January 13, 2008
The Cowboys had a first-round bye and were meeting the 6-seed Giants in the playoffs. This was the first year that I had gotten back into football and had reinvested all my rooting faith into the Cowboys, mostly because I was newly single and didn’t have anything else to do. I also hadn’t yet developed my irrational hatred of the Giants, though the seeds were there.
All I remember about this game was watching it at my friend Sam’s new house. Sam is a Giants fan (though he will now tell you that he cares more about Iowa State football, but this is only because the Giants haven’t won a Super Bowl in 21 months, so he has lost interest and has nothing to rub my face in). The game ended with Romo throwing an interception into the end zone, and I remember falling backwards onto Sam’s couch as Sam’s big Weimaraner Riley thrust her paws in my face out of excitement.
September 20, 2009
My then-girlfriend (now wife) and I were celebrating our one-year anniversary this evening. It also happened to be the Cowboys’s first game in their brand new stadium, and they were playing the Giants. Because I am a despicable, selfish man, I could not just spend an evening with this beautiful girl and not watch a professional football game. Our compromise was to go to a local bar with a bunch of our friends and do a bar trivia contest. Of course, the TV was showing the Cowboys/Giants game, and rather than have intimate conversation and share laughs with my girlfriend, I focused on the game and pounded the table whenever things weren’t going right for the Cowboys.
I finished watching the game standing in front of the TV, slumped over a barstool as Lawrence Tynes kicked the winning field goal and broke my heart. How my girlfriend didn’t leave me after this evening and went on to see through my faults and marry me is a wondrous miracle I will never understand.
October 25, 2010
The week before this game, I went up to Minneapolis with my stepdad to see the Cowboys play the Vikings. The Cowboys lost, and it sucked. However, the suckage only got suckier: In the first quarter of this game, Giants linebacker Michael Boley plowed through Tony Romo, drove him to the ground and broke his clavicle. As we would later hear thanks to Romo being “wired up” during this game, the trainers and coaches ran to a flattened, not-getting-up Romo to help him, and the first thing Romo said was, “Did he catch it?” in reference to the pass he had just thrown to Miles Austin. That Tony. He’s my guy.
The Cowboys were already 1-4 at this point, so there probably wasn’t much realistic hope of a playoff run, but the Giants knocked Romo out for the rest of the season, leading to an embarrassing 1-7 start, grandfatherly coach Wade Phillips getting fired, and current Bane of My Existence Jason Garrett being hired as head coach.
December 11, 2011
With Romo healthy as hell this year, the Cowboys and Giants were in a tight race for the NFC East. For the third time, the Cowboys were trying to finally beat the Giants at billion dollar Cowboy Stadium. The highs and lows in this game were staggering. There was an incredible busted coverage that allowed Dez Bryant to basically breakdance into the end zone, putting them up by 12 with six minutes left. But because this is Cowboys/Giants, the next six minutes were a living nightmare. The Giants scored on their next drive, and then when the Cowboys got the ball back, Romo threw a beautiful little rainbow on 3rd down to Miles Austin, which would have sealed the game up…and the pass sailed just in front of Miles. Incomplete. Then the Giants scored to go up by 3, the Cowboys got the ball back and kicked a field goal, but long-armed mutant Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul blocked the kick.
I collapsed onto the floor for a few minutes, then moped over to the couch to join my still-then-girlfriend, who had been Internetting while politely ignoring the game, and then the following exchange happened, which pretty much captures why I am a dolt and my wife is perfect:
Me: I want to die.
My Wife: Well, that’s stupid.
January 1, 2012
I was about to be embarrassingly laid off from an office temp job that I worked for 18 months, in what can only be labeled a shameful waste of my time. I was feeling very down about myself and my life choices. So all I asked on this New Year’s Night, with the Cowboys playing the Giants in New York in a regular season finale winner-takes-the-division game, was for the Cowboys to just get one over on their hated rivals, for Romo to just once come through and overcome everyone who said he couldn’t win “the big game,” for my rooting faith to pay off just once.
None of that happened. The Giants ran away with the game, quite literally as Victor Cruz humiliated Cowboys cornerback Terrence Newman, so much so that they got rid of Newman after this season, which is a shame, because my one joy in watching him get burned week after week was shaking my fist, staring off into the distance, gritting my teeth and hissing, “Newman.”
October 28, 2012
The night before this game, I had played a show at a small college in Wisconsin, filling in on bass for local heroes The Poison Control Center. We had a blast, got paid way too much money, got free pizza and beer and got three hotel rooms for five guys at a great hotel that sat right on Lake Superior. It was a pretty sweet deal all around. But rather than ride high on that for all of Sunday, I spent the drive back to Iowa worrying about the Cowboys/Giants game. At a truck stop in Minnesota, I ran in and found a TV showing the game, just in time to see Romo throw a good ol’ first quarter interception. I hopped back in the van and got dropped off three hours later at my at-that-time-new-wife’s parents’ house for a family dinner, luckily just as the game was about to end. The Cowboys had been down by 23 points, more or less a death sentence, but had somehow marched back into contention and were down by 5, in scoring range with less than a minute to go.
Romo threw a wild deep ball to Dez Bryant, and against all logic and reason, Dez somehow made the catch. In the moment it didn’t seem real, but the referee signaled it as a touchdown, and I fell to the floor in ecstasy. Of course, all scoring plays are reviewed, and when they looked at the replay, they saw that the first part of Dez’s body to come down was the very tip of his finger, out of bounds. You know when people say it was “this close,” and they make a tiny distance using their forefinger and thumb? Yeah, that’s what this was. The Cowboys lost, obviously. Somehow, I kept it cool and didn’t embarrass myself in front of my wife’s family. But I’m probably wrong about this.
And here’s where the narrative somehow changes.
September 8, 2013
The Cowboys played the Giants on Sunday night, which usually means the Cowboys will lose because nothing good ever happens to them at Sundays on NBC with Faith Hill pretending to care as she sings about football. But with Tony Romo’s ex-babe Carrie Underwood now filling Faith Hill’s role, something changed. In a wild game that saw the Giants turn the ball over seven times…the Cowboys still almost lost. But with the game on the line, Eli Manning threw a stupid pass that bounced off his receiver’s shoulder and right into the hands of Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr, who took it in for a touchdown and caused Eli to make the biggest GOSHDARNIT face of all time. The Cowboys finally beat them at Cowboys Stadium, except now it’s called AT&T Stadium because corporate bullshit now reigns supreme over everything. So I guess the Giants can always say they were never beaten at Cowboys Stadium. Goshdarnit.
November 24, 2013
With the Giants improbably in playoff contention after starting 0-6 and talking mad shit in the week leading up to this, the table was set for the Cowboys to get run off the field in New York, especially with such cold weather playing a factor. I watched only ten minutes of this game in real time, and then headed to a housewarming party put on by two good friends. Those friends were kind enough to finally hook up their TV for me, but when I turned it on, it didn’t receive any channels. This forced me to, you know, socialize with people and not pace in front of the TV like a maniac. I was unable to stop checking my phone every few minutes, but still, I did pretty good. My wife was happy.
And as I learned how to be a person, the Cowboys somehow went on a game-winning drive and kicked a field goal at the last second. Jason Pierre-Paul didn’t block it. Romo didn’t throw a crippling interception. They just…won the game. It still doesn’t feel real. They can’t just…beat the Giants, can they? That’s too easy.
I’ll just wait here until something bad happens. It always does.