NEW YORK GIANTS FACTS
Not only are the Cowboys 20-6 against the Giants in September, but also hold a 7-0 record against New York on Opening Day.
The Dallas Cowboys are 34-18-1 (.642) on Opening Day while the Giants are 48-33-5 (.558)
1965-66 were special years for Dallas in their rivalry with the Giants. In 1965, Dallas opened Week 1 with a 31-2 slaying of the Giants and then pulverized them 52-7 in 1966’s Week 1. Both contests were in the Cotton Bowl.
Sunday night will be the 17th time the Cowboys have opened the season in prime time. Their record is 10-6. Meanwhile, the Giants are 5-9.
The Cowboys haven’t lost a prime time home game on Opening Day since Sept. 13, 1982 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Dallas 36-28 on Monday Night Football. They are 6-1 otherwise.
The Giants haven’t won a prime time road game on Opening Day since Sept. 11, 1989 when they defeated Washington 27-24. They are 2-6 otherwise.
The Cowboys currently own a four-game winning streak against New York. Their longest winning streak against the Giants was 12 games from Oct. 27, 1974 to Oct. 5, 1980.
Dallas defeated Houston 21-14 in the preseason finale. Here is a comparative list of preseason finale results and subsequent Opening Day results since 2002:
The New York Giants were also victorious in their preseason finale with the New England Patriots 12-9. Here is a comparative list of pre-season finale results and subsequent Opening Day results since 2002:
JASON GARRETT FACTS
Garrett holds a 6-3 advantage over Tom Coughlin. Here are Garrett’s ledgers over every NFC East coach he has faced all-time:
Garrett holds a 3-3 record against the Giants in prime time.
Garrett is 2-2 in season openers. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches after four games (where applicable):
Jimmy Johnson: 3-1
Barry Switzer: 3-1
Wade Phillips: 3-1
Jason Garrett: 2-2
Tom Landry: 1-2-1
Bill Parcells: 1-3
Sunday night will be Garrett’s third Week 1 home game, which is second-most to Landry’s 15.
TONY ROMO FACTS
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of Romo on Sept.1: “Let’s let him go out there and try to do something bigger here Opening Night than he’s done before. All of this is what I'm for that is our eyeing interest on the game of football.” In keeping with that theme, here is the list of Romo’s personal bests (and worsts) in Week 1:
Completions: 36 (2013, vs. NY Giants)
Attempts: 49 (2013, vs. NY Giants)
Yards: 353 (2009 at Tampa Bay)
Touchdowns: 4 (2007 vs. NY Giants)
Interceptions: 3 (2014 vs. San Francisco)
Passer rating: 140.6 (2009 at Tampa Bay)
Sacked: 4 (2011 at NY Jets)
Romo is tied with Danny White (1987) and Roger Staubach (1977) as the fourth-oldest Cowboys quarterback to start an Opening Day game.
Tony Romo is 5-3 in Week 1 starts.
Tony Romo has started 16 games against the Giants, including playoffs, with his longest streak being eight games (12/11/11-present). Troy Aikman has not only started the most games against the Giants with 22, but he also holds the longest streak of consecutive games with 18 from 1989-1997.
Romo has thrown 39 touchdowns passes against the Giants, the most of any passer since 1960.
Romo has thrown 20 interceptions against the Giants in his career, which is tied with Neil Lomax for seventh-most since 1960.
Romo has thrown for 4,484 yards against New York, the most of any quarterback since 1960. Next closest is Troy Aikman with 4,164.
Not since the days of Troy Aikman has a Cowboys quarterback started for more than five consecutive Opening Days. As Tony Romo makes his ninth Opening Day start, here’s a look at Cowboys quarterback Opening Day records:
Roger Staubach: 7-0
Troy Aikman: 8-4
Craig Morton: 5-0
Danny White: 5-2
Tony Romo: 5-3
Don Meredith: 3-2-1
Gary Hogeboom: 1-0
Steve Pelluer: 0-1
Eddie LeBaron: 1-1
Drew Bledsoe: 1-1
Vinny Testaverde: 0-1
Quincy Carter: 0-3
In his career, Romo goes from a 118.1 passer rating from quarters first through third to a 100.1 rating in the fourth.
Romo has had a seven-games or more streak with at least a pick happen to him once in his career. Eli Manning has had it happen to him four times in his career.
Romo is 4-2 against Steve Spagnoulo-led defenses. His passer rating is 113.3 and he averages two sacks.
