There are a lot of great rivalries in the NFL. Some are great because both teams have been great for so long like the Patriots/Colts rivalry. Other rivalries are more about two teams that flat-out don't like each other like the Raiders/Chiefs or Packers/Bears. Only one rivalry really generates a true hatred of one another.
The Cowboys, for the most part, have been the privileged, more talented team. They are white collar and they are glamorous. The Eagles have always been a blue-collar-type team that could not care less how popular or how talented the Cowboys are.
The rivalry reminds you at times of Rocky Balboa versus Apollo Creed. In the first Rocky movie, Creed was everything that the Cowboys are thought of—arrogant, glamorous, overrated and kind of a pretty boy.
The Eagles are Rocky Balboa. They are blue collar, they are underrated and they ain't pretty. They have proven over time that as the great Italian Stallion once said "Nothing's over 'til it's over." The Eagles have that never-say-die attitude.
This year's Eagles team has contradicted some of those analogies a bit. They went out and got some big-name free agents and were overrated beyond reason. With guys like Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson, they became too Hollywood, more so because of the national media than their own thinking but it happened nonetheless.
Now the Eagles are on the outside of the playoff race looking in. They will come out with a nothing-to-lose-type attitude and there's no arrogance left, only humility.
Sunday night's matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys should provide us with more memorable touchdowns. From Timmy Smith's two-touchdown performance in 1966 to DeSean Jackson's 91-yard scamper that ended with him falling backwards in the end zone, this rivalry has been full of both hate and excitement.
A September matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles in 1991 may have been the most dominating performance by a defensive line ever. Troy Aikman was sacked 11 times including 4.5 from Clyde Simmons.
The Eagles' stout defense held the NFC's leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, to just 44 yards and the Cowboys offense to just 45 passing yards. It was the beginning of one of the greatest seasons for a defense as Buddy Ryan's crew finished first against the pass and the run led the league with 55 sacks and 48 forced turnovers.
A first-quarter touchdown pass by Jim McMahon to Fred Barnett was all the Eagles needed as they shut out the Cowboys 24-0 on the road.
The game that was supposed to be all about Terrell Owens' return to Philadelphia, another receiver stole the spotlight in a critical moment.
Midway through the third quarter in a 2006 matchup against the Cowboys, the Eagles found themselves down 21-17 in a critical division matchup. Down at their own 13-yard line, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb threw an absolute bomb to Hank Baskett for an 87-yard touchdown.
The play put the Eagles back on top and turned the game around. The Cowboys, who managed to score 21 points in the first half, scored just one Mike Vanderjagt field goal the rest of the way.
The win put the Eagles at 4-1, and it turned out they would need every single one of those early four wins after Donovan McNabb tore his ACL in a Week 11 game against the Tennessee Titans. Jeff Garcia filled in the rest of the way and after a horrid start in Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts, the Eagles won their final five games and reached the Divisional Round when they were knocked out by the New Orleans Saints.
Everyone knew in 2002 that Brian Westbrook was one of the most versatile backs in the league. No back was a better receiver at that time and he was also one of the best pure running backs in the game. In a Week 3 matchup, Westbrook added another element to his game—his passing ability.
After the Eagles established a solid 27-10 lead in the third quarter, Andy Reid got creative and ran a trick play where Westbrook thew a great sidearm strike to Todd Pinkston for a 25-yard touchdown. The play stuck a fork in the Cowboys that day as the Eagles finished off the 'Boys 44-13.
The 2002 Eagles finished at 12-4 and again finished one win shy of the Super Bowl. The win against Dallas showed the league how versatile the Eagles offense can be. Two different players threw touchdowns to three different players.
Both teams went in opposite directions as the Eagles went on to 12-4 and the Cowboys finished at 5-11.
Two things ended in 1979: disco and the Cowboys domination of the Eagles. The Eagles were in the middle of a three-game losing streak after a 6-1 start and looked poised to lose four in a row.
