The 1996 New York Giants season was the franchise’s 72nd season in the National Football League (NFL) and their fourth under head coach Dan Reeves. The team was looking to improve on its 5-11 finish from the year before.
In the 1996 NFL Draft, the Giants selected defensive end Cedric Jones with the fifth overall pick. The Giants’ first game of the season was at home against the Buffalo Bills, and resulted in a 23–20 loss in overtime. After being shut out by the Dallas Cowboys, New York fell to 0–3 with a 31–10 defeat to the Washington Redskins. Against the New York Jets, the Giants earned their first victory of the season; a 15–10 win over the Minnesota Vikings left them with a 2–3 record heading into their bye week. The team then lost four of its next six games. After defeating the Cowboys, the Giants’ record entering December stood at 5–7. They ended the season by losing three of their last four games. With a 6–10 record, the Giants finished in last place in the National Football Conference East Division. After the season, the Giants fired Reeves and hired Jim Fassel as his replacement.
Quarterback Dave Brown started all 16 games for the Giants in 1996, throwing for 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. New York’s leading running back was Rodney Hampton, who had 254 carries for 827 yards. Wide receivers Chris Calloway and Thomas Lewis led the Giants with four touchdowns and 53 receptions each; Calloway had a team-high 739 receiving yards. Defensively, Chad Bratzke and Michael Strahan had the most sacks among Giants players with five apiece, while Jason Sehorn had five interceptions to lead the team.