ALBANY -- John Mara walked through the cafeteria at training camp yesterday with a bandage on his forehead. Before he could be asked what had happened, he already had his answer ready. "You should see what Jerry Jones looks like," he said with a grin, pointing to the afflicted area.
Later, appearing on ESPN Radio in New York, the Giants owner said that he had not yet heard the infamous Jones line where he tells Cowboys fans to come watch his team "beat the Giants' [butts]."
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"I have been so caught up in the Tebow coverage that I haven't had time for anything else," Mara said.
As far as combination punches go, that was a pretty good one. Two rivals, two quick jabs. Bang, bang.
The actual games are still over a month from starting, but the war of words around the NFL is in midseason form and much of it is swirling around the Giants. Mara's quips aside, the Giants have been slow to respond to any taunts from around the league, even those from within the division.
Michael Vick, quarterback of a team that has never won a Super Bowl, notes that the Eagles may be poised to become a dynasty. The defending champions, who admitted to setting dynastic goals of their own this season, ignore it.
Then Jones grabs a microphone at the start of Cowboys training camp in California and tells the crowd to "come to that [Cowboys] stadium and watch us beat the Giants' [butts]."
Once again, the Giants take it with stoic silence for the most part. "Because talk is cheap," Justin Tuck said Wednesday. "Play the game."
Even Martellus Bennett, the former Cowboys tight end who less than a week ago professed ill will toward his old team and a desire to kick their butts, clammed up on Jones' comments. "I have nothing to say about that," Bennett said, perhaps for the first time in his life.
"I don't think a lot of guys on our football team need bulletin-board material to be excited and ready to play against a division opponent," said another former Cowboy, Chris Canty.
Jones, like Mara, appeared on the radio Wednesday and stood behind his comments directed toward the Giants. "I want everyone on our team with their mind on the Giants because that's who we open up with, that's our first real deal, and that's why they're getting my attention," Jones said.
The Giants beat the Cowboys twice last year, including in the regular-season finale at MetLife Stadium to win the NFC East en route to winning the Super Bowl. The Giants are also 3-0 all-time at Cowboys Stadium. So do the Giants think they'll get their butts kicked?
"I hope not," Eli Manning said. "I don't get worried about that stuff. We have a lot of work to do. We are going to concentrate on getting better and working hard. Obviously we have them the first game of the season and we'll go from there."
The Cowboys do, in fact, come to MetLife Stadium on Sept. 5 to open the 2012 season. They then host the Giants on Oct. 28, the game Jones invited those fans to for the butt-kicking.
Mara RSVP'd to that challenge in his radio interview, intimating that his team will provide more fight on the field than it has with its sound bites.
Said Mara, "We'll show up."