Flock of Eagles: Five Favorite Birds/Cowboys Wins Since 1987
Sunday Salutations, Boys & Girls of Wudder Word!
While Nostrabombus predicted this QB would make the leap, and the Eagles would win the division, claiming #11 as a legit preseason MVP candidate, or the Eagles potentially clinching the division by December 4th would have just seemed greedy and deluded.
But to borrow an indelible line from a song that peaked at #2 on Casey Kasem's Weekly Top 40 radio show during the same week, in late October 1987, as our first clear childhood memory of Eagles/Cowboys week:
”here we are folks, the dream we all dream of...”
And when it comes down to Super Bowl Contenders, the 2017 Eagles Got The Look.
So in honor of our first Dallas week of the season, on a cold, rainy day back in the Northeast, we rely on this bitter rivalry game to bring us that Sunday Funday heat.
Warming up for this evening's proceedings, we take a trip down memory lane, to give you our Five Favorite Wins in Birds/Cowboy Games:
Randall Fakes a Knee, Buddy Takes a TD,
Rubbing it in against Landry in Philly
Too young to bask in the sweet victory of the Vermeil Era with Wilbert Montgomery’s long TD in a victory in the NFCCG during the Super Bowl Run of 1980, for me Birds fandom started in earnest with Buddy.
And Buddyball, with Reggie, Randall, et al., was a helluva way to begin.
This decision was deemed classless by most, although Joe Theisman, the former Washington QB sent to the booth after a sickening Monday Night Football injury induced by LT, understands NFC East Beef while doing this broadcast.
It also didn’t hurt he probably still hated Dallas with the fire of a thousand suns.
We were only a few weeks removed from a group of prominent Cowboys (Starting Quarterback Danny White, Hall of Fame Defensive End Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Hall of Fame Running Back Tony Dorsett) crossing the picket line during the NFL player’s strike of 1987, to participate in three “scab” games that took place that fall.
Buddy, an upstart first-time head-coach wild enough to publicly badmouth his boss, Eagles owner Norman Braman, while siding with his team’s NFLPA rep, the late great Reggie White, all but refused to coach the replacement players.
In Buddy’s first year, 1986, his Eagles won their second matchup with Dallas. This ensured Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry his first losing season as coach of the Cowboys, after an incredible twenty consecutive winning seasons since 1966.
Landry, a quiet Texan who projected old-school football “class” and religious piety, got his revenge on Buddy and the Birds in Dallas in their next matchup, in early October ’87. With Landry’s longtime veterans in tow, the Cowboys throttled the Replacement Birds, led by a QB named Guido Merkens, in Dallas.
Safe to say, when the players returned from strike, Buddy had not forgotten about that beatdown three weeks later when the real teams met at The Vet.
The Eagles leading with the ball, needing only to kneel on it to win, Randall took a knee on the first two downs, then on third down surprised the Cowboys by tossing one towards the end zone. A confused Cowboy defender took a penalty to prevent the indignity of a salt-in-the-wound TD pass. This merely prolonged the inevitable, as the Birds ran it in from the goal line with Keith Byars on the game’s final play. Landry walked off the field without shaking hands.
Neither Landry, nor the Cowboys, ever beat a Buddy Ryan Eagle team again.
And before anyone asks, we’re leaving off the Bounty Bowl games off this list, because despite how fun both were, c’mon, the Cowboys were 1-15 that year.
4th & 1, twice, aka “they stop ‘em again!”©Merrill Reese
December 10th, 1995
After the Buddy Era gave way to the Kotite Era, the Birds began leaking oil, especially when it came to these Cowboy match-ups, as Jimmy Johnson built Dallas into a juggernaut.
Luckily for the rest of the league, Jerry Jones is Jerry Jones, and he rewarded Jimmy Johnson’s two Super Bowl victories with a pink slip in 1994.
But the Cowboys were still stacked.
So stacked, that by December of 1995, with Dallas now “led” by former Oklahoma Sooner Coach Barry Switzer, with the post-Buddy Eagles having moved from Rich Kotite to Ray Rhodes, the Birds had lost their last seven in a row vs. the Cowboys.
There was legitimate fear that the Eagles might set a new record of infamy in this rivalry. The early Landry Era Cowboys of the late 60’s and early 70’s had dominated some of the worst Eagles teams of all-time, reeling off consecutive win streaks of 11 and 9 during that time. The Cowboys beat the Eagles in 22 out of 25 meetings from ’68 to ’78.
The Eagles 8-game winning streak in the Buddy Era was a fading memory.
And the 90’s Cowboys seemed earmarked for a decade-long dynasty.