Romo is 3-1 against the Giants when he suffers a sack or less compared to 6-6 when he is sacked two times or more.
ELI MANNING FACTS
Eli Manning is 4-6 on Opening Day with a 2-4 record against the NFC East.
Manning has yet to win an Opening Day game on the road, owning a 0-4 record.
Sunday will be Eli Manning’s 20th game against the Cowboys, including playoffs. He is second to Sonny Jurgensen’s 22.
Manning has thrown 46 touchdowns against Dallas, the most in franchise history. It is also the most he has thrown against any specific team.
Manning has thrown 23 interceptions against the Cowboys, possessing fifth place on the most-thrown list.
In his career, Manning goes from an 82.8 passer rating from the first through third quarters to an 83.3 rating in the fourth.
Against Rod Marinelli’s defenses, Manning has a 2-2 record, a 102.1 passer rating, and averages two sacks.
Manning is 8-3 against the Cowboys when he sustains a sack or less compared to 4-7 when he sacked twice or more.
TOM COUGHLIN FACTS
For as much grief as Coughlin has sustained for being on the hot seat since 2007, the fact is, entering his 12th season, he is the Giants’ second-longest tenured head coach behind Steve Owen, who coached New York from 1931-53.
Coughlin holds a 4-7 record as the Giants head coach on Opening Day. With Jacksonville, Coughlin compiled a 6-2 Opening Day record.
Through 11 Opening Days, here is how Coughlin’s record stacks up against the rest of the franchise (where applicable):
Steve Owen: 6-4-1
Tom Coughlin: 4-7
Tom Coughlin has yet to win an Opening Day game on the road as the Giants head coach, owning a 0-5 record.
The last time Coughlin sustained a four-game losing streak or greater against a divisional opponent was from 12/7/08 to 12/19/10 when New York lost six straight games to Philadelphia.
Coughlin holds a 6-5 record against the Cowboys in prime time.
Tom Coughlin has a 13-11 record against the Dallas Cowboys with a 12-11 record as the Giants’ head coach. Here is how he compares to other New York Giants head coaches:
Jim Lee Howell: 1-0-1
Allie Sherman: 6-8-1
Alex Webster: 2-7
Bill Arnsparger: 1-4
John McVay: 0-5
Ray Perkins: 2-4
Bill Parcells: 9-7
Ray Handley: 1-3
Dan Reeves: 2-6
Jim Fassel: 8-6
Tom Coughlin: 12-11
OPENING DAY FACTS
In Week 1’s following seasons wherein the Cowboys made the playoffs, the Cowboys are 24-6.
Since 2006, when NBC took over Sunday Night Football, the Cowboys are 3-2 in Week 1 games.
In Opening Day games at home, Dallas is 16-10-1.
In Opening Day games on the road, the Giants are 32-24-5.
Since 2006, when Sunday Night Football began on NBC, the Giants are 1-4 in Week 1 contests featured on NBC.
The New York Giants have played in Week 1 on all of the NFL’s past and present broadcast partners allowed to carry Week 1 games: FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN, ABC, and TNT.
Since 2000, the previous year’s NFC East champion’s ledger on Opening Day is 6-9.
AL MICHAELS FACTS
This week’s contest against the Giants marks the 30th season of Al Michaels’ foray into prime time NFL broadcasting. Incidentally, his first ever game was an ABC Monday Night Football contest on 9/8/86 when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants 31-28 in Texas Stadium.
Since 1986, no play-by-play commentator has called more Week 1 Cowboys games than Al Michaels. (’86, ’92, ’93, ’95, ’96, ’07, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, ‘15)
Since 1986, Al Michaels has called no other team more in Week 1 than the New York Giants. (’86, ’87, ’88, ’89, ’91, ’95, ’01, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’12, ’13, ‘15). The Dallas Cowboys are second-most.
In Week 1 contests against the Giants with Al Michaels calling the action, the Cowboys are 5-0.
With Brooklyn native Al Michaels calling a Giants-Cowboys contest, allegations of anti-Cowboys bias are leveled against the legend of NFL prime time. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Al’s wife, Linda, stays in Jerry and Gene Jones’ box suite during all contests Al Michaels has covered. In Playing to Win by David Magee, Linda Michaels refers to Jerry and Gene as, “gracious hosts.”
The most common rivalry for Al Michaels in a Week 1 matchup is Cowboys-Giants at seven. Cowboys-Redskins and Redskins-Giants are each tied at three.