The Cowboys knocked out Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski in the second quarter but backup John Walton threw a 29-yard strike to Charlie Smith to break an early 7-7 tie. The game would be back and worth until a 37-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run by Eagles running back Wilbert Montgomery put the Cowboys away for good and the Eagles won their first game ever in Texas Stadium 31-21.
The Eagles would fall short of the Super Bowl that year but would reach their first Super Bowl the following year. This game was a major milestone and confidence-builder that propelled the Eagles into an NFC Championship in 1980.
A 2010 Week 14 matchup between these two hated division rivals provided us with another thriller. Both teams would go back and forth until DeSean Jackson did what only DeSean Jackson can do.
Jackson broke a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter as he turned a nine-yard pass into a 91-yard touchdown that finished with him falling backwards in the end zone as Terence Newman gave up on the play.
The Eagles would add a David Akers field goal and would hold on late to a 30-27 victory. The win was part of a stretch where the Eagles won six of seven games after their bye week, which propelled them to another division title and Andy Reid's ninth trip to the playoffs as Eagles head coach.
The Eagles followed their first loss of the 2004 season with a statement game at the hands of the Cowboys. Donovan McNabb threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns as the Eagles blew out the Cowboys 49-21.
The game was highlighted by the longest scramble in NFL history. McNabb ran around the entire backfield for a record 14.1 seconds before he threw a strike to Freddie Mitchell for a 60-yard pass play. Mitchell would be brought down inside the 20 and the drive would end with a one-yard touchdown run by Brian Westbrook.
The touchdown put the Eagles up 35-14 and put the Cowboys away for good in the first half. The game put the rest of the division away as well as the Eagles finished seven games ahead of the closest team in the NFC East.
Hank Baskett wasn't the only Eagle to have a memorable touchdown in a Week 5 matchup versus the Cowboys in 2006. Baskett put the Eagles up 24-21, but the Cowboys were driving late in the fourth, down just seven.
Lito Sheppard picked off his second pass from Drew Bledsoe, the second being in the end zone. Sheppard returned it for 102 yards for a touchdown. The pick-six capped off a memorable defeat of the Cowboys and ex-Eagle Terrell Owens' first trip to Philadelphia since the Eagles part ways with the controversial receiver in 2005.
The Week 17 matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys was supposed to be another thriller. Thanks to losses by potential NFC wild-card teams, Tampa Bay and Chicago, the Eagles were one win away for a miracle last-second playoff spot. The only team standing in their way was the Dallas Cowboys who also were playing for a playoff spot.
The game started off slow as both teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter. In the second quarter the Eagles offense caught fire thanks to two Correll Buckhalter touchdowns and one Brent Celek score. The Eagles took a 27-3 lead into the second half when it was the defense that caught fire.
The Cowboys were driving early on in the third quarter until a Brian Dawkins strip-sack of Tony Romo was returned for a touchdown by Chris Clemons. This would not be the last time Dawkins would make a huge play on defense that would lead to a defensive touchdown.
On the following drive, the defense struck again. This time it was Joselio Hanson benefiting from a Brian Dawkins forced fumble. Marion Barber fumbled inside the 5-yard line and Hanson returned it for 96 yards.
The Eagles turned what was supposed to be a tight battle for the final playoff spot into a complete laugher. The Eagles won 44-6 and eventually fell short of the Super Bowl in the NFC Championship game three weeks later.
The Philadelphia Eagles were on a 21-year drought between championship games. The Eagles upset the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship and in 1981 the Eagles were one game away from their first trip to the Super Bowl. Their opponent: the Dallas Cowboys.
The Eagles had split their games with the Cowboys during the regular season, including a 35-27 loss in the final week of the season. It was important for the Eagles to get off to a good start.
Eagles running back Wilbert Montgomery turned a simple run up the middle into a 42-yard touchdown where he was untouched in the first quarter. The Eagles would never trail in the NFC title game as Montgomery's touchdown gave the Eagles the edge early and they carried it to a big win as they won 20-7 and earned their first trip to the Super Bowl.