A Philadelphia Eagles Fan's Guide to Hating Rival Opponent Dallas Cowboys
It's no secret that Philadelphia Eagles fans hate the Dallas Cowboys. From the 1980 NFC Championship Game victory to the Bounty Bowls in 1989 to the playoff defeats in the 1990s, the Eagles and Cowboys have been rivals since the beginning of time.
But the rivalry has subsided over the past 15 years or so, and it's been practically nonexistent over the past few seasons.
That doesn't mean fans hate the Cowboys any less, though. No, that will never change. Dallas is the enemy until the end of time.
The following slides will highlight five historical moments in the rivalry of the Eagles and "America's Team."
1. Wilbert Montgomery Runs to Super Bowl
The greatest touchdown in Philadelphia Eagles history came by a player who wasn't even healthy enough to start the game.
Heading into the 1980 NFC Championship Game against the rival Dallas Cowboys, running back Wilbert Montgomery was nursing a sore knee, suffered a few days earlier when he collapsed during practice. He wasn't on the field or even the sidelines when the game started. But Montgomery came running out of the tunnel before the game's second play and head coach Dick Vermeil promptly inserted him into the game.
On second down, Montgomery took the carry and burst through an enormous hole on the right side of the line. He sprinted untouched into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
Montgomery rushed 26 times for 194 yards before sore legs forced him out of the game in the second half.
The Eagles won soundly, 20-7, advancing to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Linebacker Bill Bergey said he had never seen Vermeil prepare the team so well for a single game.
2. Bounty Bowls
Was it possible for a coach to hate another team as much as Buddy Ryan hated the Dallas Cowboys? The pinnacle of Ryan's hatred came in a pair of 1989 classics known as the Bounty Bowls.
In the first game, which occurred on Thanksgiving, the Eagles shut out the Cowboys 27-0. Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas, who had been cut by the Eagles earlier in the season, was knocked out of the game by Philly linebacker Jessie Small. Allegations that the Eagles had put a $200 bounty on Zendejas were never proven.
The highly anticipated rematch took place in Philly two weeks later. Combine snow, beer and an intense hatred for Dallas, and you have the recipe for chaos. That's basically what happened, as Philly fans spent the game pelting Cowboys players and coaches, refs, broadcast members and even Eagles players.
Even Ed Rendell, who would become governor of Pennsylvania, became involved in the melee, as he bet a fan $20 that the fan could not reach the field with a snowball (Rendell lost).
The Eagles responded by increasing security and banning beer sales for the season's final two games.
The Eagles have had some pretty incredible defensive plays against the Cowboys in their history. This is one of the very best.
A critical December 1995 matchup between the 10-3 Cowboys and 8-5 Eagles was a must-win for an Eagles team fighting for a playoff spot. The Eagles trailed early, 17-3, but scored two late touchdowns to tie the game.
With just over two minutes remaining, the Cowboys faced a 4th-and-1 on their own 29-yard line. That's an obvious punting decision for any team, even one with eventual league MVP Emmitt Smith at running back.
The Cowboys rarely played by the rules. They went for it on fourth down and the Eagles stuffed Emmitt at the line of scrimmage. But incredibly, the referees ruled that the two-minute warning had occurred before the play and Dallas was given another chance.
In a classic Barry Switzer coaching decision, the Cowboys chose to go for it again. The Eagles stuffed Emmitt again.
Four plays later, veteran kicker Gary Anderson nailed a 42-yard field goal to win the game. The victory was probably the best regular-season game during the Ray Rhodes era.
Sunday of Miracles. That's the only proper name for what happened on December 28, 2008.
To reach the playoffs, the Eagles (8-6-1) needed the Houston Texans to beat the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oh, and they also needed to beat the Dallas Cowboys (9-6). Incredibly, the Texans knocked off the Bears 31-24 and the Raiders overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun the Buccaneers.
What happened between the Eagles and the Cowboys was like something out of a dream. The Eagles destroyed the Cowboys 44-6, scoring 31 points in an 18-minute period between the second and third quarters. Brian Dawkins led the way, forcing a pair of fumbles. Chris Clemons returned one for a 73-yard touchdown, while Joselio Hanson took the other one back 96 yards.
The victory gave the Eagles the momentum to reach their fifth conference championship game in the past eight seasons. For the Cowboys, it was their ninth straight loss in a season finale. It also helped solidify Tony Romo's reputation as a choker, something he may never live down for the remainder of his career (he’s currently 1-3 in playoff games and 0-3 in winner-take-all season finales).
5. Destroyed in Season Finale, Playoffs
Never have I seen an Eagles team as unprepared for a big game as the season finale in 2009. With the NFC East division title on the line, the Eagles were crushed by the Dallas Cowboys, 24-0. The loss gave them the final wild-card spot in the playoffs instead of a first-round bye.
The Eagles faced the Cowboys the following week as well, and incredibly, the exact same thing happened. The Eagles were destroyed, 34-14, in a game that wasn't even as close as the score indicated.
A valid argument could be made that quarterback Donovan McNabb shouldn't have been the only one shipped out of Philly after the season. Andy Reid saw the Eagles continue a downward plunge for the next three seasons before he was finally stripped of his head coaching duties.