A familiar figure on the offensive line, four-time Pro Bowl selection Wietecha, retired after a decade of service, and Greg Larson took over his job at center. Other new faces included third-string quarterback Glynn Griffing (who would spend just a single season in the NFL), linebacker Jerry Hillebrand, and tackles Lane Howell and Lou Kirouac. There was nothing new about the face of Hall of Fame bound Hugh McElhenny, who put on a Giants uniform for the first time in 1963 after 11 years as a star fullback with San Francisco and Minnesota. McElhenny stayed with the Giants for just a single season, and of the 12 new players on the Giants' roster in 1963, only Hulebrand and John Lo Vetere spent more than two seasons with the team.
But the brightest of the stellar attractions would be the come-from-behind quarterback himself, who had to rescue the 1963 season with yet another miracle finish. Although Tittle threw three touchdown passes for a 37-28 victory in the season opener against the Baltimore Colts, his ribs were injured in the third quarter, and he was forced to spend the rest of the game, and the entire next game as well, on the sideline. Reserve quarterbacks Gugliemi and Griffing were of little help in game 2, a 31-0 drubbing of the Giants at Pittsburgh. Fortunately for New York, Tittle recovered in time for the third game of the season.
The Giants' home opener, perennially delayed by Yankee Stadium's baseball tenant, was the first critical game of the season. Jim Brown and the undefeated Cleveland team kept the Browns' perfect record intact and increased Cleveland's Eastern Conference lead over the Giants to two games with a 35-24 victory. With nine games remaining in the 1963 schedule, New York's 3-2 record did not seem particularly hopeful.
During the next five games, however, Tittle shifted the Giants' offense into overdrive, averaging an astounding 39.6 points per game. The sweetest of the victories was a 33-6 shellacking of the Browns in the face of 84,000 stunned Cleveland spectators. Before a frustrated Jim Brown was ejected late in the 4th quarter for fighting with a New York defender, he had been held to a mere 40 yards rushing.
Of the final 9 games in the 1963, season, the Giants lost only one: A 24-17 defeat by the St. Louis Cardinals in a game played at Yankee Stadium a few days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. (Commissioner Pete Rozelle received broad criticism from many quarters allowing the regular schedule to proceed on that bleak Sunday, for it had been set aside as a national day of mourning.) New York closed out the season with big wins over the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Giants captured their third consecutive Eastern Conference crown on the final Sunday of the season to finish 11-3-0. one game ahead of the Browns.
Throughout the autumn of 1963, the air above Giants football games virtually hummed with forward passes. The team has amassed 3,558 total passing yards, a mere 47 shy of the Baltimore Colts, who were led by Johnny Unitas. More importantly, Tittle led the NFL with 36 touchdown tosses, breaking his one-yard-old single-season of 33. But New York's passing game was to be severely tested by the league's acknowledged defensive leader: The Chicago Bears.