The New England Patriots have played 42 seasons in the NFL since the 1970 merger, but they've only matched up against the New York Giants nine times in the regular season, plus, of course, once in the Super Bowl, four years ago. The all-time record stands at five wins apiece. They often met while one team was up and the other down, or occasionally when both were down, but the last three meetings have been the only times the two have squared off when they were both playoff-worthy (well, Super Bowl-worthy in fact). Here's a look back at all 10 games between the Giants and Patriots.
Oct. 18, 1970, Giants 16, Patriots 0: The first game took place at Harvard Stadium, in the Patriots' initial year in the NFL (but it was their last season calling themselves the Boston Patriots). The Giants finished the year with a 9-5 record and just missed out on the playoffs, while the Pats went a woeful 2-12. Each team featured a former Minnesota Vikings quarterback. Joe Kapp was in his only year with the Patriots, and last season in the NFL, after leading the Vikings to a Super Bowl appearance the previous season (and he was four years away from portraying the "Walking Boss" in the original Longest Yard, and, yes, it's the same Joe Kapp from this video), while Fran Tarkenton was in the fourth of his five seasons with Big Blue between stints with Minnesota. The Giants jumped out on top with a 14-yard Pete Gogolak field goal in the first quarter, and added a 28-yard Tarkenton to Clifton McNeil touchdown pass in the second. Gogolak booted two more field goals in the fourth quarter, as the Giants won easily. Tarkenton only threw 14 passes in the game, completing eight, for 103 yards. Ron Johnson led the ground game for the Giants, with 86 yards. Kapp threw for only 88 yards, but led his team in rushing, with 41 yards.
Sept. 22, 1974, Patriots 28, Giants 20: Four years later, the Giants had sunk to 2-12, while the Patriots improved from laughingstock to mediocre, with a 7-7 mark. This game was played at the Yale Bowl, the temporary home of the Giants. Two future San Francisco 49er quarterbacks matched up in this contest, with Norm Snead taking the snaps for the Giants and Jim Plunkett under center for New England. The Giants started the scoring when Snead hit Ron Johnson with a 21-yard touchdown pass, but the Patriots tied it when 5'5" Mack Herron caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Plunkett. A Joe Dawkins one-yard run put the Giants back on top, but New England tied it again with a Plunkett to Randy Vataha 38-yard pass. New England finally went ahead for good in the third quarter on a Sam Cunningham touchdown. Herron scored again before Johnson crossed the goal line for his second score of the game. Johnson caught 10 passes (for 74 yards) and Snead threw for 272 yards, but the Giants could only muster up 54 rushing yards.
Nov. 8, 1987, Giants 17, Patriots 10: They next met at the Meadowlands in the 15-game strike season, with both teams hovering near .500 (the Pats were 8-7, and the Giants 6-9). Giants quarterback Jeff Rutledge threw touchdown passes to Mark Bavaro and George Adams to give New York a 14-0 halftime lead. Steve Grogan made things interesting when he tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Greg Baty in the third quarter, but Raul Allegre extended the Giants' lead with a 19-yard field goal before Tony Franklin booted one of his own to finish the scoring. Lawrence Taylor was the star of the game, with two sacks and an interception (Grogan threw three, while Rutledge had two passes picked off).
Dec. 30, 1990, Giants 13, Patriots 10: This meeting at Foxboro Stadium was the first when at least one of the teams went to the Super Bowl at the end of season. In fact, they would only meet one more time when neither team didn't play in the title game. This last game of the season was a playoff tuneup for the eventual champion Giants, while the 1-15 Patriots were finishing the worst season in franchise history. Dave Meggett was the sparkplug for New York, gaining 112 all-purpose yards, while Jeff Hostetler was filling in for an injured Phil Simms, and threw for 123 yards while rushing for 82 more (the Giants piled up 213 rushing yards on the day). Meggett opened the scoring on a 17-yard pass from Hostetler, and Matt Bahr kicked one through the uprights, for a 10-0 lead. Irving Fryar caught a 40-yard pass from Tom Hodson and Jason Staurovsky kicked a 19-yarder to even things up. But Bahr warmed up for his NFC Championship Game last-second winning field goal by kicking a 27-yarder for the winning points.
