It has been brewing for a few years now. The Giants and Cowboys have a natural rivalry within the division and the sheer number of times they have faced one another is enough for the teams to possess a healthy amount of hatred for one another.
However, the rivalry has always been the most passive of all the division matchups. There is no body bag game or bounty bowl between the two teams. There are no rumors of any Giants fans breaking the legs of Crazy Ray and to date, there have not been any back-breaking game winning punt returns to douse the playoff hopes of the other team. Only some light banter from Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs, and some mocking of the Cruz cha cha by Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson display any of the ill will between the teams. This year however, the slow build that has been the Giants getting the best of the Cowboys each of the last 4-5 years could catch fire on the opening week of the NFL. For the Cowboys and their 4-7 record against the Giants since 2007, it’s time to escalate the rivalry to its rightful plateau.
“That’s my quarterback”. In 2007 The Dallas Cowboys plowed their way to a 13-3 season earning home field advantage throughout the playoffs. In that season they swept the New York Giants including a fantastic opening win against the Giants 45-35 where Tony Romo and Terrell Owens broke out the popcorn. With hopes high for a return to the Super Bowl, the Cowboys hosted a battered Giants team in the playoffs fresh off of their own wild card win against Tampa Bay.
The Cowboys showed why they were the NFCs best team in the first half against the Giants but their offensive line faltered in the second half and went on to absorb one of the more painful losses in the team’s history. The Giants used that win to propel themselves to their Super bowl winning run. The game is most known for Romo’s game losing interception in the end zone and the T.O. emotional presser backing his QB. How ironic.
September 2009 was a date Jerry Jones must have assumed would be the launch of his ultimate version and vision of his Dallas Cowboys. With the opening of his brand new stadium now mockingly called Jerry Dome, The Cowboys ushered in their season with their first home game in the new stadium against the New York Giants.
The game was an exciting one and a back and forth affair but in front of over 100,000 fans, cheerleaders manning stripper poles, thousands in the upper decks watching the game on a largest TV in history, and many millions more around the country, the Cowboys lost on a game winning drive by Eli Manning. Though it’s a game Jones would rather forget, Eli insured he would not by signing his name inside the visiting team’s locker room to break in the new stadium.
Eli’s signature in this rivalry cannot be mistaken. He is making a habit out of delivering painful losses to the Cowboys.
In October 2010, the Giants were back to deliver another painful loss to their division rival but who could have known just how painful. The Cowboys came into this game at 1-4 and their season on the line if they hoped to make a playoff run. On Monday night football in Cowboys Stadium the Cowboys lost a tough 41-35 affair but that was not the true measure of how painful the game was. In the game, Michael Boley blitzed and went untouched driving Tony Romo to the turf. A loss and a broken collarbone to Romo nailed the coffin shut on the Cowboys 2010 season.
2011 for the Dallas Cowboys was a year where they received a full dose of Giant misery. The first meeting was a game they had in hand and leading 34-22 with 5 minutes left, most thought the Cowboys were about to hand the Giants back some of their own misery. Two horrible defensive possessions, a Romo to Austin miss that would have clinched the win, and a last second game tying Pierre-Paul block of a Bailey field goal and the Cowboys once again walked off the field with the horrible taste of the Giants in their mouths.
Luckily for the Cowboys, they would get their chance to exact the ultimate revenge against the Giants by playing them at the end of the season in a win and you’re in game. The Cowboys quickly fell behind 21-0 but fought their way back to 21-14 and a ton of momentum but could not retain it. Victor Cruz danced all over the field and the Cowboys and Eli Manning slammed the door on the season once again leaving the Cowboys thinking about the draft.
The 2012 season kicks off on a Wednesday night in the Giants stadium (which is also quite new) and it will be a celebration and coronation of an amazing Giants Super bowl run in the 2011-2012 season. The league decided to drop the Cowboys into this hornets nest and most experts and NFL fans expect the Cowboys to get stung into submission.
For the Cowboys the opportunity in front of them is delicious and they can deliver a major blow right back to Eli and company. At that party this September, with those rings, in that stadium and all that hype that will come along with the Giants super success, the Cowboys can remind the Giants that America’s team will not remain on the wrong side of any rivalry to them or any other team in the NFC East.