The 6 Greatest Moments in the Eagles-Giants Rivalry
The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants renew their historical rivalry on Sunday night. Throughout history, the teams have battled in various venues, including the original Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds, Giants Stadium, Connie Mack Stadium, Franklin Field, the Vet and the Linc.
The Giants hold a 83-75-2 edge in the series. But in recent years, the Eagles have had the upper hand. From December 2008 through December 2010, the Eagles won six consecutive games. The teams split their two games in 2011.
Earlier this month I wrote an article about the 10 greatest moments in Eagles history. It was interesting how many of those moments involved games against the Giants.
So in this article I will review the greatest moments in the Eagles-Giants rivalry. You will, of course, notice several miracle finishes on this list.
That is timely because with the mess that the Eagles' offensive line and play-calling has been, they are going to need another miracle finish to defeat the Giants this week.
6. Clyde Simmons' Touchdown Run in Overtime
The date was November 20,1988.
The teams were competing for the NFC East title. In a tightly contested contest at Giants Stadium, Randall Cunningham brought the Eagles back to tie the game at 17-17 and send it into overtime.
The Eagles drove down the field in overtime and were lining up to kick the winning field goal. But Luis Zendejas' kick was blocked. He picked up the ball and lateraled it to lineman Clyde Simmons, who ran it in for the winning score.
While the teams finished with the same record, since the Eagles swept the two games with the Giants, they won the NFC East.
5. The Hit
The date was November 20, 1960.
The Eagles were playing the defending Eastern Conference champion Giants. Entering the game at Giants Stadium, the Eagles were 6-1, the Giants 5-1-1. The winner would have the inside track to the championship game.
The Eagles were leading 17-10, but the Giants were driving to tie the score. Charlie Connerly threw a short pass to halfback Frank Gifford, who hauled it in and turned to run upfield.
But just as he turned, Chuck Bednarik leveled him with what has been called "The Hit." The Eagles recovered the fumble, won the important game and went on to win the NFC Championship.
Gifford missed not only the rest of the season but all of the next season as well. When he did return, he was no longer a running back, but a wide receiver instead.
4. The Westbrook Punt Return
The date was October 19, 2003.
In this one, the Eagles trailed the Giants 10-7 with a minute and a half left in the game. The Giants punted to Brian Westbrook and he took over from there, returning it 84 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
This game turned the Eagles' season around. They went on to play in the NFC Championship game.
3. The Miracle at the Meadowlands
The date was November 19, 1978.
Joe Pisarcik just needed to take a knee to run out the clock. But for some reason, he decided to try to hand the ball off to Larry Csonka. Why? I guess we will never know.
Herm Edwards picked up the fumble and the Eagles snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
When you watch the video, notice that they were already rolling the credits since the game was almost over. This game helped the Eagles earn a wild-card playoff berth.
2. Closing Down the Meadowlands
The date was January 11, 2009.
The Eagles had managed to slip into the playoffs with a wild-card spot. They had won the wild-card game and now had to play the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants in the next round.
The day was brutally cold. I know since I was there. I had on so many layers of clothes it was nearly impossible to move in them all. I had on a facemask, two hats and a hood. I took a train to the game, got there an hour before kickoff and just walked around in circles in the stadium to try to keep warm.
The Eagles' defense dominated the day. The Giants only managed three field goals and a safety. The Eagles won 23-11.
In the fourth quarter after a scramble for a first down, Donovan McNabb ended up on the Giants' sidelines, where he picked up headphones and tried to call the Giants' coaching staff upstairs. He was hit with a penalty for his antics, but it had no impact.
As the Giants fans left early to escape the bitter cold, we Eagle fans hung around and kept singing Fly Eagles Fly until we got hoarse.
1. DeSean Jackson's Punt Return
The date was December 19, 2010.
The Eagles trailed the Giants 31-10 with a little more than eight minutes left in the game. The Eagles made a strong rally and managed to tie the score at 31.
With 14 seconds left, the Giants were forced to punt. Tom Coughlin instructed his punter Matt Dodge to kick the ball out of bounds, but Dodge had a better idea. He punted a low line-drive to DeSean Jackson, who took it to the house on a 65-yard touchdown run.
While you are watching this video, watch the block that Jason Avant put on Zak DeOssie, the long snapper. The collision was so violent that Avant suffered a concussion on the play.
Then be sure to watch Tom Coughlin throw down his play list and run on the field to chew out Dodge. Priceless!
It just doesn't get any better than this.