Dec. 21, 1996, Patriots 23, Giants 22: It was the last game of the season once again, but this time the Patriots would go on to the Super Bowl (but lose to the Green Bay Packers), while the Giants finished 6-10. This was Dan Reeves' final game as coach of New York, while Bill Parcells returned to the Meadowlands to face the Giants for the first time. It was all Giants in the first half, as they put 22 points on the scoreboard just about every way imaginable -- a safety, a Charles Way one-yard rush, a couple of Brad Daluiso field goals and a Jason Sehorn 23-yard interception return. But Parcells would have the last laugh, as New England scored 23 unanswered points in the second half (including a 60-yard punt return by former Giant Dave Meggett). Playing from behind, the Patriots only gained 26 rushing yards, but Drew Bledsoe threw for 301 yards and tossed two touchdown passes, while rookie Terry Glenn hauled in eight passes, for 124 yards. Dave Brown only completed 14 of 34 passes, and would last just one more season with the Giants.
Sept. 26, 1999, Patriots 16, Giants 14: The last of the mediocre-season matchups, this one at Foxboro featured the 7-9 Giants against the 8-8 Patriots. New England actually had promise, though, going 6-2 in the first half, but they fell apart with a mirror-image 2-6 mark to end the year. Kent Graham was the middling quarterback du jour for the Giants, and he opened up the proceedings with a six-yard touchdown pass to LeShon Johnson. The Pats scored the next 16 points on a Terry Allen one-yard run and three Adam Vinatieri field goals. Tiki Barber caught a one-yard pass from Graham to finish the scoring.
Oct. 12, 2003, Patriots 17, Giants 6: Jim Fassel was in his last year with the Giants, as his team couldn't recover from their playoff meltdown in San Francisco the previous season, and went 4-12. Meanwhile, the Patriots were in the midst of winning their second of three Super Bowls in four years. The game at Gillette Stadium started with New England scoring first, when Matt Chatham recovered a fumble and ran it 38 yards into the end zone, and they would never relinquish the lead. The Giants meekly put six points on the board with a pair of Brett Conway field goals. In a repeat of his Super Bowl performance three years prior to this game, Kerry Collins tossed four interceptions. The Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin era was just around the corner . . .
Dec. 29, 2007, Patriots 38, Giants 35: The Giants earned all kinds of karma in this game. They had already clinched their position in the playoffs and could have rested their starters, but they played to win, attempting to defeat the then-15-0 Patriots and spoil their perfect season. The raucous game at the Meadowlands to close out the regular season was a scintillating foreshadowing of the Super Bowl to come, and it was a seesaw, with the two teams trading leads all night long. The Giants scored first on a seven-yard Manning to Brandon Jacobs touchdown pass. New England answered with a field goal and a Randy Moss touchdown. Domenik Hixon ran back a kickoff 74 yards for a score. And on and on it went until a 65-yard Tom Brady to Moss connection in the fourth quarter gave the Pats the lead for good (Moss broke the single-season touchdown record in the game, while Brady set a new passing touchdown record). Each team scored another touchdown, but New York fell just short. The Giants lost, but they learned they could stand toe-to-toe with the powerhouse Patriots, which served them well in their next meeting.
Feb. 3, 2008, Giants 17, Patriots 14 (Super Bowl 42): Lawrence Tynes broke the ice with a 32-yard field goal in Super Bowl XLII, played at University of Phoenix Stadium. Laurence Maroney crossed the goal line with a one-yard rush in the second quarter. Manning hit David Tyree with a five-yard pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Moss caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Brady. And Plaxico Burress hauled in the game-winning catch on a 13-yard pass from Manning. Brady was sacked five times, and Manning was named the MVP. Sounds kind of boring, doesn't it? I guess you had to be there.
New England Patriots vs. New York Giants@Super Bowl 42 (via tommybiggunns)
Nov. 6, 2011, Giants 24, Patriots 20: The final meeting between the two teams, at Gillette Stadium, was a Super Bowl rematch and a Super Bowl preview all in one. And to top things off, the Patriots hadn't lost at home since Nov. 30, 2008, when they fell to the Steelers. The game was scoreless at halftime, and from there it was a back-and-forth affair. The Giants scored 10 points in the third quarter, but the Patriots put the next 13 points on the scoreboard. Mario Manningham gave the Giants the lead once again in the fourth quarter, on a 10-yard pass from Manning, but Brady answered back, with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski. Finally though, Jake Ballard became a folk hero, making a sensational end-zone catch to win the game, as the Giants once again upset the seemingly invincible Patriots.