The Philadelphia Eagles have four major rivals being the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Their rivalry with the New York Giants dates back to their very first game on Oct. 15, 1933, when the Giants demolished the Eagles 56-0. The rivalry can also be attributed to geography, comparable to the Mets-Phillies in the MLB and the Flyers-Rangers in the NHL. The NFL network has ranked the Eagles-Giants as the #1 rivalry of all time. Sports Illustrated considers it among the top 10 and ESPN views it as one of the fiercest and most well known.
There were many instances that contributed to the rivalry. In 1960, Chuck Bednarik blindsided Frank Gifford, sending Gifford into an early 18-month retirement from a severe concussion. The Miracle in the Meadowlands as known by Eagles fans, or “the fumble” by Giants fans, took place in November 1978 at the Giants Stadium. The Giants were leading 17-12, and with 20 seconds left to play, the Giants fumbled a handoff, which was recovered by Eagles cornerback Herm Edwards, making a touchdown for the win. In 1981, the Giants got their revenge for “the fumble.” The Giants and Eagles both qualified for the playoffs. The Giants led the game, but the Eagles didn’t make it easy for them. The Giants quarterback knelt down on the ball for the win, which was meant to happen in the 1978 game. The second Miracle at the Meadowlands in October 2003 involved Brian Westbrook of the Eagles returning a punt with 1:16 left on the clock. The play and subsequent extra point gave the Eagles a 14–10 victory over the Giants at Giants Stadium. In the game known as the Miracle at the New Meadowlands in December 2010, the Giants led 31-10 for the NFC East title, but the Eagles rallied and came back to tie the score. DeSean Jackson’s 65-yard punt return for a touchdown provided no time for the Giants to challenge, and the Eagles won 38-31. This is believed to be the first walk-off punt return in NFL history. The Giants lead the overall record with 85 wins, and the Eagles have 79 wins with two games tied.
The Philadelphia Eagles have a bitter rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas leads the team’s matches having won 63 (the Eagles won 50). In the last decade, though, the Eagles have dominated against them. In January 1981, at the 1980 NFC Championship Game, the Eagles and Cowboys had the same record of 12-4, but because the Eagles scored more points during the season, they were the #1 seed. This gave them home team advantage, which allowed the Eagles to decide which jerseys the Cowboys would wear. The game is referred to as the “Blue Jersey Game,” because the Eagles made the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys. Their blue jerseys were supposedly cursed, a belief that dated back to Super Bowl V. The curse proved true because the Eagles won 20-7. Two other games of note are referred to as the Bounty Bowls. In the first Bounty Bowl on Thanksgiving of 1989, Dallas Coach Jimmy Johnson accused Buddy Ryan of putting a bounty on Luis Zendejas and Troy Aikman. In Bounty Bowl II, the Eagles fans targeted numerous Cowboys and coaches with snowballs, ice, and beer cans. The game was advertised as the second Bounty Bowl, with wanted posters of pictures of players and bounty amounts. Not only did they strike the Cowboys, but they also hit Eagles players as well as television announcers who admitted how unpleasant it was to announce in Philadelphia.
In the 2000 season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, the game became known as the “Pickle Juice Game.” The temperature on the Texas Stadium field was 109 degrees at kickoff and soared to a record-breaking 120, the hottest game in league history. The name “Pickle Juice Game” stemmed from an experiment by a certain Eagles trainer. He had the players drink pickle juice to retain body moisture and prevent cramps and heat exhaustion. The practice proved successful as the Eagles beat the Cowboys 44-14, with the Cowboys losing players to their inability to handle the conditions. The game marked the end to Dallas dominance and the beginning of the Eagles’ renewed success in the NFC East.
Article Written by: Erin Irish