Best Of

Best New York pro-football player


Easy pick here: Tiki Barber. He’s so slick and fast, and his fumbles are really down. . . . What? He retired? OK, next-best player is certain Hall of Famer Curtis Martin. Oh, he’s gone too? Well, that leaves, hmmm—is Frank Gifford still playing? 2007 will be remembered as the year that two of the best players ever to don New York uniforms and hit the New Jersey gridiron (which the city’s teams have the balls to call home) hung ’em up. What’s been left by their departures is a void of football heroes. At six-foot-five and a muscular 250 pounds, with surprisingly good hands and quick feet, Jeremy Shockey should be a rock-solid lock to be the best tight end in the league and the best player in New York. Instead, half the time he plays like he has solid rocks in his head. The Jets’ big off-season acquisition, running back Thomas Jones, is up and down. Brandon Jacobs started his post-Tiki career by promptly getting hurt in the first game. (If Tiki wasn’t big and rugged enough, maybe Jacobs is too big—as in “target.”) The Jets’ injury-prone QB, Chad Pennington, is all heart and no arm. The receivers on both teams are either past their prime or were sub-prime to begin with. And when it comes to the Giants’ and Jets’ defense, the only thing worth talking about is which one is worse. So that leaves the best player in New York as the winner by default: Peyton Manning’s little brother has shown early signs of putting up statistics commensurate with the decision that the Giants made a few years ago in the draft, when they essentially bet the franchise on him. To the disappointment of the out-for-blood, player-hating Giants fans, little bro came back and played well in the second game of the season despite a shoulder injury. But while the Giants’ signal caller may finally be starting to establish himself as the best New York footballer, it remains to be seen whether he’ll ever be known as anything more than “Peyton Manning’s little brother.”