It used to be Washington versus Dallas as the premier rivalry in the NFC East. That one extended beyond the NFC East to one of the best rivalries in any sport. But, as we noted a little while back, the intensity and competitiveness of that rivalry has waned.
Never fear, though, in its place a new rivalry has been born, and it is fierce in intensity and very competitive. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles rivalry has become one of the better ones in the NFL. Long gone are the days when the Cowboys pretty much dominated this series. Today, you have two fanbases that really don’t like each other, and two teams that are ready to mix it up for NFC East supremacy. And that’s just what they will do on Sunday night.
But let’s take a look back at the facts of the rivalry.
The two teams have played each other 126 times, with four of those being playoff games. The Cowboys hold a 72-54 edge in those games which date all the way back to 1960.
That first game took place in Week 2 of the 1960 season and was a 27-25 Philadelphia victory. The Eagles won the first three games in the series before Dallas got in the win column. The 1960s proved to be a very competitive decade for the series as the Eagles won 10 and the Cowboys 9.
The 1970s was the Cowboys’ decade. They pounded the Eagles with a 17-3 record during that time. While the Cowboys were busy winning, and losing, Super Bowls, the Eagles were just cannon fodder for Dallas. Then the Cowboys’ decline began, and the 1980s ended up being a split record of 10-10.
In the 1990s, you might expect that the Cowboys were totally dominant given their three Super Bowls and their dynasty team of the first half of that decade. They did win the decade, but the Eagles managed to keep it relatively close at 14-8.
Both the 2000s and 2010s were competitive, with the Eagles winning the former 13-8 and the Cowboys winning the latter 11-9. So far in this decade, the Cowboys are up 3-1.
When it comes to playoffs, the two teams have met four times. The Cowboys lead that series 3-1. The Eagles took the 1980 NFC Championship game on the way to a Super Bowl appearance. The Cowboys won Divisional Round games in the ‘92 and ‘95 seasons, and a Wild Card Round win in the 2009 season.
Where it counts though, the Cowboys lead 5-1. And that is in Super Bowl wins. But once again, the Eagles have something to say here as they can claim the most recent win in this area back in the 2017 season.
Those are the facts, but perhaps what sets this rivalry apart is the absolute bitterness between the two sides. Bounty Bowls, pickle juice, 4th-and-1s, are just some of the interesting games in this series. Unfortunately for Dallas, most of the more memorable games ended up being Philly victories. The Cowboys just took care of business regularly, while the Eagles popped up in some unusual wins. Let’s take a look at a few.
As a public service to fans everywhere, we won’t even bring up Eagles fans cheering an injury to Michael Irvin that ultimately ended his career.
Eagles break their losing streak - In 1979, the Cowboys were riding high after a decade of dominance. The Eagles had lost eight straight games to the Cowboys and weren’t thought to be ready for Dallas in a game played in Texas. Dallas was 8-2; the Eagles 6-4. But Philly stunned the Cowboys 31-21 and began their run to a Super Bowl the next season.
Pickle juice! - In 2000, the Eagles had to play Dallas in Texas early in the season and the temperature was in the 100s. Andy Reid gave his team pickle juice to combat the heat and dehydration, while also trying an onside kick to start the game. The Eagles got the onside kick, and crushed the Cowboys 41-14.
4th and 1... twice - In December of 1995. the Cowboys were in the midst of their dynasty run when they took on the Eagles. Late in the game coach Barry Switzer decided to go for it on 4th and 1 at his own 29-yard line in a tie game. Emmitt Smith was stuffed but the refs ruled that the two-minute warning happened before the play snap. So Dallas chose to do it again, and ran Emmitt Smith again, and he got stuffed a second time. The Eagles then kicked the game-winning field goal.
The Bounty Bowls - There is so much bad blood in this rivalry that Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson once accused Buddy Ryan of putting bounties on players like Troy Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas during the 1989 season. The Cowboys lost both games, and the game in Philly was marred by fans throwing objects and snowballs at the Cowboys and the refs.
The Halloween game - In 1993, the Cowboys and Eagles played on Halloween in a rainstorm. The Cowboys dominated the game 23-10 behind a record for the franchise 237 yards from Emmitt Smith.
The fastest score - During the 2003 season, Andy Reid tried an onside ick to start the game. The Cowboys were ready and Randal Williams returned it for a touchdown just three seconds into the game. That is still an NFL record for the fastest score in a game. Dallas won the game.