The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys will play for the 10th time at AT&T Stadium Sunday night. Eli Manning is very familiar with the $1.3 billion state-of-the-art arena known affectionately as Jerryworld.

The Giants and Cowboys played in the then-named Cowboys Stadium’s first regular season game on Sept. 20, 2009. A crowd of 105,121 assembled to see their beloved Cowboys get their first win in their new digs over a hated division rival.

In a game that saw nine lead changes, the Giants won 33-31 on a 37-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal as time expired that left Jerry Jones stunned in his luxury box.

Manning had one of his better games, going 25-of-38 for 330 yards and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 110.6. At the conclusion of the game, Manning signed his name on a column in the visitor’s locker room. It simply read, “Eli Manning 9-20-09 ’33-31’ First Win in the New Stadium”.

Manning’s autographing the column was seen as sacrilegious in some circles, mainly among Cowboys players and fans. No. 10 initially tried to downplay it.

“It’s a pretty common thing. I was asked to sign it,” Manning said in an interview with the Newark Star-Ledger at the time. “It wasn’t like I just went there and signed it. I didn’t have a pen on me or anything.”

At that point defensive end Justin Tuck was heard yelling, “Good job, Eli!”

Manning was asked to sign the wall by a Cowboys locker room employee. The goal was to start a wall filled with players’ signatures similar to ones he signed inside Lincoln Financial Field, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and other stadiums. He understood some people would take it the wrong way.

“Yeah, I’ve heard a few things about it,” Manning said. “But they’ll eventually get over it.”

Manning’s signature in the visiting locker room injected some new venom into the rivalry, whether intentional or not. After that stadium christening win, the Giants won their next three games at Cowboys/AT&T Stadium. They hold the lifetime edge 5-4 over Dallas in their current home.

Manning didn’t want to speak of the significance of playing in AT&T Stadium when asked about it Wednesday. Instead, he talked about playing in the NFC East as a whole.

“It’s a divisional game,” he said. “I’ve played a lot in those building in Dallas, Philly, Washington. It’s about being in the division and you got to win those divisional games.”

– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.

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