New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Football

Ernie Accorsi

Ernie Accorsi (Football.  Born, Hershey, PA.)  A one-time sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun and Philadelphia Inquirer, Ernie Accorsi guided his career from reporting to public relations to administration to becoming general manager of the Football Giants.  Accorsi was p.r. director of the old Baltimore Colts from 1970-75, spent two years as assistant to the president of the N.F.C., and then returned to the Colts.  He was the g.m. when the Colts drafted John Elway, who shortly thereafter was traded to Denver without Accorsi’s knowledge (or, needless to say, his approval).  Soon, Accorsi was no longer general manager and the Colts were no longer in Baltimore, having moved to Indianapolis.  Accorsi later served as g.m. of the Cleveland Browns (1985-92) and briefly worked for baseball’s Baltimore Orioles before joining the Giants as assistant general manager under George Young in 1994.  Upon Young’s retirement in Jan. 1998, Accorsi became general manager and put together the team that went all the way to the 2001 Super Bowl.  Accorsi also orchestrated perhaps the most famous draft-day trade in Giants history when he acquired Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning Apr. 24, 2004.  He retired as general manager in January 2007, but the team he largely put together won the Super Bowl just over 12 months later. – J.S.

George Adee

George Adee (College football and tennis.  Born, Stonington, CT, Jan. 4, 1874; died, New York, NY, July 31, 1948.)  George Townsend Adee was a star quarterback at Yale (1892-94), making the Whitney-Camp all-America team in 1894.  He served as president of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (now the U.S.T.A.) during and after World War I (1916-20), having earlier held several other offices in the organization.

Ben Agajanian

Ben Agajanian (Pro football.  Born, Santa Ana, CA, Aug. 28, 1919.)  Despite an accident that cost him four toes on his kicking foot in 1940, Benjamin James Agajanian had a remarkable career in which he set several club records (since broken) for the Football Giants.  He came out of the University of New Mexico in 1942 and began a 23-year pro career with the minor-league Hollywood Bears.  Agajanian was with the Giants in 1949 and again from 1954-57.  He scored 295 points and missed only two of 159 extra points (including a then-club record 81 straight, 1955-57).  His 50-yard field goal against Washington on Oct. 13, 1957, set a club record.  Agajanian is one of only two men to play in the A.A.F.C., the N.F.L., and the A.F.L. (linebacker Hardy Brown is the other).

Joe Alexander

Joe Alexander (Pro football.  Born, Silver Creek, NY, Apr. 1, 1898; died, New York, NY, Sept. 12, 1975.)  A center from Syracuse U., Joseph Alexander was the first player ever to sign a contract with the Football Giants.  After playing with Rochester (1921) and Milwaukee (1922) while earning a medical degree, Dr. Alexander opened a practice in New York.  Still a well-known player, he started at center for the first Giants team in 1925 that finished 8-4, was playing coach of the 1926 team, and then centered the 1927 N.F.L. champions before retiring again to pursue his medical career exclusively.  He later opened one of New York’s first tuberculosis clinics.

Snake Ames

Snake Ames (College football.  Born, Chicago, IL, 1868; died, Chicago, IL, Dec. 23, 1931.)  A Princeton fullback (1886-89), Knowlton L. Ames made all-America in 1889.  He scored 730 points in four seasons, mainly on two-point kicks after touchdowns (176) and five-point field goals (26), but also ran for 62 touchdowns at four points each.

Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson (College football.  Born, Elizabeth, NJ, Mar. 31, 1938.)  Bursting on the scene as a sophomore star for Army in 1957, Robert P. Anderson broke Glenn Davis’ 1945 single-season rushing records.  Despite injuries that slowed him as a senior, Anderson finished with 1,887 yards in 355 rushes for his three-year career at West Point (1957-59).  After three years as a paratrooper (101st Airborne) and a Ranger officer, he signed with the Giants in 1963.  He had been the team’s No. 9 choice in the 1960 N.F.L. draft.  Anderson had a dream season in 1957, gaining 983 yards on 153 carries and scoring 14 touchdowns for the Cadets.  He ran for 214 yards in a 39-33 victory over Utah Nov. 9, 1957, with three touchdowns, and gained 145 yards the following week, scoring the winning touchdown against Tulane on a 10-yard run.  Anderson first earned national attention Oct. 12, 1957, with 186 yards rushing against Notre Dame in a 23-21 loss at Philadelphia, Penna.  He scored on an 81-yard run that was the longest scoring run in the series at the time.  His 145 yards against Tulane enabled him to pass Davis’ 944 yards, then the Academy record.  In 1958, Anderson had 564 rushing yards on 126 carries and scored 16 points in the season-ending 22-6 victory over Navy as the Cadets finished 8-0-1.  Both Anderson, for the second straight season, and backfield mate Pete Dawkins were All-America choices.  For the Giants, he was inactive half of the 1963 season and, when activated, appeared in one game and had one rushing attempt (a two-yard loss).  Anderson was released before the 1964 season, his service time having eroded his skills.

Ottis J. Anderson

Ottis J. Anderson (Pro football.  Born, West Palm Beach, FL, Jan. 19, 1957.)  After a seven-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals (1979-86), Ottis Jerome Anderson was traded to the Giants for draft choices Oct. 7, 1986.  The former Miami (Fla.) star running back proved to be a key ingredient for both Giants Super Bowl champions.  On Jan. 25, 1987, he scored the final touchdown against Denver and on Jan. 27, 1991, rushed for 102 yards and was the game’s M.V.P. in the 20-19 win over Buffalo.  Before retiring after the 1992 season, Anderson gained 10,273 yards in 14 N.F.L. seasons (with a 4.0-yard-per-carry average) and scored 81 touchdowns (30 with the Giants).

Troy Archer

Troy Archer (Football.  Born, Glendale, CA, Jan. 16, 1955; died, North Bergen, NJ, June 22, 1979.)  A defensive tackle from Colorado, James Troy Archer was the Giants’ first-round choice in the 1976 N.F.L. draft.  Archer became a starter in the second half of his rookie season and had 70 tackles.  He was voted the Giants’ outstanding rookie by the New York Pro Football Writers and showed continued improvement (as a 14-game starter in 1977, he had 127 tackles), but was killed in an auto crash after his third season.

Jessie Armstead

Jessie Armstead (Pro football.  Born, Dallas, TX, Oct. 26, 1970.)  One of the outstanding linebackers in the N.F.L., Jessie Armstead was an eighth-round draft choice (No. 207 overall) for the Giants in 1993.  A four-year star at Miami (Fla.), Armstead was the Giants’ standout rookie that season and, by 1996, was selected a First-Team All-Pro by Sports Illustrated. Each year from 1997-2000, Armstead was a Pro Bowl pick.  After his superb 1997 season (101 tackles with 33 assists and a 57-yard touchdown on an interception), he was selected to virtually every all-Pro team.  In 1998, he had a career-high five sacks.  Armstead started every game for 5 straight seasons (1996-2000) and had at least 100 total tackles in each of those seasons.  He was a key element at weakside linebacker for the Giants Super Bowl team in 2000.  Due in large measure to salary cap considerations, Armstead was released by the Giants and, in March 2002, signed as a free agent with Washington.

Bill Arnsparger

Bill Arnsparger (Pro football.  Born, Paris, KY, Dec. 16, 1926.)  William Stephen Arnsparger was the only head coach of Football Giants teams to play home games in three different stadiums on a regular basis.  At Yale Bowl in 1974, the Giants were 2-12 in Arnsparger’s first season.  In 1975, the team was based at Shea Stadium and finished 5-9.  Giants Stadium was opened in 1976, and, after an 0-7 start, Arnsparger was succeeded by an assistant, John McVay.  His overall record was 7-28.  Arnsparger, defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Miami (1970-73) before being hired by the Giants Jan. 16, 1974, was credited with the development of the Dolphins’ “No-Name Defense” that won back-to-back Super Bowls (1973-74) and the “53” defense, an early version of the later-standard 3-4 defense.

About This Dictionary

The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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