The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys are entangled in one of football's finest rivalries, producing countless heart-stopping games and nail-biting division races over the years. Of course, with such a storied history comes a uniquely bellicose culture of back-and-forthness.
Be it a boisterous Martellus Bennett or a tongue-in-cheek Tiki Barber, there has been no shortage of memorable press exchanges between Big D and Big Blue.
Amani Toomer, New York's all-time receiving yardage leader and a member of the Giants' ring of honor, hasn't shied away from the spotlight since retirement. Last month, Toomer called out former teammate Eli Manning, saying that "[Cowboys quarterback] Tony Romo is probably, if you look at him statistically, the best quarterback in the NFC East."
Admittedly, much of this conversation was magnified and taken out of context, but it still stands as one of the most outlandish comments in this rivalry's history because of how it rubbed Giants fans.
There had never been much competition or comparison of Romo and Manning before Toomer's remarks. Now, another facet is added to the feud.
Having seen the view from both sides, ex-Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett is already feeding the fire as a member of the G-Men this summer.
At Giants training camp, Bennett told reporters, "I just want to kick those guys' asses," later adding, "I'm kind of an asshole, I kind of hate everybody, honestly, in the NFL."
For a player that's been tagged as a career underachiever, these are certainly strong words. We'll see just how Bennett fares against the 'Boys come September.
In a 1994 Monday Night Football clash, Giants safety Tito Wooten laid a hard hit on Cowboys receiver Alvin Harper at the tail-end of the first half. The result was gridiron bedlam that launched the New York-Dallas rivalry into full swing, with multiple punches and subsequent fines landed. At one point, Dallas safety James Washington stole a sideline camera and brandished it as a weapon against opposing Giants players.
When asked about the incident after the game, Harper noted that "he (Wooten) cheap-shotted me. All I've got to tell him is the last game of the season is in New York and somebody is going to get hurt."
Such candor is always shocking from a professional athlete, especially when threats of violence are involved. These fighting words set the stage for increased intensity in the Giants-Cowboys rivalry.
True, this one had good intentions and doesn't have much to do with the Giants' and the Cowboys' on-field rivalry, but such egregious butchering of the English language gets former Dallas 'back Emmitt Smith on this list.
Smith stated that New York's Eli Manning has been "given the rice of passage" on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. The NFL's all-time rushing leader may have been unstoppable in pads and a helmet, but he certainly struggled with a teleprompter.
The idea of Owens as a published author, mixed with the fact that a man who divorced his pregnant wife called another player selfish, makes this a very outlandish exchange indeed.
After the Jimmy Johnson-lead Cowboys ostensibly ran up the score on the rival Giants in a 1992 Thanksgiving matchup, the famed coach told the New York Daily News that “I don't want whiners on our football team...in all honesty, a classy football team doesn’t cry and whine about somebody beating them up.”
While today's NFL boasts a myriad of boisterous, outspoken head coaches, coaches of the 90s rarely dished out such harsh words. Moreover, the quote is splayed with irony as the Cowboys dealt with many arrests, suspensions and other off-field antics during their Super Bowl-clad dynasty years.
A decade later, the Cowboys seemed to turn their back on Johnson's idea of whining.
Last year, a peak year for the Giants-Cowboys rivalry, Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware scoffed at Big Blue defensive end Justin Tuck, noting that "maybe he wants to play" for Big D.
Ware added that “everybody wants to play for the Cowboys. If I wasn’t playing for Cowboys, I’d call [Cowboys Stadium "crappy"] too, because I want to play for them.”
America's Team may be an enticing outfit for some, but not for an acknowledged Cowboy hater. Such a memorable exchange will likely carry over for 2012.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw issued some harsh predictions earlier this year, stating that their NFC East rivals will never win a championship with quarterback Tony Romo under center.
"If the fans don't believe it, the team doesn't. They're kinda doubtful with Romo," he said, also mentioning that "I don't think they believe it, and they're America's Team. If America don't believe it..."
Perhaps Bradshaw really does have a pulse on the Dallas fanbase, but far more likely, he's stirring up more Opening Day tension.
Former Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey was never one to mince words during his time in the Big Apple. In one notable circumstance in 2003, the four-time Pro Bowler used a homophobic slur to describe then-Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
Shockey also added that "I'll make him pay when we play them." Still, Dallas won both contests against the Giants that season.
At a pep rally this summer, Jerry Jones, the braggadocious owner of the Cowboys, made a bold statement.
After a disappointing 8-8 season, Jones said that his Cowboys will knock off the defending champs this year, telling fans that "y'all should come to that (Cowboys) stadium and watch us beat the Giants' ass."
Considering the way 2011 panned out for both rivals, this is certainly outlandish. Of course, time will tell if Jones' words ring true. But, for now, they seem like an awful lot of talk.