Perhaps it was this inevitability that led Barry Switzer to being so cocky on this cold December day in Philly.
With the game knotted at 17, late in the 4th quarter, with the Cowboys looking at a 4th and 1 from their own 29, Switzer elected to go for it.
They did so by running the Cowboys bread-and-butter short yardage run-play, called “load left”, with Emmitt Smith running behind Pro Bowl tackle Nate Newton.
Despite the Cowboys’ superiority, most risk: reward chart would say this was a little crazy.
But Barry, like many players on those Cowboy teams, was a little crazy himself.
As you can read in the Jeff Pearlman book Boys Will Be Boys, that era of Dallas did their best to live up to their team name, on and off the field.
In front of a frothingly desperate crowd at The Vet, the Eagles D stopped them.
Absolute bedlam, a joyful noise, could be heard breaking out from that concrete dungeon, and roaring all the way across Broad Street.
But wait…there’d been a whistle…ruling the play we’d just seen dead.
Surely after seeing the stop that had just transpired, visions of punting surely had to be dancing in Barry Switzer’s head.
They went for it again.
Even more brazenly, they did so by running the same exact "load left" play.
The result of that second failed attempt, resulted in one of longtime Eagle radio broadcaster Merrill Reese’s most iconic calls.
The win also propelled the Eagles into the playoffs for the first time since God, coupled with Norman Braman’s short-arms-and-deep-pockets, sent Reggie to Green Bay.
It also led to the Eagles hosting maybe my favorite game I’ve ever attended (good lookin’ out Quig on that 700 level Xmas present ticket score), an “upset” home playoff game route of the Detroit Lions in the final weekend of December ’95.
Who’s Gonna Win?
The Birds, The Birds!
Who’s Gonna Lead ‘Em?
Ray Rhodes, Ray Rhodes!
Merry Christmas T.O. All...And T.O. All...A Good Night!
December 25th, 2006
Andy Reid’s Eagles owned the Cowboys for nearly the entire aughts, besides 2009.
The matchups were particularly lopsided in the first five full years of the Reid/McNabb-as-full-time-starter era, winning 9 of 10 versus the hated Cowboys, by a score of 322 to 125 combined.
The last game Terrell Owens, in his 2004 halcyonic rise to the greatest single-season Eagle receiver of all-time, played at Texas Stadium they put up 49.
T.O. caught 3 of McNabb’s 4 TD’s, versus zero interceptions.
We won’t revisit the horrible Roy Williams horsecollar at the onset of the next game they played, at The Linc, which broke T.O.'s leg and set in motion the eventual dissolution of the Eagles’ best-ever QB/WR union.
Let’s skip the bench pressing in the drive way, Dono’s sports hernia on Monday Night versus Dallas, and all the other stuff that happened in 2005 too.
All you need to know, is that by 2006, things had been so mishandled that T.O. went from being an Eagle scoring three TD’s on the Cowboys in ’04, to now being a member of that Godforsaken organization by his next full NFL season.
And Donovan, as became the case more often in his less fruitful second half of the decade, was out due to injury.
Another of Terrell Owens' former quarterbacks, this one whom T.O. had called gay, in a slanderous Playboy interview two years earlier.
And after inheriting a team with a losing record at mid-season under McNabb, then immediately losing his first game as a starter versus Carolina, Garcia and the ’06 Eagles caught fire, winning their last six games in a row to propel them to the playoffs.
The biggest game in that run, was a nationally televised Christmas Day game in Dallas.
For Philadelphia Fans across the Delaware Valley watching on TV with friends and family, that victory over the favored-by-seven Cowboys was the gift that kept on giving. And for Jeff “Walks Like A Duck” Garcia, it was some sweet get-back.
Shout-out to then-unknown Quentin Mikell, subbing for injured Michael Lewis, for putting in yeoman's work on a crucial goal-line stand.
I still remember where I watched this game, in the basement of one of my favorite DAWG families, the Grays, back when Dennis Sr. and Prince William were still with us and our crew filtered in and out of their annual Open House, while juggling Christmas obligations with family elsewhere.
In retrospect that game was a bit of a Christmas Miracle, while for a few Birds, wrapping this up in Big D on Christmas post-dinner time was some truly just desserts.
December 28th, 2008
Lincoln Financial Field
Remember when I mentioned earlier that the ’95 Detroit playoff game was my favorite Eagles game I’ve ever attended?
It was this one.
Mind you, I didn’t go into it with nearly the same fervor.
I actually had at first turned down this ticket on Christmas Eve when Bobby Whiz offered it to me during DAWG Xmas Eve at DeWitt’s.