The Cowboys, Redskins, and Packers are the only teams to win on the NFL Kickoff Special, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football, all three contests having featured Al Michaels.
Mile High Stadium, Gillette Stadium, MetLife Stadium, and Sports Authority Field are the only venues visited in consecutive Al Michaels Week 1 telecasts.
The most common state for Al Michaels to call a game in Week 1 is New Jersey with 7 appearances: ('88, '91, '95, '06, '08, '11, '12)
If Tony Romo wins on Sunday night, he will tie Peyton Manning for most wins in a Week 1 game called by Al Michaels at four apiece. Here’s the complete list, including records:
Peyton Manning: 4-2
Tom Brady: 3-0
Brett Favre: 2-1
Tony Romo: 3-2
Eli Manning: 2-3
Troy Aikman: 2-2
Drew Brees: 1-2
Phil Simms: 1-3
Kerry Collins: 0-3
The closest game Al Michaels called in Week 1 was the 1990 San Fransisco-New Orleans game where the 49ers prevailed 13-12.
The biggest blowout Al Michaels called in Week 1 was the 1995 Dallas-New York Giants game where the Cowboys dominated 35-0.
Al Michaels bore witness to two shutouts in Week 1: the aforementioned 1995 Cowboys-Giants game and 2003’s Tampa Bay-Philadelphia match where the Buccaneers embarrassed the Eagles 17-0 in their stadium’s inaugural game on owner Jeff Lurie’s 52nd birthday.
Sept. 8 is the most common date for Al Michaels to call a Week 1 game. (’86, ’03, ’05, ’11, ’13)
The biggest point total Al Michaels has witnessed in Week 1 was the 2007 Giants-Cowboys game where both teams combined for 80 points.
Dan Dierdorf has been Al Michaels’ most common Week 1 broadcast partner with 13 games together.
Al Michaels has never called a Week 1 game where a rookie quarterback made his debut. However, he has been there for the debut of five rookie head coaches: Ray Handley (’91 NYG), Richie Pettitbon (’93 WAS), Mike Martz (’00 Rams), Jim Zorn (’08 WAS), and Jason Garrett (’11 DAL).
The coldest Week 1 game Al Michaels called was the ’98 Patriots-Broncos game with a 50-degree temperature at kickoff. The warmest game he’s called was the ’89 Giants-Redskins game with an 83-degree kickoff temperature.
On six occasions, the eventual Super Bowl winner has won in Week 1 with Al Michaels: ’92 Cowboys, ’94 49ers, ’95 Cowboys, ’98 Broncos, ’04 Patriots, and ’06 Colts. The ’94 49ers are the only eventual Super Bowl winner to open their season with Al Michaels and close their season with Al Michaels, since ABC Sports broadcasted Super Bowl XXIX.
The ’86 and ’07 Giants share the distinction of being the only teams to lose in a Week 1 game called by Al Michaels but still win the Super Bowl. Incidentally, both Week 1 games were against the Cowboys in Texas Stadium.
Sunday’s referee is Bill Vinovich. The Cowboys are 5-2 when he referees. Here is the record:
2004 – @CIN, 3-26 – L
2004 – WAS, 13-10 – W
2005 – PHI, 33-10 – W
2006 – Colts, 21-14 – W
2012 – @CIN, 20-19 – W
2013 – @DET, 30-31 – L
2014 – @NYG, 31-28 – W
Dallas has had fewer penalties than their opponents 4/7 times under Vinovich. Here is the breakdown:
2004 – CIN: 4/20; DAL: 7/46
2004 – WAS: 8/69; DAL: 1/13
2005 – PHI: 8/54; DAL: 5/48
2006 – Colts: 5/35; DAL: 7/53
2012 – CIN: 8/70; DAL: 6/49
2013 – DET: 8/61; DAL: 2/31
2014 – NYG: 5/30; DAL: 7/63
Vinovich had a home team winning percentage of .600 last season, which was in the middle of the pack among his peers. Here is the list from 2014 minus Bill Leavy, who retired this off-season:
Ed Hochuli: .813
Gene Steratore: .733
Jerome Boger: .667
Jeff Triplette: .667
Pete Morelli: .625
Tony Corrente: .625
Bill Vinovich: .600
Walt Anderson: .563
Carl Cheffers: .563
Craig Wrolstad: .533
Terry McAulay: .500
John Parry: .467
Clete Blakeman: .438
Brad Allen: .400
Walt Coleman: .400
In 2014, Vinovich had the second-best percentage of home teams having fewer penalties:
Brad Allen: .733
Terry McAulay: .688
Bill Vinovich: .688
Jerome Boger: .667
Jeff Triplette: .667
Tony Corrente: .625
Walt Anderson: .588
Craig Wrolstad: .567
Walt Coleman: .533
Carl Cheffers: .468
Pete Morelli: .467
Ed Hochuli: .437
Gene Steratore: .400
Clete Blakeman: .375
John Parry: .267
The Giants are 2-1 when Vinovich referees their games:
2006 – HTX, 14-10 – W
2013 – WAS, 20-6 – W
2014 – DAL, 31-28 – L
However, the Giants are perfect on having fewer penalties than their opponents going 3/3:
2006 – HTX: 8/65; NYG: 6/53
2013 – WAS: 3/30; NYG: 3/20
2014 – DAL: 7/63; NYG: 5/30
Under Vinovich, the Cowboys have won 1/4 of their coaches challenges compared to their opponents winning 2/5 coaches challenges. Additionally, Replay Assistant is 2/7 on challenges with only two of those rulings benefiting the Cowboys.
