The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will face each other for the 10th time on Opening Day Sunday night. It will break a tie with Washington for the most-common Opening Day opponent in Cowboys history, but only entrench its place as third-most common in Giants history. Here is a look back at the nine previous match-ups between the two NFC East foes to open the season:
1965 – In their first Opening Day meeting at the Cotton Bowl, the Cowboys jump out to a 17-0 lead by halftime. All-Pro defensive end Jim Katcavage sacks Dallas quarterback Don Meredith, who went 8-of-17 for 162 yards and a touchdown, for a safety. It would be the Giants’ only points as the Cowboys rolled 31-2.
1966 – The rematch at the Cotton Bowl saw Dallas slay the Giants 52-7. Meredith set a franchise single-game record for five touchdown passes with three going to running back Dan Reeves and two going to receiver Bob Hayes. “Dandy Don” finished with 358 yards passing after completing 14 of 24 passes.
1986 – USFL star Herschel Walker made his NFL debut in Texas Stadium (and so did legendary play-by-play Al Michaels on Monday Night Football), and did not disappoint as he scored the winning touchdown on a 10-yard draw. Dallas bested the eventual Super Bowl XXI champions 31-28 as quarterback Danny White completed 23-of-39 for 279 yards and a two touchdowns.
1995 – On the third play of the Cowboys’ first drive, Emmitt Smith galloped 60 yards for a touchdown that would be the first of five unanswered touchdowns. The Cowboys demolished the Giants 35-0 on Monday Night Football in the first Opening Day meeting in the series at the Meadowlands.
2007 – Tony Romo made his first Opening Day start for Dallas and delivered four touchdowns and an interception on a Sunday night in the last Opening Day game at Texas Stadium. Receiver Terrell Owens caught two of those scores for a total of three catches for 87 yards. Second-year receiver Sam Hurd sealed the deal with a 51-yard touchdown catch to help Dallas win 45-35.
2012 – The Cowboys’ 2011 campaign ended at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 1 of that year. Now, Dallas sought to send the Giants home disappointed in a rare Wednesday night NFL Kickoff Special. Receiver Kevin Ogletree caught eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys got an early start in the NFC East standings with a 24-17 win.
2013 – The Monte Kiffin/Rod Marinelli era in Dallas got off on the right foot with linebacker-turned-defensive end DeMarcus Ware picking off Eli Manning’s opening screen pass. It was the first of three picks Manning would heave, including a back-breaking pick-six to cornerback Brandon Carr, as the Cowboys prevailed 36-31, their first win against the Giants in the newly named AT&T Stadium.
2015 – Who knew it would be Romo’s last comeback and his last win at AT&T Stadium? With 13 seconds in the game, the Pro-Bowler picked up a low shotgun snap and threw a dart to tight end Jason Witten for the game-winning touchdown. Romo went 36-of-45 for 356 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions as Dallas edged New York 27-26 in a game called by Verne Lundquist on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network.
2016 – After nine tries, the Giants finally got a win as Dallas receiver Terrance Williams failed to run out of bounds on a third-and-10 from the Dallas 46-yard line with 12 seconds to play. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie tackled Williams the New York 40-yard line. Rather than trot kicker Dan Bailey out for a 57-yard field goal, the Cowboys watched time expire and the Giants leave AT&T Stadium with a 20-19 win.
The game between Dallas and New York will mark the 13th straight season the two NFC East clubs have met in prime time, second to only Dallas and Philadelphia’s 14-season streak as the longest active in the NFL. Only Sunday night will tell what remarkable blurb will be added to the annals of this intriguing rivalry.
What are your fondest Opening Week memories? Share 'em with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.