How much material can I get out of Dallas Week? The limit does not exist.
I’m going to squeeze as much content out of my brain until Monday night.
Here’s a fun one: my top Eagles-Cowboys moments. When I do similar posts, some people in the comments or on Twitter get mad I didn’t post certain things. Well, they’re my top moments.
I also don’t like writing about games that I didn’t witness myself in circumstances like this. The greatest Eagles-Cowboys moment is obviously Wilbert Montgomery’s run and the Birds’ win over Dallas in the 1980 NFC Championship Game. I have family friends who were at the game. It’s all they talk about. I even wrote about it a little earlier in the week in a mailbag. Still, I don’t have this innate connection with that game since I wasn’t born for another 14 years.
I usually cap these lists from 2001 on given that’s the first season I have concrete memories as a fan. Sure, the “THEY STOPPED ‘EM AGAIN!” moment in 1995 is up there. The Bounty Bowl(s) too. I also love the Eagles’ fake knee down during the strike-shortened 1987 season.
Here are my choices from my time rooting for the Birds:
5. 2006, Eagles sweep season series
This is cheating a bit, but 2006 was an incredible spark for the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry in the mid 2000s.
In Week 5, Terrell Owens made his return to Philadelphia after his short stint in midnight green went up in flames. The Eagles wore their white jerseys at home. I love doing that at home against Dallas. That’s been a move dating back to the 1980 NFC Championship Game and something that continued through the Buddy Ryan years and onward. The Cowboys just look a tad off in their navy jerseys. It’s a strange bit of psychological warfare that I eat up like catnip.
It was a back-and-forth game at Lincoln Financial Field. Trailing 31-24 with less than a minute remaining, the Cowboys were driving and had the ball at the Eagles’ six going in. Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe missed terribly on a pass to Jason Witten, leading to a Lito Sheppard interception. Sheppard took it alllllll the way back to the house for a 102-yard touchdown. That was the nail in the coffin.
Fast forward to Christmas Day in Week 16. Donovan McNabb had been lost for the season due to injury. Jeff Garcia, OUR BABY, had the Birds on a three-game winning streak heading into Dallas and on the cusp of an improbable division title. The Eagles put coal in the stockings of Cowboys fans all across the country, pulling out a 23-7 road win.
The Eagles wouldn’t go on to sweep the Cowboys again until 2011, the last time they’ve done so.
4. 2004, Eagles throttle Dallas on Monday Night Football
This game was spicy before it even started. At the peak of popularity for Desperate Housewives on ABC, the network set up a steamy teaser featuring T.O. and Nicollette Sheridan, among others. I can’t imagine this happening in the social media era, but it’s a funny artifact nonetheless.
The Birds were locked in down in Dallas, beating the Cowboys 49-21. Owens, following his heated pregame skit, finished with six catches for 134 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He also stood on the star in the end zone following a TD, making for one of my favorite Eagles pictures:
Despite that Desperate Housewives scene, the game is best remembered for McNabb’s frantic 15-second scramble that resulted in a 60-yard bomb to Freddie Mitchell. It led to a Brian Westbrook touchdown run before the end of the first half. The Birds never looked back.
3. 2013, Week 17 NFC East Championship Game
The 9-6 Eagles were in Dallas to play the 8-7 Cowboys with the division title and a playoff spot on the line. It was Chip Kelly’s first season in Philadelphia and everyone, myself included, was going bonkers over him.
Following an Alex Henery field goal with 7:07 remaining in the first quarter to make it a 3-0 game, the Eagles led the entire way, though it sure was a nail-biter.
LeSean McCoy was a beast on the ground, gashing the Cowboys’ D for 120 yards. Nick Foles was efficient as ever, as he always seemed to be during that historic 2013 season, throwing for 263 yards with two touchdown tosses.
With the score 24-22 in the Eagles’ favor, the Cowboys had one last chance to put points on the board and take the lead. On the first play of that drive with less than two remaining, Kyle Orton, filling in for an injured Tony Romo, threw an interception to second-year nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin. The Birds were able to run out the clock and cap off the franchise’s biggest win since the Miracle at the New Meadowlands in 2010.
2. 2017, Eagles score 30 unanswered points on Sunday Night Football
The Eagles were 8-1 going into their Sunday night showdown with the Cowboys in 2017. They were coming off a bye and Super Bowl hype was bubbling in the city. Dallas had won the division the year prior. It was the Eagles’ time to assert that they were the force to be reckoned with in the NFC East.
They certainly accomplished that in maybe the most complete regular season win in the Doug Pederson era.
It was a low-scoring affair early, as the Eagles trailed 9-7 at halftime. I remember watching that game with my buddy Big Mike. Even though the Birds were assuredly on their way to postseason, the team’s championship hopes made every game feel like a playoff game. I remember having to leave his place at half and take a two-block walk in South Philly to cool down. I was so worked up. This was the best Eagles team of my life and we weren’t beating the Cowboys? WHAT THE HELL?!?
The Birds responded. Oh, did they respond.
The Eagles ended up winning 37-9. They scored four second-half touchdowns, three of which came on passes from Carson Wentz. That was the game where it was clear that Wentz was the MVP front-runner. We know things spiraled out of control at the end of Wentz’s time in Philly and I couldn’t have been more happy to see him go, but, damn, that was a special feeling back in 2017 with him.
1. 2008, 44-6
What other possible event could’ve been my top pick as a 27-year-old Eagles fan?
The Eagles needed help early in Week 17 just for their game at 4:15 p.m. against the Cowboys to matter.
The Birds were in the NFC Wild Card race, but their odds weren’t looking good. They needed the Raiders to beat the Buccaneers (Tampa Bay was 10.5-point favorites) and the Texans to beat the Bears to begin with. Somehow, someway, that happened, setting the stage for a winner-take-all contest against Dallas for the final spot in the NFC playoffs.
You know what happened next.
It was a bloodbath.
The Eagles’ offense cruised to a 27-3 lead in the first half. The Eagles’ defense turned into a dominant force in the second half, terrorizing Romo and company. They put up two defensive touchdowns, a 73-yard fumble return from defensive lineman Chris Clemons and a 96-yard fumble return from corner Joselio Hanson.
What a monumental day.
Not only did they win by THAT much AND make the playoffs, but they killed the Cowboys’ postseason hopes at the same time. There are few things more sweet than that.