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Jerry Jones savoring every bit of Cowboys’ ‘sweet’ humbling of Giants




Jerry Jones savoring every bit of Cowboys’ ‘sweet’ humbling of Giants

The end zones are painted blue with “GIANTS” in white capital letters in the center flanked by a script lowercase “ny” in white. 

“METLIFE STADIUM” stares down at you from the top of the stadium in white. 

But so many of the blue-collar people of this area, to whom Joe Judge once vowed that his team would represent, turned their back on the Giants on a rock-bottom afternoon when Cowboys players all but stood on Jerry Jones’ shoulders and shouted at the top of their lungs: “HOW ’BOUT THOSE COWBOYS FANS!” 

“We have a lot of Cowboy fans here in New York, and it just felt good to give ’em something to cheer about,” Jones told The Post after stopping in the press box hallway, not far from where John Mara kicked over those garbage cans earlier this season. 

“Make no mistake about it: One of the reasons that I came into the NFL was Alan Ameche, was the Polo Grounds, was the aura and the story that the Giants represent and what it’s done for our league, and I’m not trying to be sweet …” Jones said. 

Back in 1996, following a November win over Jones’ Cowboys, the late, great Wellington Mara said with a smile: “As I said, it’s always nice to see arrogance humbled.“ 

Jerry Jones waves to fans before the Giants' 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Jerry Jones waves to fans before the Giants’ 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Getty Images

Except now Jones, and not Judge, has the team that will punch you in the nose for 60 minutes, and he couldn’t help but flash back to January 1994, when Emmitt Smith willed the Cowboys to an overtime win over the Giants with a separated shoulder to secure a home playoff game. 

“I was telling somebody today, I can’t look at that field without seeing Emmitt Smith had the game he had when he knocked his shoulder down and let us go,” Jones said. “But we have so much respect for this organization and the story behind it that makes this thing sweet and that felt good to hear those Cowboy fans.” 

I asked him if it was surreal or strange hearing 40, maybe even 50 percent of the fans, rooting for his Cowboys. 

“I’ve been here when I didn’t hear ’em, let’s put it like that,” Jones said, and smiled. “But again, at the expense of New York having their challenges this year, I’m aware of that. … I was very concerned about this game. As you know, we know any of us can get the other one on any given day. But I was proud of our team and proud to have 10 wins.” 

Judge has 10 wins as well … in 30 games. 

“It’s really with respect that I say I was glad to see those Cowboy fans because of the respect I have for the Giants, and just what they are to this league,” Jones said, “and the fact that one of the best feelings I had when I got in the NFL was knowing I was gonna get to be a part of competing against the Giants. And [Tom] Landry, of course, played here and came from here, and I’m well appreciative of what the Maras have brought, so a day like today feels good.” 

Cowboys fans overpowered Giants fans during the Giants' 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Cowboys fans overpowered Giants fans during the Giants’ 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Robert Sabo
Cowboys fans overpowered Giants fans during the Giants' 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Cowboys fans overpowered Giants fans during the Giants’ 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Getty Images

It felt so good that Jones showed Mara some mercy and could find no reason whatsoever to kick him and the Giants, 21-6 losers, while they are down and out at 4-10. 

“I sure think candidly I know how he feels,” Jones said. “You just take this stuff, and should take it, completely personal, and I do. He puts it out there like that, and we do too. 

“And so yeah, it’s no fun to have to wear a season like this, but as we all know, every dog has his day in this business.” 

He chuckled at the end of that thought, because he is the dog having his day, while Mara fields a team with rabies. 

John Mara walks through the MetLife Stadium tunnels following the Giants' 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
John Mara walks through the MetLife Stadium tunnels following the Giants’ 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Robert Sabo

Mike Glennon (13-24, 99 yards, 3 INTs) versus the dominant Cowboys defense was never going to be a fair fight, and Judge of all people turning into Riverboat Joe on fourth-and-1 at his 34 and again on fourth-and-1 at his 29 in the third quarter told you as much. Glennon was so horrific that Judge should have turned to a more efficient Jake Fromm earlier than garbage time. The Giants wouldn’t have won the game, but maybe they could have covered at least. 

“We’re the best defense,” Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs said, “for sure.” 

Micah Parsons didn’t have to wreck the game because DeMarcus Lawrence, who forced Saquon Barkley’s first NFL lost fumble in 791 touches and helped stop Glennon on one of the fourth-and-1s and deflected a Jourdan Lewis interception, was the one who did. 

“When you play the Dallas Cowboys, you gotta play all 11 of us,” Lawrence said. 

And all the Cowboys fans who love a winner. 

“When you see your defensive players going like this on a road game,” said Mike McCarthy, using his arms to mimic crowd exhortation, “that’s special.” 

Ezekiel Elliott’s 13-yard TD run in the first quarter was cheered vociferously by Cowboys fans and/or by resigned Giants fans who started him in the fantasy playoffs. 

“When we’re winning,” Lawrence said, “that’s what’s gonna happen.” 

It happened over and over again, even at the end, when Diggs and Randy Gregory implored Cowboys fans to make noise as Fromm threatened. 

Diggs’ 10th interception in the end zone against Kenny Golladay (3-53)? 

“Our fans do a great job every week showing up to away games, making feel like a home game for us,” Diggs said. “It really does help us.” 

I asked Diggs: It didn’t seem like a home game, did it? 

“Yeah it did,” he said. 

A Giants fan argues with a Cowboys fan.
A Giants fan argues with a Cowboys fan.
Robert Sabo

Dak Prescott’s 1-yard TD pass to Dalton Schultz sealed the Giants’ fate late in the third quarter. 

“There’s nothing like when it’s third down, on the road, for their offense and the crowd gets loud,” Prescott said. “That’s one of my favorite parts about being a Dallas Cowboy, the fans that we have and the support that we have no matter where we go.” 

The Cowboys now have an intra-team challenge — touchdowns versus turnovers. Defense has taken a 4-2 lead. 

“We have a little bet going on,“ Prescott said. “Defense is kicking our ass, but it’s turnovers versus touchdowns that we created this week. They obviously won this one, but we’ll make sure that it carries over.” 

In the adding-insult-to-injury department: Prescott wasn’t entirely satisfied with only taking what the Giants would give him. 

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Prescott said. “The defense is doing a great job giving us the ball in plus territory, and we’ve gotta find a way to get in the end zone, simple as that.” 

Judge’s Giants have been saying that for two years. 


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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