Born: December 9, 1976
Town: Fair Lawn
James Finn Jr. was born December 9, 1976 in Teaneck and grew up in Fair Lawn. Strong and agile, he became a wrestling champion after enrolling at Bergen Catholic High School and a two-way star for the Crusaders football team. Bergen Catholic won state titles in wrestling in Jim’s sophomore and junior years, and he earned All-State honors at 189 pounds as a senior. As a sophomore, Jim was a member of the state champion football team that defeated Paramus Catholic in an epic title game, 44–34. He was also All-State in football.
A bit small at 6’ and a step slow, Jim was not offered a football scholarship by a D1 school. He was an excellent student so after being admitted to the University of Pennsylvania, he earned the starting fullback job as a freshman. Jim was Penn’s go-to runner for four years. He amassed 2,277 rushing yards and scored 30 touchdowns. He set several school records as a senior and earned All-Ivy honors for the second year in a row. He was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 1998. The Quakers went 6–1 and won the league championship.
Jim was the last player drafted in 1998, by the Chicago Bears, but did not make the team. He played the next three years for the Colts as a blocking back and special teams player. In 2003, Jim came home, signing a deal with the Giants. He spent four years as a blocking fullback and special teams player, and caught an occasional pass out of the backfield. He was just one of two players to catch a pass from both Manning brothers. Jim’s biggest play in his first year was a 27-yard catch in overtime that set up Matt Bryant’s game-winning field goal against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles.
Jim’s job was to blast open holes for Tiki Barber, and this he did with great effectiveness. In 2005, he started 13 games and helped Barber roll up a team-record 1,860 yards. Barber had three 200-yard games that season in wins against the Redskins, Chiefs and Raiders. An injury kept Jim off the field in 2007, when the Giants made their improbable run to a Super Bowl victory. Madison Hedgecock stepped into his role and did it well enough the Jim did not make the team when he returned in 2008 and later retired from pro football.
Jim was married to Rosa Blasi, an actress who stars in the long-running kids show The Thundermans. Their marriage ended in 2008. In 2011, Jim joined a lawsuit against Toradol, an anti-inflammatory drug that masked the pain of concussions. That same year, Blasi published a book entitled Jock Itch: The Misadventures of a Retired Jersey Chaser, which revealed personal problems in her marriage to Jim. Among the secrets she revealed was that her husband had slept with her best friend…on their wedding day.