The Giants Need to Retire Harry Carson’s Number

By Michael Stewart

This NFL season, I will feature a weekly article on past New York Giant greats. This week, I will discuss the career of one the best LBers in his generation and certainly of the New York Giants. If you were fortunate enough watch Harry Carson play as I was, you would certainly agree that all of his accomplishments were earned and deserving.

With that being said; I am still puzzled and bewildered why number #53 has not yet been retired and placed among the other Giant greats of years past.

Harry Carson played 13 seasons in the NFL (all with the New York Giants) which included 9 Pro Bowl appearances/2 time 1st team All-Pro/4 time 2nd team All-Pro/Super Bowl Champion/New York Giants Ring of Honor and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All these achievements and still the New York Giants have not retired his number. Here’s a list of New York Giant players who have had their jerseys retired by the organization:

Ray Flaherty (OL/DL)/Tuffy Leemans (HB/FB)/Mel Hein (OC/LB)/Phil Simms (QB)/Ward Cuff (HB/DB)/Y.A Tittle (QB)/Frank Gifford (HB)/Al Blozis (OL/DL)/Joe Morrison (HB/FB) Charlie Conerly (QB)/Ken Strong (FB/HB) and Lawrence Taylor (LB). All of these former Giants are worthy of this honor and so should Harry Carson be as well.

Harry Carson was drafted by the New York Giants in the 1976 NFL draft as a 4th round selection out of South Carolina State.  Former Giants linebacker coach Marty Schottenheimer was the main catalyst for drafting Carson as he envisioned him as an MLB instead of a DE; which Carson played throughout his college career.

Carson was everything that Schottenheimer had hoped him to be at the MLB position and along with Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelly formed a very imposing LB group in the mid to late 70’s on some bad Giant football teams.  Former Giants Defense Coordinator during most of Carson’s playing days with the Giants was Bill Belichick, who has stated on many occasions that Harry Carson was the best all-around LBer he has ever coached.

Harry Carson retired after the 1988 season and since that time, many players have worn his number 53 (most recently Jasper Brinkley). This seems to be a slam dunk for the Giants organization to retire number 53, however; for some unknown reason they have not. I think it’s about time that the Mara family make this a priority and give Harry Carson the respect and honor that he deserves.