Why Giants-Cowboys may not be a rivalry right now

There is an overwhelming majority who do not know what article of clothing Tom Landry is famous for wearing, think of Tony Romo as an announcer and have never heard of R.W. McQuarters and certainly are not familiar with the hearts he broke in Dallas with that last-second playoff interception.

This majority does not know Emmitt Smith once waved goodbye to the Giants on his way to the end zone, or that Eli Manning against the Cowboys famously audibled at the line of scrimmage, handed the ball to Tiki Barber and won his first game as a rookie quarterback.

You can move across large swaths of real estate inside the Giants locker room and will not discover a player who has ever beaten the Cowboys while in a Giants uniform. Manning has done it 14 times (he’s also lost 17 games to the Cowboys). Long snapper Zak DeOssie arrived in 2007, so he’s experienced pretty much everything. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard was a rookie and cornerback Janoris Jenkins was signed as a free agent in 2016 when the Giants actually swept the two-game season series from the Cowboys.

That’s it. Four out of 53 players employed by the Giants have defeated the Cowboys while with the Giants.

It does a disservice to fever-pitch rivalries to force that designation where it does not belong. The Cowboys own a five-game winning streak in this NFC East pairing and this version of the Giants, on a four-game skid, is so young and transient that Monday night’s MetLife Stadium showdown is far more about a one-night stand than it is the continuance of a longstanding feud.

“Everyone knows the history of the Giants-Cowboys games,’’ DeOssie told The Post. “It’s very easy for everyone to imagine, if they haven’t played in one.’’

DeOssie was politely reminded this is not really so.

“No, they don’t know it all,’’ he conceded, “but obviously I’ve been around for a lot of games and it’s certainly a rivalry.’’

Fans have years, often decades of festering animosity built up and pent up. Pull aside a bunch of wizened Giants fans and ask them this: Who do you most relish beating, the Cowboys, Eagles or Redskins? There will be a strong support for all three, but is there any doubt the most malice and bitterness would be thrust upon the Cowboys?

“For the people and these fans around here, for the people in this organization, you feel it,’’ safety Michael Thomas said. “It means a lot to ’em. They might see you out in public and they may say something to you, ‘Just beat those Cowboys!’ People in the organization, they’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the season, ‘Oh, we got ‘Monday Night Football,’ it’s the Cowboys!’ It’s a big one.’’

This is mostly on the outside, and does not penetrate the veneer of these Giants.

“I tend to believe the bulletin board stuff, the dislike, the rivalry stuff, all that, that’s sort of outside the building fan stuff,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said. “We worry about and we concern ourselves with the issues of the day, which are the matchups, the tactics and playing well. The rivalry part kinda goes away and we’re playing a really good Dallas Cowboys team.’’

Tom Coughlin used to introduce an NFC East foe to his team and the media with a simple declaration: “In the division.’’ He had a band of players with history against the teams in the division, wins and losses and acrimony and exhilaration.

Remember how Justin Tuck famously once declared, “I hate the Cowboys,” and never, ever backed off that sentiment? Is there any current Giants player who would remotely come close to expressing such animus — or even some even-tempered dislike — for the Cowboys?

“No, I don’t know,’’ said rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker, asked if he is aware the Giants and the Cowboys were once sworn enemies. “I haven’t sensed anything from anybody. I don’t have any knowledge of that.’’

How could he? Baker is 22 and trying to figure out where he fits, unconcerned what came before him.

“For a lot of good reasons most of these guys are just like, ‘Man, I’m just going to go out here and execute my job and get a win,’ ’’ Thomas said. “That’s a great mindset to have, period. But we understand just because the weight of it with the fans, the weight of it with the people in this organization, this one definitely means a little more.’’

Real synergy arrives when the players and fans feel the same vibe. These Giants are a long way from that. This is Daniel Jones’ first start against the Cowboys and, who knows? Rivalries can be revived, can’t they?

For more on the Giants, listen to the latest episode of the “Blue Rush” podcast:

Source: Read Full Article