Former Giants GM Young, Jets Great Hill Elected To Hall Of Fame

13 New Canton-Bound Members Revealed Wednesday

Ryan Chatelain
January 15, 2020 - 10:20 am

George Young, the general manager who turned the moribund Giants into two-time Super Bowl champions in the 1980s and '90s, will be enshrined in Canton.

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The late executive is among the 15 new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame elected by a one-time blue-ribbon panel convened as part of the NFL's centennial celebration. Former Jets offensive lineman Winston Hill was also chosen.

A five-time NFL Executive of the Year, Young worked in the front offices of the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins before being hired in 1979 by the Giants, whom he ran for 19 seasons. He drafted Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Morris and Carl Banks and hired Bill Parcells as head coach, moves the propelled Big Blue to world championships in 1986 and 1991.

Before Young's arrival, the Giants had not reached the playoffs in 15 years.

"George is certainly very deserving of being in the Hall of Fame," Giants co-owner and team president John Mara told Wednesday. "My only regret is that he's not around to enjoy this. He took our organization from being in last place and not having a lot of respect around the league, to being a Super Bowl Champion. He made every football department in our organization more professional. He changed the reputation and level of respect that our team had for the better. He improved us in so many different ways."

After leaving the Giants in December 1997, Young served as the NFL's senior vice president of football operations until 2001, when he died at the age of 71.

Hill played for the Jets from 1963-76 and was a key member of their Super Bowl III-winning team. He was selected to four AFL All-Star Games and four Pro Bowls.

Hill holds the team records for most consecutive games played (195) and most consecutive starts (174) made by an offensive lineman, despite breaking a leg in the 1965 preseason and having his throat stepped on in 1974. He was inducted into the Jets' inaugural Ring of Honor in 2010.

Hill, who died in 2016 at the age of 74, was an 11th-round draft pick by the NFL's Baltimore Colts in 1963. A day after the Colts cut him in August 1963, he signed with the AFL Jets. In New York, he helped protect Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath and pave the way for star running backs Matt Snell, Emerson Boozer and John Riggins.

"You could not meet a nicer person off the field," Boozer told the Jets' website just after Hill died. "But on the field? Winnie was vicious."

Hill played the final season of his career in 1977 for the Los Angeles Rams.

Over the weekend, the Hall of Fame announced coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson have been elected, also part of the special centennial class. Other new members announced Wednesday are:

• Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
• Steve Sabol, who was the president and a founder of NFL Films
• Cliff Harris, who played safety for the Cowboys
• Ex-Browns receiver Mac Speedie
• Former Steelers safety Donnie Shell
• Duke Slater (Rock Island Independents and Chicago Cardinals), who was one of the NFL's first black players
• Former Bears defensive end/tight end Ed Sprinkle 
• Former Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael
• Ex-Bears offensive tackle Jim Covert
• Former Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, who went on to become a well-known actor
• Ex-Packers defensive back Bobby Dillon

The NFL's modern-era Hall of Fame class will be announced Feb. 1.