In 1985 the New York Giants were poised to go deep into the NFC Playoffs. They had a top defense and a running game in the classic smash mouth-style of the day that made them a difficult team to beat.
In Week 9, the 5-3 Giants played host to Leeman Bennett’s 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team headed nowhere fast. As happened many times in the Bill Parcells era, the Giants found themselves down early to an inferior team thanks to Parcells’ conservative approach on offense.
The Bucs led the game at the half, 13-6, which wasn’t unusual. They had led at the half in four their first eight games and lost them all. This time, it looked as if they might hold on and finally win one as the Giants’ offense wasn’t bringing it. Quarterback Phil Simms was not particularly sharp on the day and was under pressure quite a bit, getting sacks for times.
Even though the Bucs’ defense did the job, holding the Giants to field goals on five drives, they weren’t able to pull of the upset over the Giants, who were 12-point favorites in the game. That is because the Giants’ kicker in that game, Eric Schubert, made all five of his field goal tries to lift the Giants to a 22-20 win.
Schubert was signed two days before after Parcells cut kicker Jess Atkinson. Schubert had been coaching a high school team in New Jersey when he got the call.
“Last week, I was coaching and watching the (Giants’) game on TV,” Schubert said after the game. “Today, I was on TV.”
Schubert had spent time with the Giants that summer in training camp and even kicked the game-winning field goal over the Jets in the preseason, but was cut at the deadline in favor Ali Haji-Sheikh.
Haji-Sheikh went on IR after injuring his hamstring in Week 2 against Green Bay and Atkinson was brought in to spell him, which he did for six games.
Atkinson was released to make room for cornerback Mark Haynes and Haji-Sheikh was also supposed to return but was deemed not ready. Atkinson was claimed by the Rams, sending the Giants in a lurch for a kicker. Enter Schubert.
“This is a little comment for all you guys who talk about my field goal kicker,” Parcells said to the media, who questioned his decision to cut Atkinson without confirmation that Haji-Sheikh was ready to return.
Schubert went on to kick for the Giants for the remainder of the season. He made 10 of 13 field goal attempts and 26 of 27 point after attempts.
Schubert was not as effective in the postseason however, missing three-of-four field goal attempts in the Giants’ win against San Francisco in the wildcard game. He missed his only field goal attempt in the divisional round loss to the Bears in Chicago the next week.
In 1986, Schubert was not re-signed by the Giants. He went on to have short stints with the Cardinals and Patriots.