The Dallas Cowboys – Philadelphia Eagles rivalry has been one of the higher profile rivalries in the NFL over the past three decades, characterized by bitterly contested games that are typical of the NFC East.
Old Steve Sabol video on the Dallas Cowboys – Philadelphia Eagles rivalry. Click on “Read more” to continue with post
- 1980 NFC Championship Game, January 11, 1981 – After more than a decade of losing to the Dallas Cowboys in all but three games from 1967-1979, the Eagles finished first in the NFC East in 1980 due to tie-breaking procedures (both teams 12-4 and splitting the meetings between each other, but the Eagles having scored more points) and thus claimed the number one overall seed. The 1980 NFC Championship was also called the “Blue Jersey Game”, on the account that the Eagles, having the choice as the home team, made the Cowboys wear their seemingly cursed blue jerseys (a stigma that dated back to Super Bowl V). To the cheers of a roaring Veterans Stadium crowd, the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 20-7.
- The 1987 NFL Season – With many of the Cowboys players crossing the picket line during the strike, Dallas humiliated the replacement-laden Eagles, 41-22, with a reverse for a touchdown in Week 4. Two weeks later, Eagles coach Buddy Ryan had his heart set on revenge (Revenge Bowl). With little time remaining and the Eagles up by ten, Randall Cunningham faked a kneel down and tossed a long pass into the end zone, resulting in a pass interference call. With the Eagles at the one, a final touchdown sealed the revenge for the Eagles, 37-20.
- The Bounty Bowls (I and II) and The Porkchop Bowl – The first two Cowboys-Eagles games of the Jerry Jones-Jimmy Johnson era in Dallas were dubbed the Bounty Bowls, due to the accusation by Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson that the Eagles had set a bounty on Dallas players, particularly Quarterback Troy Aikman and Kicker Luis Zendejas.
More on the Bounty Bowl below
- 1991 Regular Season – The Eagles began the 1991 season by pounding the Cowboys 24-0 in Texas Stadium in Week 3. Riding a three-game winning streak, Dallas entered Veterans Stadium in Week 16 with a chance at a playoff berth, their first since 1985. The Cowboys benefitted from Eagles QB Randall Cunningham being injured, and rode a Kelvin Martin punt return for a touchdown to a 25-13 victory. The loss jolted the Eagles from the playoff picture.
- 1993 and 1995 Divisional Playoffs – The Cowboys ousted the Eagles from the NFC Playoffs twice in the 1990s by defeating them in the Divisional Playoffs by the score of 34-10 in 1992, and 30-11 in 1995. The Cowboys eventually advanced to, and won, Super Bowls in both seasons.
- On December 28, 2008, in Week 17 of the 2008 season, the Eagles and Cowboys faced off in Philadelphia with a wild card playoff berth on the line. The winner would claim the sixth and final wild card spot in the NFC, and the loser would be eliminated from playoff contention. This situation was brought about by losses earlier in the day by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears, which kept the Eagles playoff hopes alive. The Eagles did not squander the opportunity, as the took a 27-3 halftime lead on their way to a 44-6 blowout of the Cowboys. The Eagles went on to go all the way to the NFC Championship before losing to the Arizona Cardinals.
|Dallas Cowboys–Philadelphia Eagles|
|Regular season history|
|First meeting||September 30, 1960|
|First result||Philadelphia Eagles 27, Dallas Cowboys 25|
|Latest meeting||January 2, 2011|
|Latest result||Dallas Cowboys 14, Philadelphia Eagles 13|
|Next meeting||October 30, 2011|
|Rivalry status||100 meetings|
|Current streak||Dallas Cowboys (1 win)|
|All-time series||Dallas Cowboys lead 56-44|
|Post season history|
|Last meeting||January 9, 2010 (NFC Wild Card Playoff)|
|Last result||Dallas Cowboys 34, Philadelphia Eagles 14|
|All-time postseason series||Dallas Cowboys lead 3–1|
|History of NFL Championships (8)
Super Bowl appearances (10)
The Bounty Bowls
The Bounty Bowl was the name given to two notorious NFL games held in 1989 between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The first, the 1989 Thanksgiving Classic game in Dallas was most noted for allegations that the Philadelphia Eagles put a $200 bounty on Dallas Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas, cut by Philadelphia earlier that season. The second was a highly touted rematch between the two teams that was held two weeks later in Philadelphia, noted for the rowdy behavior of fans attending the game. Philadelphia, already heavily favored to win both games due to the Cowboys having an extremely poor season that year, swept the series.
