The 10 Greatest Games in Philadelpha Eagles History
On Sunday, Feb. 7, Philadelphia Eagles fans will be reminded for the 44th time that their team failed to achieve the ultimate goal.
There is no doubting the fact that being an Eagles fan has been difficult. The fans watched their beloved Birds lose in the NFC Championship three times in a row. They witnessed fog ruin a run at the Super Bowl, and they even endured watching every team in their current division win at three Super Bowls against their none.
Despite all of the pain and misery, there are 10 games that define who the Eagles truly are. The next 10 games you will hear about truly embody the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans.
To some there will be glaring omissions such as both Super Bowl appearances, but how can you define something as great from a fan's perspective when you lose.
Greatness in this case is defined through wins.
These are the 10 Greatest Games in Philadelphia Eagles History.
No.10: They Stopped Him Again
Barry Switzer wasn't exactly a smart coach.
Thanks to his unbelievable desire to provide a new definition to idiocy, Eagles fans were given one of...actually make that two of the best stops on fourth and one.
With the game tied at 17 and 2:10 left in the game, Switzer decided to roll the dice and go for it from his own 29-yard line.
Emmitt Smith got the handoff from Troy Aikman and went nowhere fast.
Luckily for Switzer the refs blew the play dead because the 2:00 warning occurred before the ball was snapped.
So after a nice commercial break Switzer learned absolutely nothing and went for it again.
The best part about the second play is that it was the exact same play they ran on the previous 4th-and-1.
At least this time Emmitt got airborne before getting stuffed. Before he could hit the cement Vet Turf, the entire stadium erupted and knew they witnessed a truly great moment.
Gary Anderson came on a couple plays later and booted one through from 42 yard to give the Birds a 17-14 win.
While the Cowboys finished the season with a Super Bowl victory over the Steelers later that year, Eagles fans took pride in seeing their defense rise to the occasion to stop their hated rival not once, but twice on 4th-and-1.
No.9: 1949 NFL Championship
Fresh off their first NFL title in 1948, Steven Van Buren and the Philadelphia Eagles traveled out the West Coast to play the Los Angeles Rams.
The game marked the first time Los Angeles hosted an NFL Championship and it might as well have been the last.
The players encounter a torrential downpour that left the field in an absolute mess.
The Eagles scored in the second quarter on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Thompson to Phil Pihos. The interesting thing about the play is the fact that after suffering a child-hood injury, Thompson was left blind in one eye and yet still found a way to play quarterback.
While the game was not incredibly exciting, it should be noted that any all championships must be included in the Philadelphia Eagles Top-10 Greatest Games List.
No.8: Miracle at the Meadowlands
With the Giants leading 17-12, offensive coordinator Bob Gibson didn't want Joe Pisarcik to get hurt taking knee.
Yes, the Eagles defense was trying to tee off on the guy when he took a knee on second down.
With :31 left in the game and a :30 play clock, the Giants had to run one more play.
Gibson dialed up a smooth little hand off from Pisarcik to Larry Csonka. That's when all hell broke loss.
Pisarcik fumbled the exchange to Csonka, the ball bounced up the hard turf at Giants Stadium and into the hands of Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards.
Edwards raced into the endzone and won the game for the Eagles.
As if the win wasn’t sweet enough, the aftermath was wildly entertaining as well.
Pisarcik needed a police escort to his car and Gibson was fired the next morning. But wait it gets even better. The play was so devastating to Gibson's career that he never coached football again. Not in the NFL, College, High School, Pee Wee, nothing. Done.
The guy won't even talk about the game or the play to this day.
The Giants went into the game with a 5-6 record and ultimately finished with a 6-10 mark.
Meanwhile the Birds entered the game at 6-5 and finished the season 9-7 and earned a berth in the playoffs.
No.7: The Body Bag Game
Running back Gerald Riggs, kick returner Walter Stanley, quarterback Jeff Rutledge, and linebacker Greg Manusky left the game due to injury. Somehow they all left the field upright.
Stan Humphries suffered a knee injury requiring a trip on the gurney. Fortunately for Humphries, he remembered his trip across the Vet turf.
Kick returner Joe Howard? Not so much.
Howard suffered a concussion and was out like a light.
“Man, he was snoring,” Eagles safety Wes Hopkins said about Howard's condition.
Things kept getting better or worse depending on your perspective.
With Mark Rypien already out of the game and two other quarterbacks get shoveled off the field, rookie running back Brian Mitchell got the nod to go under center.
The game was on Monday Night Football and it let Eagles fans stand up and say, "Yeah, that's what happens when you come into the Vet; get used to it."
Oh and I think the Eagles won.
No. 6: The Bounty Bowl
It's one thing to knock players out of games. It's entirely another thing to pay guys for hitting certain players on the opposition.
It really makes your stomach churn, huh?
Not in Philadelphia.
Buddy Ryan never won a playoff game in Philadelphia. That’s the same amount I won.
Yet he is loved in Philadelphia for his antics, including placing bounties on players. And not just any players, he put bounties on Cowboys.
