Best Player In Nfl History

Jim Suit

Because he was just and injury-prone, Jim Burt was completely bypassed in the 1981 draft and signed with the Giants as a free agent, where he came under the influence of new defensive coordinator Bill Parcells. During a game in his rookie season, Burt was so upset at not getting in the defensive-line rotation that he gave Parcells a forearm to the back, knocking the coach onto the field. The two would have a love-hate relationship that extended beyond the eight years they spent together in New York. Burt’s teammates saw the two as so similar in temperament that they referred to Burt as “Parcells Jr.”

Burt was an emotional player who put forth maximum effort at all times and loved practical jokes and tall tales. Parcells said of Burt that he “runs two quarts low,” and the coach used him as a whipping boy for severe criticism aimed indirectly at the overall team. In an attempt to even the score with the acerbic Parcells in 1984, Burt dumped a Gatorade container over his coach’s head after a victory. That practice became a signature of the 1986 Giants during their Super Bowl run; it has since become part of football victory celebrations everywhere.

During his career, Burt developed back problems that led to his departure from New York. Although they re-signed him in the spring of 1989, the Giants got nervous about Burt’s back and forced him to announce his retirement before training camp that year. Parcells said at the time: “He’s one of the very, very best players I have been fortunate enough to coach. We have a very special relationship, not only as a player-coach, but personally. This is a very sad time for me. A little of my heart and soul is going. I love the guy.” General manager George Young added that he “didn’t want to see Jim Burt in a wheelchair.”

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In October of 1989, though, Burt signed with the 49ers, just three years after he drilled Joe Montana out of the playoffs. Before the two teams met that season, Burt referred to his ex-coach when he said he would be looking for “a fat guy with headphones on” to barrel over. He spent two years with San Francisco as a backup and won his second Super Bowl ring a year before his former Giants teammates won theirs. Preparing for that Super Bowl as a 49er, Burt told Frank Litsky of The New York Times, “The Giants? That was my life. My heart was broken. They made a business decision. I didn’t look at it that way. I should have.” back in midseason from back surgery, had a concussion and was done for the day and so were the 49ers. After the game, Burt said of the devastating hit, “It was clean, but I don’t feel good about it.”

In the third quarter, Simms threw two more touchdown passes and Joe Morris ran for a second score, while backup quarterback Jeff Kemp was able to do nothing for the Niners. By the end of the game, the Giants had accumulated 216 yards rushing and had controlled the clock for over 34 minutes. The defense picked off three passes, gobbled up a fumble, and limited San Francisco to just 29 yards rushing.

The worst thing about the game for Parcells was finding flaws to fire up his troops for the following week’s conference championship game against the Redskins. Ever the motivator, Parcells greeted his linemen the day after the game with: “My quarterback took too many shots to the mouth.” The Giants would thrash the Redskins 17-0 to advance to the Super Bowl.

Defensive tackle Jim Burt’s hit on Joe Montana led to a Lawrence Taylor interception and a concussion for the 49ers quarterback in the Giants 49-3 playoff victory. (Photo courtesy of WireImages)

Best Player In Nfl History

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