In honor of the Fourth of July, here are four times Eli Manning and the New York Giants handed “America’s Team” a heartbreaking defeat.
The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys have a long and heated rivalry that began in 1960. The first meeting between the two great franchises ended in a 31-31 tie.
Decades ago, the Dallas Cowboys anointed themselves “America’s Team.” While the Cowboys have a large and loyal fan base, there’s a legitimate debate about whether or not the Cowboys truly “America’s Team.” As a matter of fact, it’s been over 20 years since they’ve won the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys have gotten the better of the Giants over their long and storied history. Dallas holds a 66-46-2 lead in the series. However, the Giants have given the Cowboys some painful heartache over the years, particularly in the Eli Manning era.
4. 2007 NFC Divisional Round—Giants 21, Cowboys 17—Cowboys Stadium
The Cowboys came into the first-ever playoff matchup between these two bitter rivals with all the momentum. They were the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record. Not to mention, they swept the season series from Big Blue and outscored them 76-55.
The Cowboys were so confident heading into the game that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had reportedly purchased tickets for the players’ friends and family for the NFC Championship game the following week.
But the Giants were undaunted by what happened in the regular season, and thanks to two Manning touchdown passes to Amani Toomer, the game was tied at halftime 14-14.
The dominant Giants defense, led by Michael Strahan, held the Cowboys to just three points in the second half. Early in the fourth quarter, a Brandon Jacobs one-yard touchdown put the Giants up 21-17.
The Cowboys were marching down the field in a potential game-winning drive in the final moments, but R.W. McQuarters intercepted Tony Romo in the end zone with nine seconds remaining to seal the win.
The humbling defeat left Cowboys fans and players in tears. If you don’t believe me, just watch Terrell Owens’ postgame press conference.
Big Blue would ride this momentum into the following week when they defeated the Green Bay Packers 23-20 in overtime. Two weeks later they defeated the 18-0 New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl 42.
3. 2011 Regular Season Finale—Giants 31, Cowboys 14—MetLife Stadium
The Giants and Cowboys met in the season finale at MetLife Stadium in a winner-take-all game. The winner would be crowned NFC East Champions and host a Wild Card Game the following weekend, while the loser would be home for the playoffs.
The Giants raced out to a 21-0 lead thanks to a Victor Cruz 74-yard touchdown and two Ahmad Bradshaw touchdowns.
The Cowboys would cut the deficit to 21-14 in the fourth quarter thanks to Romo’s second touchdown pass to Laurent Robinson. But a Manning four-yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks late in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach.
The win gave the Giants a season sweep over the Cowboys and earned their first division title since 2008.
Similar to the case in 2007, the Giants would ride this momentum into the playoff where they would eventually take down the Patriots again in the Super Bowl, with a 21-17 victory in Super Bowl 46.
2. 2009 Week 2 Jerry World debut—Giants 33, Cowboys 31—AT&T Stadium
In 2009, the Cowboys unveiled their new home field, AT&T Stadium, which is also referred to as “Jerry World”.
The debut of the $1.15-billion stadium occurred in Week 2 with the Giants looking to spoil the grand opening.
This was a back-and-forth game from beginning to end as the game saw eight lead changes. The Giants would earn a hard-fought victory on a Lawrence Tynes 37-yard field goal as time expired.
Manning outdueled Romo, completing 25 out of 38 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Romo was held to 13-for-29 through the air for 127 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions.
This game is also remembered as safety Kenny Phillips’ best game as a Giant. He had two game-changing interceptions and seven tackles. Shortly after the game, Phillips had microfracture surgery done on his left knee and was never the same player, which still has Giants fans thinking what might have been.
After the game, Manning trolled the Cowboys by signing their locker room with his signature and wrote “First Win in the New Stadium”.
1. 2011 Week 14—Giants 37, Cowboys 34—AT&T Stadium
The Giants came into this matchup with their season on the brink. They were 6-6 and lost their previous four games. A loss would have put them at 6-7 and two games behind the Cowboys with three games to play.
It seemed the Giants were headed for defeat after Romo found Dez Bryant for a 50-yard touchdown to put the Cowboys in front 34-22 with just 5:41 remaining in the game.
But the Giants showed they were resilient and fought back. First Manning connected with Jake Ballard on an eight-yard touchdown with 3:14 remaining, and then Brandon Jacobs put the Giants ahead with a one-yard touchdown run with just 46 seconds remaining.
The Cowboys quickly marched down the field to set up a Dan Bailey game-tying field goal attempted, but Jason Pierre-Paul blocked the kick giving the Giants the biggest win of the season up to that point.