Just the Facts: Giants-Cowboys

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This week’s contest against the Giants marks the 27th anniversary of Al Michaels’ foray into prime time NFL broadcasting. Incidentally, his first ever game was an ABC Monday Night Football contest on 9/8/86 when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants 31-28 in Texas Stadium.

Since 1986, no play-by-play commentator has called more Week 1 Cowboys games than Al Michaels. (’86, ’92, ’93, ’95, ’96, ’07, ’10, ’11, ’12)

Since 1986, Al Michaels has called no other team more in Week 1 than the New York Giants. (’86, ’87, ’88, ’89, ’91, ’95, ’01, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’12). The Dallas Cowboys are second-most.

In Week 1 contests against the Giants with Al Michaels calling the action, the Cowboys are 3-0.

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; NBC announcer Al Michaels talks with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the field before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-33. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With Brooklyn native Al Michaels calling a Giants-Cowboys contest, allegations of anti-Cowboys bias are leveled against the legend of NFL prime time. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Al’s wife, Linda, stays in Jerry and Gene Jones’ box suite during all contests Al Michaels has covered. In Playing to Win by David Magee, Linda Michaels refers to Jerry and Gene as, “gracious hosts.”

The most common rivalry for Al Michaels in a Week 1 matchup is Cowboys-Giants at 5. Cowboys-Redskins and Cowboys-Giants are each tied at 3.

The Cowboys, Redskins, and Packers are the only teams to win on the NFL Kickoff Special, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football, all three contests having featured Al Michaels.

Mile High Stadium, Gillette Stadium, Metlife Stadium, and Sports Authority Field are the only venues to be visited in consecutive Al Michaels Week 1 telecasts.

The most common state for Al Michaels to call a game in Week 1 is New Jersey with 7 appearances. (’88, ’91, ’95, ’06, ’08, ’11, ’12)

When opening a new stadium with Al Michaels as the match’s lead commentator, the home team is 3-3.

If either Eli Manning or Tony Romo win on Sunday night, they will tie Tom Brady for second-most wins in a Week 1 game called by Al Michaels at 3 apiece. Here’s the complete list, including records:

Peyton Manning: 4-2

Tom Brady: 3-0

Brett Favre: 2-1

Tony Romo: 2-2

Eli Manning: 2-2

Troy Aikman: 2-2

Drew Brees: 1-2

Phil Simms: 1-3

Kerry Collins: 0-3

The closest game Al Michaels called in Week 1 was the 1990 San Fransisco-New Orleans game where the 49ers prevailed 13-12.

The biggest blowout Al Michaels called in Week 1 was the 1995 Dallas-New York Giants game where the Cowboys dominated 35-0.

Al Michaels has bore witness to two shutouts in Week 1: the aforementioned 1995 Cowboys-Giants game and 2003’s Tampa Bay-Philadelphia match where the Buccaneers embarrassed the Eagles 17-0 in their stadium’s inaugural game on their owner’s birthday.

9/8 is the most common date for Al Michaels to call a Week 1 game. (’86, ’03, ’05, ’11, ’13)

The biggest point total Al Michaels has witnessed in Week 1 was the 2007 Giants-Cowboys game where both teams combined for 80 points.

Dan Dierdorf has been Al Michaels’ most common Week 1 broadcast partner with 13 games together.

The coach who has appeared in most Week 1 games with Al Michaels doing play-by-play is Mike Shannahan.

The only overtime bout Al Michaels has called in Week 1 was the 2009 Titans-Steelers contest.

Al Michaels has never called a Week 1 game where a rookie quarterback made his debut. However, he has been there for the debut of 5 rookie head coaches: Ray Handley (’91 NYG), Richie Pettitbon (’93 WAS), Mike Martz (’00 Rams), Jim Zorn (’08 WAS), and Jason Garrett (’11 DAL).

The coldest Week 1 game Al Michaels called was the ’98 Patriots-Broncos game with a 50-degree temperature at kickoff. The warmest game he’s called was the ’89 Giants-Redskins game.

On six occasions, the eventual Super Bowl winner has won in Week 1 with Al Michaels: ’92 Cowboys, ’94 49ers, ’95 Cowboys, ’98 Broncos, ’04 Patriots, and ’06 Colts. The ’94 49ers are the only eventual Super Bowl winner to open their season with Al Michaels and close their season with Al Michaels, since ABC Sports broadcasted Super Bowl XXIX.

The ’86 and ’07 Giants share the distinction of being the only teams to lose in a Week 1 game called by Al Michaels but still win the Super Bowl. Incidentally, both Week 1 games were against the Cowboys in Texas Stadium.

This week marks the fifth time that Al Michaels has called both Peyton and Eli Manning’s Opening Day games. Here are the results through 2012:

2006 — Peyton: W; Eli: L

2007 — Peyton: W; Eli: L

2008 — Peyton: L; Eli: W

2012 — Peyton: W; Eli: L

Here’s a look at the best and worst individual performances with Al Michaels in Week 1:

Most touchdown passes — Peyton Manning: 7

Most passing yards — Peyton Manning: 462

Most completions — Ben Roethlisberger: 33

Most interceptions thrown — Jay Cutler: 4

Best passer rating — Brian Griese: 144.3

Worst passer rating — John Fourcade: 17.5

Most rushing yards — Emmitt Smith: 163

Most rushing touchdowns — Emmitt Smith: 4

Most receptions — Jerry Rice: 7

Most receiving yards — Jerry Rice: 169

Most receiving touchdowns — Jerry Rice: 2

Most sacks — Wilber Marshall: 3

Most interceptions — Ronnie Lott: 2

Most field goals — Morten Andersen: 4/4

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