The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants meet for the 104th time as they kickoff at 3:25 PM CST from Metlife Stadium. FOX will be carrying this game and as of this writing, not sure who will be calling the game but anticipate Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. With both teams having almost equal records (Cowboys 5-5, Giants 4-6), the expectation is that all 82,566 seats will be filled.
The Cowboys and Giants have had some of the best contest between each other even some that have been dubbed, “NFL Classics” such as the game Emmitt Smith played with an injury that almost seemed he was playing with one arm. With having a separated shoulder, he fought through the pain and continued playing only to setup Dallas with a game-winning field goal. To their credit, the Giants have won some big games including a 1981 contest that sent them to the playoffs. Joe Danelo kicked two field goals, one from 40 yards to get them into overtime then the next one to win it as New York went on to the playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants history goes way back further than before the Cowboys even took the field. Tom Landry was drafted by the Giants in 1947 and eventually became a player-coach for the team. Landry’s defensive innovations were molded early as he invented the “4-3 defense”. With the birth of the 4-3 scheme, New York won several NFL championships as they also had another coaching legend on the offensive side of the ball in one, Vince Lombardi, the former Green Bay Packers head coach whose name is emblazed on the Super Bowl trophy. Landry coached the Giants up until he was hired by General Manager Tex Schramm to coach the newly minted Dallas Cowboys.
Fast forward to the 1960 season, the first for the Cowboys as they were learning how to play football that year. I say learning because Dallas didn’t have a draft from the college pool of players that season so they had picked their first roster from players that NFL teams didn’t want. Putting this rag-tag team of players together was no easy task as some were committed while others would barely show up to practice. Salaries were not the same back in those days as the players of yesteryear didn’t make the millions of dollars of today’s players. So the commitment to play on the team wasn’t quite the same either way Landry did his best to find a way to make it work.
The Cowboys and Giants played that first game in historic Yankee stadium in chilly 42 degree weather. At that time, there not many big names on the Cowboys roster as the most notable was quarterback Eddie LeBaron, former quarterback for the Washington Redskins. That year, the Giants didn’t have a plethora of all-stars but had a couple of big names such as Sam Huff and their kicker and future broadcaster Pat Summerall.
The Giants opened up the scoring with a pass and catch from George Shaw to Mel Triplett from 10 yards out. Summerall added the extra point. Joe Morrison added another score later in the 1st period before Dallas finally got themselves on the board with a 5-yard run from L.G. Dupre to end the 1st quarter of scoring at 14-7. Fred Cone added the extra point for the Cowboys.
Holding on to the 7 point lead, the Giants scored first once again to open the 2nd quarter. This time Shaw found Kyle Rote. Summerall added his third point-after-try of the afternoon to give the New York Football Giants a 21-7 advantage. Not to be outdone, Landry called for a pass from Eddie LeBaron that found Dupre in the end zone from 21-yards out. And then Cone kicked an 11-yard field goal to cut the Giant’s lead to 4, 21-17 as both teams went into halftime.
The 3rd quarter was a low-scoring affair as Summerall added a 26-yard field goal to get New York back up to a 7-point lead. The 4th quarter opened with LeBaron finding Dupre from 23-yards out with a touchdown pass. Cone added the extra point and the score was tied, 24-24. Lee Grosscup replaced George Shaw at this point in the game for the Giants, he found Bob Schnelker from 26-yards. Summerall added the PAT and gave the Giants the point lead. LeBaron went back to work only to close the scoring out with a 11-yard touchdown pass to Billy Howton. Cone’s extra point tied the score at 31-all.
The game went down in the record books a tie but it might as well been a win for the hapless Cowboys. They went 0-10-1 in their first season and the only bright point was that tie at Yankees Stadium that December 4th day. Since those days, the Cowboys have had many victories to celebrate. Let’s hope we can celebrate one more after this Sunday.