Whenever and wherever the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys play each other, it’s much more than another game. Eagles vs. Cowboys is the stuff of legend.
Ignore the records as this is a true definition of an NFL rivalry. OK, the ‘Boys lead the all-time series 68-52.
But a couple of them have a spot on the list of top 10 Eagles games.
Fittingly, the first of two regular-season meetings is this week’s Sunday Night Football game on NBC. Both teams head into the contest with identical 3-3 records.
And so, welcome to the official start of Eagles vs. Cowboys week. Let the hype and buildup begin.
On Monday, DraftKings Sportsbook had the Cowboys as an early 2-point favorite. It is, after all, a Cowboys home game.
Besides all the NJ sports betting chatter and trash-talking, the die hard Birds fans out there, including myself, are looking forward to another thrilling moment.
The Eagles have certainly delivered plenty of them over the years.
Here are my 10 hard to forget Eagles-Cowboys moments (from a Philly perspective, of course).
10. Never go home early
I prefer watching Eagles vs. Cowboys games in the comfort of home or, nowadays, at one of the 10 NJ sportsbooks. However, it’s hard to forget the 1999 game at Veterans Stadium.
This is the one in which Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin was stretchered off the field with a career-ending spinal cord injury. Yes, the Eagles fans even cheered when it happened (I wasn’t one of them).
Of course, the part I remember most is deciding to leave early in the fourth quarter. The Birds were trailing 10-0, and quite frankly I didn’t think they had any shot of winning.
My team proved me wrong. Then-quarterback Doug Pederson (yes, that Doug Pederson) and crew decided to make a comeback after I made my exit.
Two Norm Johnson field goals and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Charles Johnson with 1:07 remaining sealed the deal.
I listened to it all unfold on the car ride home.
9. Eagles vs. Cowboys and NFC East bragging rights
I have a tough time coming up with fond memories of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia.
The former University of Oregon head coach arrived with a lot of hype but did not exactly live up to those high expectations.
However, he did lead the Birds to an NFC East crown in his first season.
The 24-22 victory over Dallas on Dec. 29, 2013, was a memorable one (the losers clinched a Wild Card).
But Kelly did not do it alone. LeSean McCoy rushed for 131 yards and caught a three-yard touchdown pass from some guy named Nick Foles (in his first go-around with the Birds).
This was a back-and-forth battle. The Cowboys got within two points with 3:50 remaining in the game. When the home team needed it most, Brandon Boykin came up with a huge interception to clinch the win.
8. Stopping Emmitt Smith on 4th and 1
As much as I do not like the Cowboys, I have no problem admitting that Emmitt Smith is one of the most talented running backs that I’ve ever seen play.
His three Super Bowl rings are proof.
At the same time, I recall several times when the great Eagles defense made a huge stand against the Cowboys star.
The Dec. 10, 1995, game tops the list.
The score was tied 17-17, and the Cowboys were facing a 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter. Smith got the ball, but the defense stopped him.
Not so fast. It was the two-minute warning; no play.
So with another opportunity, the ‘Boys ran the same exact play. Same result!
The Birds got the ball back with a chance to win. Gary Anderson’s 42-yard field goal gave us fans another reason to celebrate.
Ironically, he had to kick it twice.
7. An Eagles vs. Cowboys Thanksgiving classic
I remember having my family over for Thanksgiving dinner in 2014. It happened to be the same year the Eagles were playing the Cowboys.
We moved the dining room table into the family room so we didn’t miss a second of the game.
It turns out we ended up enjoying two feasts, the one on the table and the one unfolding on the TV screen. We’re talking a 33-10 Birds victory.
McCoy was one of the stars in this one, rushing for 159 yards. including a 38-yard touchdown. The defense sacked Tony Romo four times.
And everybody went home full and thankful for the win.
6. Brian Westbrook takes a knee
Not every Eagles-Cowboys game is a high-scoring affair. A perfect example of this took place on Dec. 17, 2007.
The final score: Eagles 10, Cowboys 6.
But the most memorable part of this one is the score that never happened.