In 1989 the Eagles traveled down to Dallas for Thanksgiving and drilled Dallas 27-0. It was the only shutout against the Cowboys in their Thanksgiving Day history, but that's not what Jimmy Johnson was whining about and that's not what Eagles fans were going nuts about.
The uproar occurred when it was reported that Buddy was piecing off players to take shots at kicker Luis Zendajas and quarterback Troy Aikman.
The payout was between $100 and $200. And even though it may not seem like a lot, it certainly motivated Jessie Small to knock Zendajas out of the game with a concussion after a kickoff.
Bet ya he never forgot to keep his on a swivel.
As for Troy Boy he was sacked twice and went 7-for-24 and threw for a staggering 54 yards.
Hey, it was a long season for the Cowboys as they went 1-15.
With 2:30 remaining in an NFC Divisional game, Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman faced a tough decision: Holding a 17-14 lead do you go for it on fourth and one with the ball on the Eagles 41 with the Eagles holding one timeout or do you punt?
Big Sherm decided to punt.
He tired to give punter Josh Bidwell some room to operate with as the Pack too a five-yard delay-of-game penalty.
Bidwell bombed it into the endzone and now the game was in the hands of Donovan McNabb, or so we thought.
On the first play Duce Staley took off for 22 yards, and the Birds were in business to do business.
And then it all went wrong.
In the blink of an eye, Don was on his back and the Eagles were facing a 4th-and-26.
The Don threw a frozen rope to some guy Fred, Akers booted a 37-yard field goal and the game went into overtime.
Following a smooth three-and-out, Brett Favre tossed up a punt to Brian Dawkins, which set up a 31-yard Akers field goal.
The Eagles erased a 14-0 first-quarter deficit but eventually went on to lose in the NFC Championship for the third consecutive year.
No. 4 2004 NFC Championship
Section 221, Row 1, Seat 15.
Even though I was perched up in the top level of the Linc, I could still feel the wrath unleashed by Brian Dawkins on Alge Crumpler.
At that moment you could mail it in because the Birds were not going to lose their fourth consecutive NFC Championship.
The Linc never reached a deafening level during that game, but you could sense the anticipation of the Eagles punching their ticket to Jacksonville and finally giving the city a team in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1980.
It was arguably Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson's finest three hours as he absolutely shut down Mike Vick and the Falcons offense.
In a city that prides itself on toughness, the way the Eagles won was a fitting way to get the proverbial monkey off their backs.
No.3: 1980 NFC Championship
I knew the 2004 NFC Championship was over when Dawkins laid out Crumpler.
Those who witnessed Wilbert Montgomery go 42 yards for the first score of the game knew right then and there that this game was over.
The win marked the Eagles first trip to the Super Bowl, and they did it against the hated Dallas Cowboys. If ever there was a perfect moment in Eagles history, this might have been it.
Head coach Dick Vermeil took the reins of a 4-10 team, and in four years he somehow turned them into a Super Bowl contender. They had been the laughing stock of the NFC prior to Vermeil's arrival and now they were taking it to "America's Team."
How important was Vermeil to the Birds? Well prior to his arrival in 1978 the last time the Eagles even made the playoffs was 1960.
No.2: 1948 NFL Championship
The first championship in Philadelphia Eagles history almost didn't happen, and they almost played without their main offensive threat.
A blizzard hit Philadelphia the night before the game and former NFL commissioner Bert Bell actually considered postponing the game.
Steve Van Buren was on the same page as he stayed at home thinking there was no way the game was going to happen.
While Van Buren was lounging at home, his team was freezing off their backside wondering where their star running back was. Head coach Earle "Geasy" Neale picked up the phone, called Van Buren and told him the game was on.
Before he could weave in and out of defenders, Van Buren had maneuver his way through city traffic and sidewalks before finally arriving at the game.
It was all worth it as Van Buren plunged into the endzone from five yards out to score the game’s only touchdown and capped the franchise's first Championship with a 7-0 win over the Chicago Cardinals.
To make it even better, the Eagles got sweet revenge against a Cardinals team that beat the Eagles in the previous season's league championship.
Also of note is the game marked the first time an NFL Championship game was televised.
No.1: 1960 NFL Championship
In 1958 the Colts and Giants gave us "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
Following that game the NFL infiltrated the lives of sports fans.
Chuck Bednarik soon became a household name and the Philadelphia Eagles were trying to make a name for themselves.
They accomplished that with a 17-13 win over Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers.
The loss marked Lombardi's only postseason defeat and the last time the Eagles were on top of the NFL.
The game was played in historic Franklin Field on Monday, Dec. 26. Back then the NFL actually avoided playing the game on Sunday out of respect for the Christmas Holiday.
Who knew the NFL would actually do such a thing?
The Packers had a chance to win at the end as they moved the ball into the Eagles’ red zone with less than a minute to play.
Running back Jim Taylor was stopped at the eight-yard line by Concrete Charlie who decided he might as well lie on top of the pile to prevent the Packers from getting off another play.
The strategy worked and the players walked off the field as champions. Little did they know they played in the "'Greatest Game in Philadelphia Eagles History.”