Doug the ‘Riesen' for OL's Super success

"Good day, Mr. Barton." It sounds as if it could be a movie title from the 1940s, but instead it's one of the memorable lines from Doug Riesenberg's personal '90 Show. "Good day, Mr. Barton" is what Riesenberg, the Giants' fourth-year right tackle, heard when he dialed the front desk or room service at the Hyatt Regency Westshore in Tampa in the last week of January, 1991.

The Giants, it turned out, were surprise, last-minute guests at the NFC Super Bowl hotel after canceling the 49ers' reservations with a 15-13 victory in the championship game. The result stunned not only the Niners, who were seeking a threepeat, but the staff at the Hyatt, who were preparing for the arrival of a dynasty.

"Bill Parcells told us to pack two bags," Riesenberg, now 40, remembers from his home in Corvallis, Ore., "one for San Francisco and one for a week in Tampa. We landed in Tampa in the middle of the night. I got to eat off [49ers tackle] Harris Barton's tab for a couple of days."

GM George Young and some astute members of the front office played a key role in getting the team from San Francisco to Tampa quickly and out onto the field, giving the Giants an initial edge over their first-time opponents.

"It was like in training camp. [Parcells] ran us hard and we had a full-contact practice," Riesenberg says of the first day in Tampa. "The Bills were having a parade that day."

Riesenberg vividly remembers Mark Ingram's incredible, pinball-like 14-yard reception on a third-and-13, but he says much of what transpired during the Giants' 20-19 victory over Buffalo "was a blur. With all that was going on in the world, it was just a blur."

But as the Bills were racing down the field in the final moments, Riesenberg could see the doom clearly. "I'm on the sidelines thinking, ‘It's over. We're done. We had a great season.' When [Scott Norwood] lined up to kick it, I was not even watching, really."

Riesenberg remembers the Giants' 1990 champions for their great leadership, from Parcells, to a staff that included a coaching Who's Who in Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Ron Erhardt, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis and Al Groh, to Lawrence Taylor on the defense and Phil Simms on the offense.

"It was definitely the mastermind of Parcells," Riesenberg said. "The seven of us linemen would be in our dark little [film] room and he'd be up in his office, scheming. We trusted him to put us in the right spot. Things started rolling. We won all those games in a row [9-0 to start the season] and it fed on itself. It snowballed.

"Parcells told us if we rushed for 100 yards, we were going to win the game," he continued. "LT was the leader on defense, and he would come up with numbers. ‘We've got to score nine points and we'll win the game,' or ‘we've got to score 12.' Simms was the smartest, coolest, calmest customer. I'd line up with Phil any day. No matter what happened [adversely], whatever we needed, that's what he did, and you just had to believe."

Riesenberg, a sixth-round pick out of Cal in 1987, was the lowest-drafted regular on the Giants' offensive line. Center Bart Oates was a refugee from the USFL, guards William Roberts and Eric Moore were first-rounders, tackle Jumbo Elliott a No. 2 and guard Bob Kratch a No. 3. But none of those players was more integral to the Giants' success in 1990 than Riesenberg, who keyed the team's strong-side-right running attack to a 2,049-yard season and went head-to-head with the likes of Reggie White and Charles Mann.

He stayed with the Giants through the end of the 1995 season, missing just one game from 1988-95, before finishing his career with the Buccaneers in 1996.

Riesenberg recently completed his studies at Oregon State, where he earned degrees in electrical engineering and education.

"I'd like to do either," said the father of three (daughters Ruby, 16, Riley, 12 and son Henry, 8). "I'd love to teach high school math and maybe do a little coaching on the side."

The Giants Beat Top Stories