Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Favorite win against the Giants

My favorite win against the Giants was one that I didn't even get to see, an extreme rarity. I was in the Midwest on a cold Sunday the second day of 1994. This year was actually the first time that the NFL regular season had spilled over into the New Year. I was living in Utah then like now but visiting my then Fiancee' in her hometown of Geneseo, Illinois. I would marry her the following Labor Day Weekend and then we'd split some three years after that (me unscathed NO KIDS!) I had been visiting there over the Holidays while she was living and going to school there and working a waitressing job, saving for the upcoming day of ours. I was out here in Utah doing the same and would be heading back home later that day (early evening) after a two week visit. I was 22 years old and the Cowboys were on their way to their second straight Super Bowl under Jimmy Johnson. The 1993 season had been chaotic for Dallas. Emmitt Smith held out the first two games and Dallas, distracted by the drama of it, started out 0-2. He and owner Jones finally came to an agreement on a deal that made Emmitt the highest paid player in the game at least for the moment. Smith returned and the Cowboys went 12-2 the rest of the way but had to go into the cold windy hostile Meadowlands on the for the regular season finale to face the suprising Giants who still had veterans Phil Simms and Lawerence Taylor. Michael Strahan was a rookie then. The Giants had gotten drilled by the Cowboys in early November at Texas Stadium 31-9 but they had otherwise played stout defense and safe conservative offense and had beaten just about all the teams on their schedule that they were supposed to beat, giving them an 11-4 record heading into this showdown against the mighty Cowboys. The Cowboys had the same record coming in and had been thinned a lot by injuries to key players, most of them playing through it. Plus everyone was out to knock off the Cowboys. And I didn't get to see the game because they showed a game between I think the Rams and Bears, two teams that weren't even going to the playoffs. I couldn't figure that out. The winner of Cowboys-Giants would have the NFC's number one seed and they were showing a game that nobody gave a freaking damn about . And the updates and scores that you see of other games throughout games nowadays didn't happen so much back then, when it was just occassional. So then I finally see them mention, "In overtime, the defending Super Bowl Champion Cowboys defeat the Giants 16-13 to capture another division title and lock up the NFC's Number One seed and homefield throughout" Wow, I remember not even caring about any style points. I knew that Dallas was vastly superior to that overachieving Giants cast but I also didn't care how they'd done it but that they had. And was PO'd that I didn't see it. It was probably on out here. I actually had stayed in Illinois for two days longer than originally planned because of some snow storm rolling in and I remember having to call my employment place back here at the time to arrange for a couple of more days off. The story of that game however that I didn't get to see is legendary ofcourse. Emmitt Smith separating his shoulder right before the half in a game that was close to being a Dallas blowout. It was 13-0 Cowboys at the half and the stats were twice as lopsided. But the Cowboys went conservative in the second half, made a couple of miscues that allowed New York to creep back in it and the game went into overtime. The Giants won the toss and got the ball first but the Dallas Defense stopped them cold, the offense took it down with the injured Emmitt Smith getting most of the touches and they got close enough for the winning Field Goal from 41 yards out by veteran Eddie Murray. And the Cowboys would get their much needed rest before rolling through the playoffs. Emmitt Smith was able to come out of the playoff wins over the Packers and 49ers when the outcomes were each secure by the start of the fourth quarter. He was back to just about 100% by the Super Bowl where he was MVP in defeating Buffalo. That win over the Giants, even though I didn't get to see it, is my favorite one of all time against them to date because had Dallas lost that game, it would have been a much tougher road trying to get back to the Super Bowl. Other considerations ofcourse include the 30-29 Sunday Night Thriller at the Meadowlands in week five of 1985. The win later that year in Dallas against them to clinch Landry's final division title at the helm. The 1986 opener when Herschel Walker scored the winner on a 10 yard draw late in the fourth quarter on Monday Night. Week Two of 2003, another overtime thriller at the Meadowlands where PK Billy Cundiff nailed seven field goals uncluding the game winner for Parcells' first win as Dallas' coach. And the December 2006 showdown at the Meadowlands as well, when Romo hit Witten on a long pass down the sideline to set up PK Gramactica's winner. But I'd take the 1993 season finale because that's the highest the stakes were between the two as far as the ones that Dallas won. Would a win tomorrow for Dallas top the list of the ones mentioned though? Absolutely!

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