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Flashback Friday: Giants and Cowboys brawl on Monday Night Football

Tito Wooten, Michael Irvin kick off halftime scuffle

NFL: Preseason-Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants (8-4) and Dallas Cowboys (11-1) rivalry is one of the most intense in NFL history. It started with a 31-31 tie at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 4, 1960 and will continue this Sunday when the Giants and Cowboys meet for the 110th time (Dallas is 62-45-2). Sunday Night’s matchup has big playoff implications for both — Dallas clinches the NFC East with a win, the Giants need a victory to maintain their wild card lead — but you can usually toss win-loss records aside and there’s sure to be fireworks whenever they share a football field.

That was the case when they met on Monday Night Football during the 1994 season. The 7-1 Boys hosted the 3-5 Giants at the old Texas Stadium in what turned out to be a fight. Literally.

Giants vs. Cowboys, 11/07/1994

The outcome of that game was never really in doubt. Dallas was one of the league’s better teams at the time and the Giants rolled into Texas losers of five straight. The Cowboys dominated from the outset and took a 14-3 lead into halftime. Before the teams made it off the field and into their locker rooms however, fists (and tripods) flew.

On the last play of the second-quarter, Giants’ safety Tito Wooten broke up a Troy Aikman Hail Mary attempt by leveling Cowboys’ receiver Alvin Harper. Michael Irvin and Dallas’ receivers coach went after Wooten and ended up exchanging blows with Giants’ cornerback Jarvis Williams. The incident reached its cartoonish climax when Cowboys’ safety James Washington snatched a tripod from a nearby cameraman and got into a standoff with a few Giants. It would be the first and last signs of fight from Big Blue as they ended up on the wrong side of a 38-10 score.

The Cowboys of the early-mid ‘90s were brash, star-studded and a winner. Led by Aikman (current-HC Jason Garrett backed him up), Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Charles Haley and Daryl Johnston, they won three NFL Championships in four years (‘92-’93, ‘93-’94, ‘95-’96). They finished 12-4 that season and were eliminated by the eventual-champion San Francisco 49ers in the conference championship game.

The Giants went on to lose their next game to the Arizona Cardinals before winning their last six to finish with a respectable 9-7 record. They got their revenge on the Cowboys with a 15-10 Christmas Eve victory at Giants Stadium but missed the postseason.