Bounty Bowl I: The 1989 Thanksgiving Classic
|Date||November 23, 1989|
|Announcers||Pat Summerall and John Madden|
On November 23, 1989, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan found himself at the center of yet another controversy. The Eagles defeated Dallas by a score of 27-0, Dallas’ only Thanksgiving game shutout. During the lopsided game, vitriol came to the surface on the field as the rivals got into several skirmishes, most notably when Dallas placekicker Luis Zendajas left the game with a concussion following a hard tackle by linebacker Jessie Small after a kickoff.
Following the game, broadcast on CBS with Pat Summerall and John Madden calling the game, Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson alleged that Ryan had taken out a bounty on two of his players, Dallas (and former Philadelphia) kicker Luis Zendejas and quarterback Troy Aikman. Johnson said:
“I have absolutely no respect for the way they played the game, I would have said something to Buddy, but he wouldn’t stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room.”
Zendejas claimed that when he was with the Eagles, a player had once received $200 – $100 each for hits on a punter and kicker. This is what led his coach Jimmy Johnson to make the accusation that a bounty had existed in this game as well.
Buddy Ryan responded to Johnson’s accusations:
“I resent that. I’ve been on a diet, lost a couple of pounds. I thought I was looking good.”
This game marked the first time a most valuable player was picked for a Thanksgiving game. John Madden handed out the first “Turkey Leg Award” to Reggie White. Such an award became an annual Thanksgiving tradition among CBS and Fox (and later, the NFL Network).
This series of events set the stage for the scheduled rematch two weeks later in Philadelphia, dubbed “Bounty Bowl II.”
Bounty Bowl II
|Date||December 10, 1989|
|Announcers||Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw|
After rumors spread that Eagles coach Buddy Ryan had put a bounty out on Dallas kicker Luis Zendejas during the first meeting two weeks earlier, the Eagles fans were more than rowdy when the rematch was held in Philadelphia.
CBS Sports touted the game as “Bounty Bowl II,” complete with wanted posters and the offending players, with the bounty posted, as part of the network’s pre-game opening, and it lived up to its expectations as a media event. With NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue in attendance on gameday December 10, 1989, the Veterans Stadium crew did not remove the snow that had piled up for several days. The volatile mix of beer, plentiful snow, the bounty and the intense hatred for “America’s Team” led to the Eagles’ notoriously rowdy fans throwing everything within reach. Notable targets included back judge Al Jury, who was knocked to the ground by a barrage of snowballs; Cowboys punter Mike Saxon, who was targeted in the end zone; and Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, who was hit with snowballs, ice, and beer as he was hastily escorted off the field by Philadelphia Police. Johnson later called the fans “thugs”.
Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw announced the game for CBS, and they spent the afternoon denouncing Eagles fans and dodging snowballs aimed at the broadcast booth (broadcast booths are traditionally open during broadcasts); at the end of the game, Lundquist stated on the air that an oral surgery a few days prior had not been as unpleasant as broadcasting an Eagles game. Even the Eagles’ players were struck. As Eagles defensive lineman Jerome Brown stood on the players’ sideline seats pleading for the fans to stop throwing things, he too was hit.
Future Pennsylvania governor and Eagles fan Edward Rendell got caught up in the fallout from that game when he admitted to a reporter that he was involved in the bedlam. The then-former Philadelphia district attorney and future mayor and governor had bet another fan $20 that the fan couldn’t reach the field with a snowball; Rendell lost. As a result of the chaotic melee, the team added security and banned beer sales for their last remaining home game of the regular season.
The Eagles won the game 20-10.
|Date||October 28, 1990|
|Announcers||Tim Ryan and Irv Cross|
Even though almost a year had transpired since the notorious “Bounty Bowl” games, the vitriolic rivalry between the two teams was still firmly in Cowboys fans’ memories. And this was the first encounter since Cowboys players and coaches were relentlessly pelted by snowballs during that last meeting at Philadelphia‘s Veterans Stadium.
The week before game day in Dallas, Philadelphia head coach Buddy Ryan and Ted Plumb, his offensive coordinator were out for dinner. Coach Ryan was dining on pork chops and started to choke. Fortunately, Plumb quickly initiated the Heimlich maneuver and saved Ryan’s life. Word of the incident spread in Dallas, and hatred by Dallas fans was so fevered towards Ryan that former Cowboys’ president Tex Schramm dubbed the pending game on October 28 the “Porkchop Bowl.” When the game began, Dallas fans tossed pork chops and similar simulated meat products from the stands toward the Eagles bench.
The final score was 21–20 in favor of the Eagles
After the Porkchop Bowl, the series rivalry settled down to the usual level between division rivals. Dallas finally beat Philadelphia in Week 16 of the 1991 NFL season.
Philadelphia did not play another Thanksgiving game until the 2008 NFL season.