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Giants’ George Young, Jets’ Winston Hill elected to Hall of Fame

Former Giants GM George Young. (AP Images)

Canton is picking up another Giant and Jet.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday morning that former Giants general manager George Young and Jets offensive lineman Winston Hill will be a part of the massive 20-man class that will be enshrined this year.

Young spent 18 years as the Giants’ general manager, restoring the organization’s status to its original place as an original NFC power.

He took over an organization that had not made the playoffs in 15 years in 1979 and had them back in the postseason by his third year.

Young made numerous moves that helped reverse the fortunes of the Giants franchise, which included drafting Phil Simms in 1979, Lawrence Taylor in 1982, and promoting Bill Parcells to head coach in 1983.

With that foundation, the Giants went on to make the postseason five times, including a pair of Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991.

He’s also responsible for drafting Tiki Barber, Rodney Hampton, and Joe Morris, — the franchise’s top-three rushers — the Giants’ all-time receiving leader, Amani Toomer, alongside other greats like Michael Strahan, Leonard Marshall, Mark Bavaro, and Carl Banks.

Young was named NFL Executive of the Year four times during his tenure before retiring in 1998. He passed away in 2002.

“George is certainly very deserving of being in the Hall of Fame,” Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said. “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. He certainly is a very deserving Hall of Famer. Again, I only wish he could be around to enjoy this moment. It’s long overdue. All of us here are very happy that at long last he will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.”

As for Hill, the offensive lineman joins the select class of Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Curtis Martin, and Kevin Mawae as Hall of Famers who spent a majority of their playing career with the Jets.

Winston Hill of the New York Jets is shown, July 17, 1972. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm)

Hill is one of the most accomplished players in franchise history, boasting four AFL All-Star Game nods and four NFL Pro Bowl selections.

He’s also the Jets’ iron man, holding the franchise record for most consecutive games played in by an offensive lineman at 195 from 1963-1976. That’s an incredible achievement considering he broke his leg during a 1965 preseason game and had his throat stepped on in 1974.

Hill’s greatest claim to fame, though, was his presence on the famous Super Bowl III-winning team that upset the Baltimore Colts in 1969. Behind his offensive line, the Jets rushed for 142 yards in their only championship triumph.

“I am beyond thrilled that Winston will join football’s immortals in Canton,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said. “Winston was a generational talent who became our greatest pillar along the offense line. He was a durable champion who was blessed with an uncommon humility. Loved by his teammates, Winston was a towering figure inside the locker room and his presence is forever lasting.”

Joe Pantorno