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DMN:Cowboys' rivalry with Eagles supplants Redskins


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Cowboys' rivalry with Eagles supplants Redskins


The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - It was one of the first things Ken Hitch**** learned after unpacking his skates and chalkboard in Philadelphia.

Not that cheese steaks are highly overrated. (They are.)

Not that Broad Street isn't really broad. (It is.)

What he learned was this:

"These people really hate the Cowboys," he said.

What looked like an ordinary Monday around the city of Dallas was surely something else in the city of Philadelphia. It was Day One in a seven-day countdown to Armageddon.

The Eagles have won seven straight. The last team to beat them was the Dallas Cowboys. No one in the city of Philadelphia is permitted to be unaware of these facts.

"Cowboys-Eagles is big in Dallas," said ESPN radio's Chuck Cooperstein, who worked in Philadelphia. "It's been bigger up there for 43 years. They are taught from the womb to hate the Cowboys."

Now the Philadelphia Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East. That's only part of the reason why we can now make it official. Cowboys-Eagles is bigger than Cowboys-Redskins.

For more than two decades, Dallas and Washington produced more memorable and more significant games. That has changed in the last 15 years or so with the Eagles becoming a more competitive team.

But to find the real start of this rivalry, from a Dallas perspective, let me take you back to 1987. It was during the last NFL players' strike that things began to boil between the Cowboys and Eagles.

Reflecting their cities, Philadelphia was a solid union team, while Dallas players broke ranks almost immediately. So when the teams met in early October, Tom Landry had Danny White, Tony Dorsett, Too Tall Jones, Randy White, Mike Renfro and others on his replacement roster.

Buddy Ryan had a bunch of guys named Guido. Or, to be truthful, one guy named Guido Merkens and not much else.

Ryan was incensed that after the Cowboys had built a 17-point halftime lead, Landry put White and Dorsett into the game and that he sent Randy White and Jones back onto the field to stop a late Eagles' drive in a 41-22 Dallas win. Said Ryan, "I just hope the strike's over next week, and I look forward to their (expletive) coming to Philadelphia."

Said Landry: "I'm sure Ryan isn't happy with the hand he's been dealt. We just coach the ones here."

Two weeks later, with the real players back on the field, the Eagles were leading 30-20 in the final minute. Randall Cunningham took a knee on two straight plays before faking it on third down and launching a pass to Mike Quick that produced a 32-yard pass interference penalty. On the game's final play, Keith Byars ran for a touchdown.

Said Ryan: "I just played the hand that was dealt me."

Said Landry: "I wouldn't even justify that with a comment."

And with the arrival of Jimmy Johnson, the trash talk became two-sided.

In 1989, Ryan's powerful defense totally dominated the Cowboys, 27-0, on Thanksgiving. Dallas fell to 1-11.

But rather than rehash his team's obvious shortcomings, Johnson announced after the game that an Eagles coach (assistant Al Roberts) and player (tight end David Little) had confirmed that Ryan had put a $200 bounty on kicker Luis Zendejas and $500 bounty on Troy Aikman.

The Eagles didn't knock Aikman out of the game, but linebacker Jessie Small did go after Zendejas on his only kickoff, drawing a 15-yard penalty. Johnson tried to confront Ryan after the game, but as Jimmy put it, "He got his fat rear end to the locker room. Our day will come."

The coaches turned up the volume prior to the rematch two weeks later, with Johnson saying he was still waiting for an apology or an explanation why Small went after his kicker. Said Ryan, "I think if you took a vote of the players in Dallas, they'd have more respect for me than Jimmy."

Dodging snowballs, the Cowboys lost to the Eagles 20-10 in a game that was bizarre even by Veterans Stadium standards. The Eagles cheerleaders had to leave the field in the fourth quarter under a barrage of snowballs.

Said Jerry Jones: "Goodness, those fans were throwing snowballs at each other. It was like a big piefight."

The rivalry grew as the Cowboys rose quickly to prominence. There was a Super Bowl-like buildup to an early-season Monday night game in 1992 in which the Eagles again dominated the Dallas offense.

But the Cowboys would get the last laugh, beating the Eagles twice more that year on the way to the Super Bowl.

Now it's the Eagles, who have been to the last two NFC championship games, trying to win that elusive first Super Bowl. Surprisingly, their only competition within the NFC East comes from the Cowboys.

