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The New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys are two of the biggest franchises in the NFL. They also play in the same division and have a rivalry that dates back to the 1960s. 

One of the reasons that this rivalry is so important is that both teams have achieved the ultimate success. New York and Dallas have a total of nine Super Bowls between them. Many of the biggest battles between these franchises have created exciting moments for fans of sports betting in Texas and New York, too. 

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the rivalry between the Cowboys and the Giants. I will tell you how the conflict started and recap some of its biggest moments. 

When Did the Giants and Cowboys Rivalry Start?

The Giants are one of the oldest NFL franchises, starting all the way back in 1925. For many of the early years of American Football, the New York Football Giants were a powerhouse. 

But as the Giants started to come back to earth in the 1960s, there was a new team on the block. The Dallas Cowboys were established in 1960 and immediately started butting heads with the Giants. 

New York initially had the advantage over the expansion team Cowboys. They were competing for champion shops with Y.A. Tittle under center and Allie Sherman as their coach. Dallas, on the other hand, would not finish with a record of .500 or better until the 1965 season. 

Tittle retired in 1964, though, which would prove to be the final straw for the Giants’ initial dynasty. New York would not make the playoffs again until the 1979 season. 

The Giants’ downfall created a power vacuum in the NFL, and Dallas was ready to fill it. Head Coach Tom Landry, QB Roger Staubach, and multiple other Hall of Famers helped the Cowboys make the playoffs 18 out of 20 seasons from 1966 through 1985. They also appeared in multiple Super Bowls during that time, winning two of them. 

New York Giants’ Return to Greatness Reignites Rivalry 

You could argue that the Pittsburgh Steelers were a bigger rival for the Cowboys in the 1970s than the Giants. That all changed when New York drafted two franchise-changing stars. They added QB Phil Simms and LB Lawrence Taylor in the 1979 and 1981 NFL Drafts, respectively. 

Simms and LT helped New York return to relevance on both sides of the ball. The Giants would win the Super Bowl in 1986 and 1990. 

Another huge factor in the Giants' return to relevance was the hiring of Bill Parcells to be their head coach. A young Bill Belichick served as Parcells’ defensive coordinator and helped to make the Giants one of the toughest defenses in the league. 

Dallas, unfortunately, took a step back in the 1980s. Their last playoff appearance during the decade came in 1985 and was followed by a series of losing seasons. 

In 1989 the team was sold to Jerry Jones, who made the controversial decision to fire longtime head coach Tom Landy. Jones hired Jimmy Johnson to replace Landry. Adding Johnson would be the first step toward the coming Cowboys’ dynasty and set up many exciting games with the Giants in the 1990s. 

Giants vs. Cowboys Reaches New Heights in the 1990s

New York won the Super Bowl in the 1990 - 1991 season with a surprising upset of the Buffalo Bills. Two years later, the Cowboys would also defeat the Bills to win Super Bowl 27. Dallas beat the Bills again to win Super 28 the following season. 

Other than beating the Bills for Lombardi Trophies, the Giants and Cowboys had many great games in the 1990s themselves. There have been over 120 games between these teams, and many of the best of them came during this time. 

One of the most iconic games during this time came at the end of the 1993-1994 regular season. Dallas and New York were both 11-4 and playing for the number one seed in the NFC. RB Emmit Smith was able to power the Cowboys to a 16-13 OT win despite injuring his shoulder early in the game. 

Adding to the intensity of this rivalry was the fact that many of the game’s biggest stars were on the field. Lawrence Taylor,  Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, and many other future Hall of Famers were helping to change the culture of the NFL during this time. A lot of their impact was made while wearing either a Giants or a Cowboys uniform. 

Cowboys vs. Giants in the New Millenium

While not as exciting as it was in the 1990s, the Giants-Cowboys rivalry is still one of the best in the NFL. Each franchise has found new stars in the last two decades to help replace the ones from previous years. 

A core part of this NFC East battle from the mid-2000s to the late 2010s were the team’s QBs. The Giants drafted QB Eli Manning in the 2004 NFL Draft. Manning would struggle as a rookie, not earning his first win until the Giants took down the Cowboys in Week 17 of the 2004 season. 

The Cowboys have also added new QBs to the mix. Tony Romo took over the starting job for the Cowboys in the second half of their Week 7 matchup with the Giants in 2006. Romo was not able to lead the comeback, but he did get the Cowboys to the playoffs that season. 

In recent years, though, the Cowboys have dominated the Giants. The teams have played 13 times since the start of the 2017 season. Dallas is 12-1 in those games, with their only loss coming at the end of the 2021 season.

Biggest Games in the Giants-Cowboys Rivalry 

The Giants and Cowboys have played a total of 123 games, with Dallas having a 74-47 advantage. These bitter rivals have also tied twice. Here are my picks for the five biggest games in this intense NFC East matchup. 

Giants Clinch Playoff Berth in 1981

The Giants hit a major slump following the 1963-1964 season. New York failed to make the playoffs for more than a decade and a half. The once-great Giants team would finally break through again in the 1981 season. 

To get back to the postseason, New York had to go through the 12-3 Dallas Cowboys. As unlikely as it seemed, the Giants earned the 13-10 OT win with a 35-yard game-winning field to move to 9-7. The Giants faced another division rival, the Eagles, in the Wild Card round. 

Cowboys vs. Giants First Regular Season Win 

As is often the case, Dallas struggled to get a win during their first season as an expansion team in the NFL. They lost their first  10 games in their inaugural season in 1960. 

In Week 11, Dallas faced New York for the first time. A hard-fought game ended in a 31-31 tie, giving the Cowboys the first non-losing game in their franchise history. The teams faced off twice the following season, splitting their regular season series. 

2007 Divisional Round Playoff Matchup

Despite playing more than 120 games against one another, these division rivals have only faced off once in the postseason. It came in the 2007 Divisional Round when the top-seeded Cowboys welcomed the fifth-seed Giants to Dallas.  

Eli Manning was able to lead the Giants to a 21-17 upset win over the Cowboys. New York’s luck continued, as they went on to beat the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl 42. 

Eli Manning Spoils the Opening of Jerry’s World

The 2007 Divisional round loss was not the only time Manning spoiled the Cowboys’ night. He did it again at the start of the 2009 season. Dallas was debuting their new stadium. Which at the time was called Cowboys Stadium. 

The stadium was nicknamed Jerry’s World after the Cowboy’s outspoken owner. Dallas hosted New York in their first home game in the venue. Manning led the Giants to a 33-31 victory and signed the locker room to memorialize his first win at the new stadium. 

1993 Regular Season Finale

The 1993 season was one of the rare occasions where both the Giants and Cowboys were among the top teams in the NFL. They both entered their match-up in the regular season finale at 11-5. The winner would get the one seed and the bye, while the loser would fall to the fourth seed. 

As I mentioned above, Cowboys’ RB Emmit Smith was able to play through a shoulder injury and power Dallas to the 16-13 OT win. Smith’s 168 rushing yards also helped him to earn the NFL rushing title that season. The win helped set up Dallas for their second consecutive Super Bowl win. 

Is Dallas vs. New York the Best NFC Rivalry?

The Cowboys and the Giants have played more than 120 times in their 60+ year rivalry. However, the divisional opponents have rarely been competitive at the same time. When they are, though, it makes for some of the most memorable games in NFL history. 

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