Greatest lineback in Giants history? Easy answer… Lawrence Taylor. But let’s ask a deeper question… Who was the heart and soul of that Giants dominating linebacker core and defense? Most wouldn’t know. The answer is also easy though, Carl Banks.
Growing up in Michigan, Flint no less, is not an easy task. A factory town with hard knocks. Carl Banks has been a standout football player since he was a star player at Beecher High in Flint, went on to star at Michigan State and then was drafted by the New York Giants in 1984, 3rd overall.
Carl Banks was the leader. In the locker room and on the field. He was glue and the nucleus of the Giants Super Bowl defenses in 1986-87 and 1990-91 seasons. Along with Taylor, Pepper Johnson and Gary Reasons, Banks was part of the greatest core of linebackers in New York Giants history. While he only had a career high of 9 sacks in 1987, same season he made the Pro Bowl, he was more than any stat. Sure he had seasons with over a 100+ tackles, stats didn’t define who he was as a player or as a man.
Banks is now and will always be one of the most beloved players in New York history. Giants fans will always be thankful for his years of service. Most players go to a division rival and are no longer a positive memory for fans. But he is one of only two New York Giants players that can be remembered for moving on to a division rival (the Redskins, for both players) and still be loved in NY. The other being Jesse Armstead.
For the stats lover… how about a career with 826 tackles, 39.5 sacks and 3 interceptions, one of which was run in for his only career touchdown in 1988. Member of the NFL 1980’s All-Decade team. And in September he will become a member of the Michigan Hall of Fame.
Sports icons are discovered on the field. Carl Banks is one off the field as well. He is still with the New York Giants as a radio announcer. He will always be an ambassador for the franchise. He is one of the greatest Giants of all-time.