Harry Carson: Why Hall voters shouldn't forget George Young

Hall-of-Fame linebacker Harry Carson explains why former Giants' GM George Young belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Former Giants' general manager George Young was not named the contributor candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. Bobby Beathard was. But that doesn’t mean Young isn’t deserving of Canton.

Because he is.

A five-time NFL Executive of the Year, Young did for the New York Giants in the 1980s what Ron Wolf did for the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s – namely, fix them – and Wolf was one of two choices for the Hall’s inaugural class of contributors in 2015.

Including Beathard, there have been six contributor nominees for Canton, and while Young hasn't been one of them he is nearing the finish line – with 2019, when the Hall has two contributor nominees, a real possibility.

From Hall-of-Fame linebacker Harry Carson’s vantage point, that can’t happen soon enough. While he wasn’t drafted by Young, Carson was there when the Giants' GM transformed the club from a lifeless franchise that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 18 years to a powerhouse that won two Super Bowls on his watch and has won two more since.

He’s the guy who brokered piece between two warring owners, Wellington and Tim Mara. He’s the guy who made Phil Simms his first draft choice. He’s the guy who drafted Lawrence Taylor … and Joe Morris … and Carl Banks … and Leonard Marshall, Mark Bavaro and Jeff Hostetler. And he’s the guy who hired Bill Parcells ... then kept him after the Giants were 3-12-1 in 1983.

(Harry Carson photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

“Georg was willing to work through the situation and give Parcells another opportunity to do things his way, and the rest is history," Carson said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. "You look at personnel, and who brought it in and what happened during the ‘80s ... and even now. If somebody in heaven asked him, ‘Do you think that you should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?,' he’d probably would say,’ I don’t need that to validate me.’ But the reality is: I think that he does.

“He does warrant at least very serious consideration for being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he was a quality individual, he made really good choices in terms of the Giants organization, and I think he’s responsible for at least two championships that the New York Football Giants have had.”

That, of course, is where it gets sticky. Because Young’s critics will charge that it was Parcells, not Young, behind the success of the Giants. Yet it was Young who chose Parcells after Ray Perkins left for the University of Alabama … and it was Young who stuck by Parcells … and it was Young who not only fixed a broken franchise but kept it on track through the end of his tenure, with the Giants winning a division championship in his last year (1996) on the job.

“I certainly was never in the room when they were discussing draft picks and how to build the team,” said Carson. “But if he’s the guy at the top who’s responsible for bringing in the personnel and changing, really, the culture of the team … (then) George deserves a tremendous amount of credit. Because it wasn’t just Bill Parcells.

“In terms of personnel being brought in and being able to keep good players and work trades that worked out for the organization … that’s all George Young as far as I'm concerned. And he deserves quite a bit of credit.

“He didn’t go out and do a lot of press conferences and all that stuff. He was quiet behind the scenes. He was just a quality individual. I enjoyed my experience working with him. He was a man of his word, and he cared about you as a person, not necessarily solely as a football player. He was certainly good for the game, and I think he was very good for the NFL and, obviously, good for the New York Football Giants.”