New York Giants, NFL
- Super Bowl XXII Champion with the Giants and the George Halas Award winner as the NFL comeback player of the year (1988)
- 2x first-team All-Big Eight and an All-American selection at ISU (1982)
- Rueben J. Miller Award and Arthur Floyd Scott Award winner as the best offensive lineman at ISU
- Inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame (2005)
- Published his book “Life on the Line” chronicling his football career and his battle with Hodgkin’s disease (1993)
Karl Nelson played offensive tackle for the New York Giants from 1983 to 1989. Drafted in the third round of the 1983 NFL Draft, Karl made an impact on the Giants almost immediately. In only his second season in the League, Karl found himself in the starting lineup for 55 games straight between 1984 and 1986. In 1986, Karl led the Giants with 111 key blocks and helped the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Led by quarterback Phil Simms, Karl and the Giants went on to beat the Denver Broncos and become Super Bowl XXI Champions. Soon after the end of that championship season, Karl was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, forcing him to take a temporary break from competitive play. Following a year of recovery and physical rehabilitation, Karl returned to the field as a starter for the 1988 season. When it was discovered later that year that the cancer had returned, Karl was forced to retire and once again focus on his health. However, he once again fought the disease and quickly became an inspiration for anyone who knew him. That year, the NFL honored him with the George Halas Award as the comeback player of the year.
Prior to his professional career, Karl played college football at Iowa State University from 1979 to 1982. During his time at Iowa State, Karl was a two-time first-team All-Big Eight pick and an All-American selection in 1982. After his senior season, Karl won Iowa State’s Rueben J. Miller Award and the Arthur Floyd Scott Award for the best offensive lineman. In 1989, Karl was the only Cyclone to earn a first-team spot on the AP Big Eight All-Decade Team for the 1980s. He was inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 1993, Karl published his first book called “Life on the Line,” a story that chronicles his football career and his battle with Hodgkin’s disease. Karl has also spent some time as a commentator on Giants radio broadcasts. Following his career as a color commentator, Karl pursued a career as a financial professional at Gitterman and Sacks, LLC. He previously worked at The NIA Group for 13 years where he helped them develop their retirement plan.