The Giants are 1/2 on coaches challenges under Vinovich with opponents being 0/2. Replay Assistant is 1/3 on challenges with two calls benefiting the Giants.
Vinovich refereed Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Prior to that, he refereed two playoff games: the 2006 AFC Wildcard game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, and the 2012 AFC Divisional game between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.
In 2007, Bill Vinovich officiated a first round game in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament between Virginia Tech and Illinois. Virginia Tech won 54-52.
Other than DeMarco Murray’s 100-yard performances on Opening Day in 2012 and 2014, the Cowboys haven’t had one since Sept. 12, 1999 at Washington.
Dez Bryant’s average stat line through five Opening Day games is five catches for 58 yards.
Bryant’s career game for yards (224) on Dec. 23, 2012 came against the New Orleans Saints, whose defense was coordinated by Steve Spagnoulo.
Since 2010, Bryant has caught 21/56 of his touchdowns on third or fourth down.
Since 2010, Jason Witten and Bryant lead the NFL with most catches against the Giants with six apiece. If the pair were their own team, they would be tied with Washington for the third-most touchdowns against New York since 2010.
Odell Beckham, Jr. is just the third LSU receiver to have been named to the Pro Bowl. The other two are Dwayne Bowe (2010) and Eric Martin (1988).
If Beckham scores a touchdown against Dallas, he will be the first Giants receiver since Plaxico Burress in 2007 to have five or more straight games with at least a touchdown.
In 2013, Giants running back Rashad Jennings and Cowboys running back Darren McFadden were teammates in Oakland. Jennings made eight starts, carried the ball 163 times for 733 yards and six scores. McFadden started seven games, rushing 114 times for 379 yards and five touchdowns. The Raiders ground game was ranked 16th in attempts, 12th in yards, and seventh in touchdowns.
This is the first game McFadden will play against the Giants in his eight-year career.
Newly acquired free agent running back Shane Vereen had a better yards per carry (4.1) last year than the entire Giants team (3.6).
New Cowboys running back Christine Michael had a career-high 71 yards against the Giants last year on four carries.
Sunday night will be the first Cowboys game Jason Pierre-Paul will miss. The Giants are 3-2 against Dallas when Pierre-Paul gets a sack versus 1-4 when he does not.
Week 1 will also be the first time since the final five games of 2013 that Pierre-Paul missed time. During that span, New York averaged 3.3 sacks per game compared to 1.6 when Pierre-Paul was active.
The last Giants quarterback to start in a prime time game not named Eli Manning was Jesse Palmer on 12/14/03. New Orleans creamed New York 45-7 on ESPN Sunday Night Football.
The Cowboys are 3-3 all-time on 9/13. Here are the results:
1981 – Cardinals, 30-17 – W
1982 – PIT, 28-36 – L
1987 – @Cardinals, 13-24 – L
1992 – @NYG, 34-28 – W
1998 – @DEN, 23-42 – L
2009 – @TB, 34-21 – W
The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on 9/13:
Gary Barnes, WR, 1963 – 9/13/1939
Walt Johnson, DT, 1987 – 9/13/1965
Brad Johnson, QB, 2007-08 – 9/13/1968
Richie Anderson, FB, 2003-04 – 9/13/1971
The Cowboys also remember the death of Toni Fritsch on Sept. 13, 2005. Fritsch was with the team from 1971-73 and also 1975.