The two teams have been fierce opponents since Oct, 9, 1960, when the Redskins won the first-ever match-up 26-14. Since then, the rivalry has included on-air pranks, dozens of hungry chickens and an vaguely obscene chant.
If you’re getting reacquainted with this never-ending conflict, here are five back-to-basics facts about the rivalry (after the jump):
1. The rivalry originated beyond the field. The rivalry dates back to Texas oilman Clint Murchison trying to purchase and relocate the Washington Redskins under previous owner George Marshall. Murchison failed, but bought the song rights for “Hail to the Redskins” in 1958 for $2,500.
2. Cowboy Chicken Club. Two years later, in 1960, Cowboys fans released dozens of hungry chickens onto the field to chide Redskins owner George Marshall for ducking out on selling his team to Murchison. (Cowboys won the game 38-10.)
3. The “replacements” enjoy a Dallas win. On Oct. 19, 1987, the Redskins upset Dallas 13-7 and did it without any veterans or their starting quarterback. (During that year’s NFL strike, more Dallas players crossed the picket line than any other team.) “For all but a select few, this was their final NFL game. But it also was their greatest, no matter how sloppy it looked,” wrote Christine Brennan on the game. The 2000 movie “The Replacements” is loosely based on the 1987 Redskins.
4. Super Bowl madness. In the rivalry’s 1990s heyday, the teams traded Super Bowl wins — and stunning losses — in front of nationally televised audiences. On Dec. 22, 1996, the Redskins defeated the Cowboys 37 - 10 in their final game at RFK Stadium. From Michael Powell and Maryann Haggerty that day:
“After today, after one final clash with those hated Dallas Cowboys, it's all in the past tense. Next year, the Redskins decamp 4.9 miles and an incalculable psychic distance away to Prince George's County.”
5. 100 meetings and counting. Dec. 19, 2010, marked the 100th meeting between the two teams, featuring a benched starting quarterback (Donovan McNabb), a backup who helped the team rally (Rex Grossman) and a fourth quarter loss (33-30) by a Dallas field goal. Tonight’s game could be a little different, with Grossman in starting position and the Redskins heading to Dallas with a 2-0 season.
And, if you plan on watching, what would you consider the top three Monday Night Football moments? Redskins reporter Mike Jones is curious, and you can reach him with your ideas by tweeting to @MikeJonesWaPo. His video highlight picks are here: