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Happy Birthday: Amani Toomer

Happy 44th birthday to Super Bowl Champion Amani Toomer.

As the New York Giants’ current franchise record holder in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, it is clear Toomer has been one of the most impactful players in franchise history. With his today being his birthday, it would only be right to look back at his journey to the NFL, his 13 years in the NFL, and his career post-NFL.

High School/College Career

Amani Toomer
Amani Toomer (18) repping his De La Salle High School Uniform. (Photo via

Born in Berkeley, California, Toomer began his Pee-Wee Football career as a lineman, although over the years transitioned to skill positions like receiver and running back. Toomer would attend De La Salle High School in Concord, California, which has since produced NFL talents such as Maurice Jones-Drew (Class of 2003), Kevin Simon (Class of 2001), TJ Ward (Class of 2004) and many more.

As a senior in 1991, Toomer captained his team, and was named a USA Today and Parade All-American. He would decide to attend the University of Michigan in 1992, despite his father attending and playing football at Michigan’s rival school, Ohio State. Toomer would stay all four years at Michigan, amassing 138 receptions for 2522 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season. He would earn All-Big Ten honors as a junior and senior and would be a major impact player in their win over number tenth ranked Colorado State in the Holiday Bowl in 1994.

NFL Career

Toomer would be selected in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft by the New York Giants. His rookie season would be cut short due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), although prior to the injury, Toomer was making a major impact on special teams, as he was leading the NFL in average yards per punt return (16.1). Toomer would remain a return specialist through 1998, as he saw just 100 targets in his first three seasons compared to 115 kick and punt returns.

Amani Toomer
Amari Cooper (81) of the New York Giants looks for a pass during a game against the New Orleans Saints in 2001. (Photo by Getty Images)

1999 would be Toomer’s breakout campaign, as the then 25-year-old would more than double his career target share, earning 137 targets that season. He would turn said targets into 79 receptions, 1183 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Toomer would continue his success the following season, as the Giants would finish with a 12-4 record, while Toomer lead the team in targets (124), receptions (78), and receiving yards (1094). Unfortunately for Toomer, the Giants would go on to lose the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens that season. In three postseason games in 2000, Toomer would have 10 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown.

From 1999-2003, Toomer’s average production over a full season came out to 138 targets, 75 receptions, 1146 yards and six touchdowns. The only wide receivers to have more receptions than Toomer over this span were Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Rod Smith, Jimmy Smith, Torry Holt and Terrell Owens.

The 2004 season would be quite an anomaly for Toomer, as he would fail to score a touchdown despite playing in 15 of the Giants 16 regular season games. His 107 targets and 747 receiving yards would still lead the team, although the Giants would go 6-10 and fall short of making the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

In 2005, the Giants would transition to a new starting quarterback, Eli Manning, and new primary receiver, Plaxico Burress. Toomer would be moved into a tertiary role, as the two primarily targeted Giants’ were Burress and tight end Jeremy Shockey. The Giants would have a successful season, posting an 11-5 record, although they would lose convincingly 23-0 to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Wild Card game.

Amani Toomer
Amani Toomer (81) had six catches for 84 yards in the Giants’ historic win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports)

Toomer began the 2006 season on fire, posting a career-high 12 receptions in week two against the rival Philadelphia Eagles, although his season would again be cut short due to a partially torn ACL. With Toomer in the lineup, the Giants posted a 6-2 record, although without him, they were just 2-6. Head Coach Tom Coughlin stated that “There’s no question Amani has a very positive effect on Eli… [and that] he has a way of being in the right place at the right time”.

In 2007, the Giants would sneak their way into the playoffs with a 10-6 record. Without tight end Jeremy Shockey, who was lost in week 15 to a fractured fibula, Toomer was forced to have an increased role down the stretch. In four playoff games, Toomer would have 21 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns in route to his first ever Super Bowl victory over the then-undefeated New England Patriots.

2008 was Toomer’s final season in the NFL. He would conclude his career as the franchise record holder for most career receiving yards, receptions, receiving touchdowns, and most consecutive games with at least one reception. He would go on to sign a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, although would never suit up for the red and gold, as he was released on the final day of roster cuts.


In 2010, Toomer was inducted into the initial New York Giants Ring of Honor with other legends including owner Tim Mara, head coach Bill Parcells, and players like Sam Huff, Tiki Barber, and Michael Strahan. In total, a combination of 30 owners, coaches and players were inducted.

Amani Toomer
Bloomfield Middle School was rewarded with the grant for their participation in the American Dairy Association North East and NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program which was created to increase student access to nutritious foods and increase physical activity. (Photo via

In 2011, Toomer joined MSG Varsity’s broadcast team. MSG Varsity is a multi-platform suite of services comprised of: an Emmy award-winning 24/7 HD television network, a comprehensive online destination, and a groundbreaking interactive service, dedicated to high school sports, academics and activities happening through the tri-state area.

In 2012, Toomer continued his career in sports media by joining NBC Sports Radio, where he is a co-host with Dan Schwartzman on “Going Deep with Amani & Dan”. On top of radio, Toomer has been seen working with the NFL, assisting with their Play 60 campaign, which encourages children to eat healthier and live a more active lifestyle, and Salute to Service campaign, which is a year round effort to honor, empower, and connect our nations service members and their families. Toomer can be found on Twitter @AmaniAToomer or on Instagram @AToomer81.


Once again, happy birthday to Amani Toomer, and thank you for your contributions on and off the field.

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1 comment

Shirley Freitas November 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Glad to see some appreciation for Amani. I used to see him play at De La Salle, he’s the same age as my son who didn’t go to DLS but we had a friend who did and who played football, Andre Butler. Most people not from that area don’t know it but before the famous 151-game winning streak, DLS had a streak of around 45 wins. They lost a playoff game (sectional, they are called) at the Oakland Coliseum by one touchdown. If not for that, the streak would have been almost 200 games.
Amani was special even on that team.
DLS was a boys’ Catholic school. The bleachers on one side of the field were for DLS fans; divided in half, adults sat on one half, kids on the other. Cheerleaders were from neighboring girls’ Catholic HS, Carondelet. The adult fans rarely made any show of frenzy or emotion for their own sons; the tone in the adult side was always totally egalitarian.
So when the fans chanted Amani’s name, it was a huge thing, and nothing I’d ever heard before or since. In one game the opponent refused to make regular kickoffs; they were afraid of Amani’s returns, so they just squibbed the ball every time. The fans began to scream “Give it to Amani!”
There was a story in the local paper (Contra Costa Times) the day before DLS played the school where Amani’s brother Butch played. Their father was a referee in the PacTen, by the way. The story had the brothers having breakfast without anyone at the table saying a word; until finally Amani looked at Butch and said, “You BETTER eat your Wheaties.”
The story described a game they’d played against each other before. Amani caught a pass and eluded all tacklers; only one opponent remained between him and the end zone: his brother. One parent was in the stands yelling “Go, Amani!” and the other yelled “Get him, Butch!”
He scored.

When we saw him play at DLS we felt we were witnessing a younger Jerry Rice. He was just an amazing talent, and a high character young man too.


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