Running back Brian Westbrook could’ve easily scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. He had a 24-yard run but stopped just short of the end zone. He took a knee at the 1-yard line.
At the time, I was thinking, “Why not score the touchdown? You’re right there!”
Well, in the history of Eagles vs. Cowboys games, it ended up being a genius move. Dallas had no timeouts left. Quarterback Donovan McNabb took three knees, and the rest is history.
5. DeSean Jackson’s 2010 catch-and-run
I am one of the many Eagles fans out there hoping DeSean Jackson is finally healthy for Sunday night’s game.
There is a very good reason why. This speedy receiver is capable of making a big play every time he catches the ball.
A perfect example of this took place on Dec. 12, 2010, in Arlington, Texas.
With the Eagles vs. Cowboys game tied 20-20, the visitors started their drive on the 9-yard line. What happened next is one of the most exciting and longest offense plays in franchise history.
Michael Vick passed the ball to Jackson on what ended up being a 91-yard catch and run play. The Birds jumped out in front 27-20, with close to 12 minutes to play.
David Akers added a 28-yard field goal to make the score 30-20.
Dallas got within three points, but Jackson’s performance is one still worth talking about today. He finished with 210 receiving yards.
4. Bounty Bowl
When Buddy Ryan was coaching the Eagles, he gave fans and members of the media plenty to talk about.
This Thanksgiving Day game from 1989, aka the Bounty Bowl, is one that us Eagles fans have a tough time forgetting.
Ryan and the Eagles were accused of putting a $200 bounty on Dallas kicker Luis Zendejas.
The comments by Ryan and Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson that came afterward were almost as entertaining as the game.
By the way, Philadelphia also happened to win the game 27-0.
3. Bounty Bowl II
The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry got so heated in ’89, it’s hard to forget the sequel to the Bounty Bowl.
The hatred between these two teams resembled a WWE feud minus the body slams and chair shots.
Let’s be crystal clear, Eagles fans have pure hatred for the Cowboys. When Dallas came to Philly on Dec. 10, 1989 (two weeks after Bounty Bowl), it was like an enemy invasion.
Remember we are talking about a fan base that isn’t afraid to throw snowballs at Santa Claus.
The feisty Eagles fans were equipped with a full arsenal of snow and ice. The Bounty Bowl signs hanging around the stadium made it extremely clear that this one was going to get extremely ugly.
Anyone standing on the Cowboys sideline was an open target. Luckily, I was watching this one at home.
Trash talking is fine. Throwing snowballs and ice at innocent bystanders took things way too far. The CBS announcers sitting in the booth even found themselves ducking as they were calling the game.
Years later, this Birds 20-10 victory over the 1-12 Cowboys remains a heavy footnote to the Bounty Bowl saga.
2. Lito Sheppard’s 102-yard touchdown return
Lito Sheppard is not one of those players I would include on my list of greatest Eagles of all time.
However, when talking about the greatest plays in this rivalry, he accomplished something that I will never forget.
When these two teams played in 2006, everyone thought Terrell Owens (the former Eagle playing for the Cowboys) was going to hog the spotlight. After all, the game was taking place at Lincoln Financial Field.
Owens finished with just three catches for 45 yards.
Sheppard turned out to be the real playmaker in this one. He intercepted a Drew Bledsoe pass on the Eagles 6-yard line and ran 102 yards all the way to the end zone.
Eagles won 38-24.
1. Wilbert Montgomery leads the way
Nothing says classic better than an Eagles vs. Cowboys matchup for the NFC Championship game at the Vet. Talk about adding meaning to a storied rivalry.
Being a young kid at the time, I don’t exactly remember what I was doing on this extremely cold day (below freezing temps and strong wind gusts) in January 1981.
With the national spotlight now on the Birds, one of the greatest players ever to wear the green and white delivered big time. Running back Wilbert Montgomery dashed 42 yards to pay dirt and an early 7-0 advantage.
Two Tony Franklin field goals and a late 9-yard run by Leroy Harris sealed the 20-7 victory.
And FINALLY, my Eagles were going to the Super Bowl.
Of course, it ended up taking nearly another 40 years before I experienced the Super Bowl celebration in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.