Seven NY Giants players throughout history you hate to love

by Shane Sharkey | Contributor

Throughout Giants history, Big Blue has had some great teams and some great players. That also means  that over the years there has been pockets of really bad teams with sorry players.  

Below you will find a short list of New York Giants players you just hate to love.

1. Plaxico Burress: Plaxico gave the Giants instant credibility and a safety blanket for a young Eli Manning.  Just chuck that sucker up and Plax will come down with it.  However, he resisted everything Coughlin stood for which made it easier to hate him once he shot himself in the leg.   

From that moment in time every fan learned how many chances No. 17 truly got from a very patient Giants front office. The NFC Championship game against Green Bay was a masterful, once in a lifetime ass kicking.  When the ball perfectly dropped into his hands to win the Super Bowl your thoughts flooded with future domination.  

2. Tiki Barber: I had never seen a Giants player get better with age until Tiki Barber.   I also remember when the true personality of this player showed up.   The Giants got blown up by the Carolina Panthers and Tiki Barber could do nothing but run his mouth.  

While he was right, Tom Coughlin did get out coached, you don’t expect that from your star player.  As an encore a few years later he started a “war of words” with Michael Strahan over his future contract, then retired in mid-season, and left his pregnant wife for an intern.   Barber went from King of New York to jester faster than anyone ever has.  

He was a delight to watch when he had the ball, for no one in Giants blue ever had more patience than Tiki Barber. Yet his mouth ruined it for everyone.

3. Kerry Collins: Quarterbacks for the most part only feel the wrath of their fans from their play on the field.   Kerry Collins was different.   He had plenty of talent and a big arm, yet his early career was marked with stupidity off the field. 

His early success with the expansion Carolina Panthers created reckless abandonment and showed the player as a loose cannon…until he got to the Giants.  In 5 season and almost 17,000 yards of passing Kerry Collins was tremendous, making Amani Toomer a house hold name.  

And when you wanted the player to stand up and say something for a change…he took the high road and let the Giants cut him for Kurt Warner, who never could play in New York.   He would have been a great mentor for Eli Manning.

4. Jeremy Shockey: Hands down the best tight end in Giants history.    That is no disrespect to Mark Bavaro, however, Shockey could do it all.  He was fast, strong and could make plays all over the field.  Very few Tight Ends could make down field plays with the ball in their hands like Shockey.

He also never seemed happy.  Over the years you expected him to pop off about something, yet, deep down inside the fans never understood why he was pissed off all the time.   Shockey was so cool, you either loved him or hated him.  The ink, the long hair and energy level was awesome.    However, being loud sheds a huge spotlight on you.

He would never practice with the team in the off-season and he always made Eli nuts with his on the field body language.  Did Eli suck from 2004-2006…yes, yes he did.  Shockey was a mega star, he could have found a way to befriend Eli and retire one of the most electrifying players to ever wear a Giants jersey.

5. Antrel Rolle: The defensive captain really grew to be a true Giant.  Rolle never missed a game in the five years and made countless great plays for the Giants.   He started off a bit rough battling with head coach Tom Coughlin on numerous points.   But that all changed in season three.

Even though Antrel was great for a sound bite or an interview; once he bought into the Coughlin system he became a fan favorite.  Rolle was still talking on his way out, sourcing God as the reason he left New York for Chicago.  That was lame.   He should have signed a deal to go out on top as a Giant.

6. Mario Manningham:   Manningham was the best No. 3 receiver the Giant ever had, but he never seemed secure with his place on the team.   He made spectacular catches that could dazzled you; however, he dropped too many that hit him in the numbers.

Manningham and Eli proceeded to pull off the best “pass and catch” of the playoffs to beat the Patriots in the 2011 Super Bowl, prompting Manningham to ride out-of-town with his ring to sign with the 49ers.  Sadly, the receiver tore his ACL and PCL and basically ended his career.

7. Hakeem Nicks: The first round draft pick out of North Carolina had amazingly huge hands for a wide receiver.   His personality was perfect for the big Apple and he hit the ground running instantly becoming a major weapon for Eli Manning  with back to back 1000 yard seasons (2010 & 2011).  

During the 2011 Super Bowl run Nicks was the hottest player on the field.  In the NFC Championship Game, Nicks hauled in 7 catches for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 37-yard Hail Mary reception.  In Super Bowl…Nicks was the leading receiver with 10 receptions for 109 yards.  A star was born!

Then No. 88 got nicked up, again and again and again.   He sprained his foot, broke a toe and suffered a compartment syndrome injury in his leg all with in two years.  

The next year, Nicks sprained and broke his foot, derailing his 2012 season.  During the 2013 season Nicks never scored a touchdown despite having numerous opportunities.  It seems his legs failed him or the lack of conditioning caught up to him.  

His relationship with the front office seemed to get very cold, forcing his way out of the organization.