The Eagles had a fairly mediocre-to-borderline-shitty season in 2008.
It was the year they’d tied Cincinnatti, when Dono didn’t know ties existed.
The Birds still somehow had a playoff spot on their racket though heading into Week 15, but blew a game in Washington, which made their playoff chances as likely as a Pick 6 winner.
But it was still an Eagles/Cowboys game, over the Christmas holidays, while home for a week from California.
Thankfully Bobby talked some sense into me.
I awoke on Reese Street off South, at the home of the Probst brothers, after a few hours sleep and the fuzzy head that such festive occasions typically entailed.
Myself, JR and Ro walked around the corner to Fat Tuesday, each downing a couple 190 Octanes to get our minds right.
We then took a cab to the stadiums to find the tailgates around the 1 PM kicks, with Birds/Cowboys set to be the national late game at 4:15.
The outcomes we needed to fall our way that day in the early contests, for the Eagles game to mean anything, were borderline silly.
They needed the 9-6 Bears, playing for playoffs, to lose to the playing-out-the-string 7-8 Texans.
Or the 12-3 Giants to win, while resting starters, in Minnesota.
But on top of needing one of those two, what's worse was definitely needing a 9-6 Jon Gruden-led Tampa Bay Bucs squad, ironically now quarterbacked by Jeff Garcia, to lose in Tampa, to the lowly Tom Cable 4-11 Oakland Raiders.
In the early afternoon, some of our crew was monitoring these games on TV's in the Jetro lot.
I was definitely not.
It didn’t seem useful to even worry about it.
Might as well have a good time and see what the deal was once it was time to go inside.
When we did so close to 4, the word circulating among the faithful was the Birds were still in it.
Once we got into the Linc, it was about to kick off but there was still more people out along the concourse, watching TV’s by the concessions, then there was sitting in their seats.
All three games in question were one-score games in the final frame.
During a dizzying two-minute warning in each, pre-Red-Zone Channel, Garcia was marching the Bucs towards midfield against the Raiders, playing to put the Bucs in the postseason.
The Giants/Vikes and Bears/Texans were on behind and to the left, but the Bucs was the main draw.
“I don’t know which TV to look at!”, I exclaimed to the middle-aged woman standing next to me, grabbing onto my arm in anticipation.
Just do this, she said, while twisting her head back and forth at rapid pace.
Both laughing, an Eagle crowd bubbling with anticipation, the Bears lost first.
Now we just need The Raiders.
When Garcia’s 4th down pass at the Tampa 50 fell incomplete, the concourse erupted.
Total strangers shared long embraces while jumping up and down, laughing and shouting exclamations in one another’s face.
After an extended roar, you could hear the Eagles theme music cueing up from the inside.
Being emboldened by the emotion of the moment, along with the shampoo effect of the Octanes mixed with time spent at the tailgate, I went into General mode, proclaiming from the steps to a throng of people just below:
“Alright, now let’s go beat the Cowboys in a *playoff* game!”
Few things I’ve ever uttered have ever garnered a louder response from a crowd.
Shortly thereafter, while sitting high atop the stadium looking down, Romo was going Romo, we were dancing in the aisles singing “T.O., T-O, T-O, T-O, T-OOOOO, T-OOOO”, but in a totally different context then ‘04, and the Birds had put up Fo’-ty-Fo’.
Carson Wentz Gets His First of Many Crucial Cowboy Wins
The Jerruh Dome
C’mon, you couldn't see this coming?!?
It’s Cowboy Week, Geeks!
Tonight is gonna be a fun scene for the gang in green.
But since we have to wait on those highlights and official story lines, we’ll love and leave you for now on the Lincoln Financial Field kickoff song:
Rest In Power, Malcolm Young
Monday 11/20 Postscript:
-The Dallas Cowboys have lost 22 games by 24 or more points since 2000.
-11 of those lopsided losses were delivered by the Philadelphia Eagles, last night included.
Five Favorite Bird Tweets to Begin the New Week:
Nostrabombus Week 11 Pick Six:
VIKINGS (-1.5) over Rams 1:00
Bills (-7) over CHARGERS 4:05
Patriots (-7) over Raiders in Mexico City 4:25
Eagles (-6) over COWBOYS
SIXERS (-5.5) over Jazz 7:30
Falcons (+1.5) over SEAHAWKS 8:30
Nostrabombus Last Week: 2 Wins, 4 Losses
Nostrabombus Sunday: 3 Wins, 1 Loss
Nostrabombus Season: 25 Wins, 18 Losses