All the images were strikingly familiar: A slew of legends past, returning in a late-December homecoming; all the pomp and circumstance of the final game at a storied venue; a bitter loss for the home team and deafening boos emanating from the disappointed, exiting faithful.
We could just as easily be describing the final game at Texas Stadium, on December 20, 2008, a shocking 33-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. But, alas, we're not. We're describing the scene at Giants Stadium yesterday, as the Giants were whipped like dogs in the final game at the 37-year-old venue. The final score: Panthers 41, Giants 9.
This wasn't just a loss.
It was a pride-scarring beat-down, and it felt nice in its familiarity for Cowboys fans, who watched a similar scene unfold in Irving last year. Carolina's Jonathan Stewart rushed for 206 yards, the most ever surrendered to one player in the 282 games in the history of the stadium.
Eli Manning was sacked four times, threw two interceptions, and fumbled thrice, with one being lost. Brandon Jacobs managed 1 yard on six carries.
In comparison, 33-24 doesn't seem quite so bad.
Interestingly, the Cowboys won the first ever regular season game at the venue, a favor New York returned this season, as Cowboys Stadium opened in week 2 to a 33-31 Giants victory. In the wake of the win, Manning caused something of a stir when he signed a cinder block wall in the visitors locker room.
This brings us to Carolina's Na'il Diggs, who, acting as a sort of operative of poetic justice, signed the wall at Giants Stadium after the win, "Na'il Diggs, 53, Panthers!!" Asked about the autograph, Diggs smiled, "Before they blow it up."
Safe to say, the city of Dallas has a new favorite Carolina Panther.