturday.
"Is that even a question if he going to get in? He better get in, or there's going to be some furniture moving," Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora told reporters about Strahan this week in New Orleans. "The way he played year in and year out, longevity, winning the Super Bowl. He's one of the greatest defensive players -- not just defensive ends -- to ever play.
"To this day, I've never seen a guy play the way he played. He was literally beating offensive linemen up. It was truly amazing to see. He's the greatest defensive end I've ever seen play, no question."
Strahan helped the Giants reach two Super Bowls, winning one. And even though Strahan retired after the Giants won it all after the 2007 season, the mere mention of the Giants defense to this day often conjures up an image of ferocious pass-rushers attacking the quarterback. It is a major disappointment whenever the Giants fail to get to the quarterback on a regular basis, like it was this past season, and live up to the reputation that Strahan helped build.
Strahan left his stamp on the Giants organization, which -- as everybody knows -- can never have enough pass-rushers.
But he also left a legacy of how to perform at such a high level and handle New York, which is being carried on by Tuck, Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul and the next generation.
"Early in my career, he really took me under his wing and showed me the ropes -- not only on the field, but off," Tuck said. "[He taught me] how to be successful in a place like New York. For me being from a small town like Kellyton, Ala., it was very different from where I grew up. He understood that I needed to know how to take all this stuff in and still be very successful on the football field.
"Knowing my wishes and my thoughts about what I wanted to do off the field, he gave me some guidelines how to do both and be successful. I have no reluctance to tell him the reason I've been successful in this league is because of his tutelage and his guidance."
Parcells guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories and a 77-49-1 regular-season record from 1983-90. While he went on to coach the Patriots, Jets and Cowboys and became the first coach to lead four different teams to the playoffs, Parcells helped change the culture of the Giants organization.
He also left an impression on an assistant coach who went on to guide the Giants to two more Super Bowl wins.
"Bill Parcells is a great football coach," said Tom Coughlin, who was an assistant under Parcells from 1988-1990, to Giants.com. "He has tremendous instincts. He has the ability to say the right thing at the right time, always did. He was a guy who set a very, very high standard and then held players to it."
Even though Coughlin and his team bitterly failed to defend their title this season, the Giants franchise should still have a big Super Bowl weekend with two faces from the past earning invitations to Canton.
"It's about time for [Parcells]," said Giants co-owner John Mara, who also called Strahan a "no-brainer," according to the Bergen Record. "It's not easy to get in... but [Parcells] is as deserving as anybody."