Unfortunately, Bill Parcells and Andy Reid aren't likely to provide us the pregame fireworks that Johnson and Ryan all too willingly supplied.

Fortunately, these teams have reached a level where the fireworks will be on display when it counts, sustaining the Cowboys' best rivalry.


© 2003, The Dallas Morning News.

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Wow, sorry Redskins fans! Seriously, three points: the Eagles were just godawful in the early 70's, and it just seemed that the Cowboys continually ran the score up. I think there was even a 62 point game in there somewhere. Personally, that's why I hate the Cowboys. Second, this is the first I've heard about a bounty on Aikman; the Zendejas thing was common knowledge, but Aikman? I believe we sacked Aikman something like 11 times the year before (I think his rookie year) so the whole 'kill Aikman' thing had already been done. Third, cheesesteaks are overrated? OK, them is a fightin' words. He must be eating cheesteaks from DC, where they slop lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo on them for some ungodly reason. Hope this guy rots in hell.

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Ten years ago Niners/Cowboys was said to have supplanted the Redskins/Cowboys rivalry. Now it's the Eagles/Cowboys. Whatever. The Eagles are the good team right now, so of course everyone's going to say that. But if the Redskins rivalry wasn't a big deal, people wouldn't keep having to claim it has been replaced.

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Seriously, somebody posted before the first Cowboys-Skins game that there was animosity from the outset - the Skins didn't even want the Cowboys to exist in the first place, and somehow Clint Murchison (or one of those guys) got a hold of the rights to "Hail to the Redskins" and sort of blackmailed the Redskins into letting them come into existence. If true, that's the stuff of a good rivalry. But do Cowboy fans feel the same way to the Redskins as the Skins fans feel towards the Cowboys? It's sort of a waste if you expend all this hatred on one team and they can't even bother to hate you back.

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One reason many Cowboys fans hate Redskin fans seems to be simple: according to Jerry Jones, DC is the city with the second most Cowboy fans in the nation. When you root for a team in a city away from its home city, you typically hate the team of the city you are in (I think many who have done this know what I am talking about, especially if the local media love to talk about that team). It probably helps to be division rivals and to have mutual feelings and history backing you up.

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The article didn't mention though that the Skins/Cowboys is a unique rivalrly where records often don't matter, nor does which team happens to be better. The game is looked at a marquee matchup no matter what the status of the two teams are. Yes the Eagles/Cowboys game this week is about 100x more relevent in the big picture then the Skins/Boys games of the last 5+ years, but the mere fact that even a couple of sub .500 teams can make a rivalry exciting and painful at the same time, shows just how unique and UN-EQUALED the Redskins/Cowboys rivalry is.

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I have no doubt that this is currently true. Just like in the late 80s/early 90s when the biggest rival for the Redskins was New York. It's all about who your main competition is...every team in the East has gone thru a phase in the past 15 or so years where they've been a 'main' rival to every other team in the East. It'll change again...possibly back to us, maybe to the Giants, but it'll change again.

That doesn't change the fact that the most storied rivalry in this division (and arguably in the NFL) is the Cowboy/Redskin rivalry.

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Originally posted by Phat Hog

Rivalry de jour is probably a better team. Whoever has a good team vs the Cowgirls becomes their new and most hated rival :rolleyes:

Read the article. I remember that. At the time Washington was dominating the league but didn't really offend me. They were a damn good team and the Cowboys stank and that's really all it was. Fast forward ten years later, Cowboys season opener. The Eagles humiliate the Cowboys with that fake onsides kick and thrash Dallas. Ever since then, the Eagles had the Cowboys number and dominated the NFC East. Fast forward a few more months, Cowboys at the vet. Michael Irvin goes down and looks paralyzed. I watched the game and heard the piece of #%*# Philly fans cheer Irvin's injury. I even heard them cheer Emmitt Smith a year later when he went down and didn't come up for a few minutes. I've never really hated other team's fans. It's the other team, not their fans that are beating my team. LOL But Philly fans, damn. I hate that team, the fans, their coaches. That team has shut down the Cowboys the last three years until Dallas got its revenge this year. Not just shut down, bad, bad, losses. Game over by halftime losses. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have been whipping up on the Skins almost ever year. It might still be a big rivalry for Skins fans because they're on the losing end but honestly, I haven't thought much about the Skins rivalry in recent years other than some good games and what I remember from the 70's. The Eagles though... :mad:

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well, since Dallas is having its first winning season since 1998, it is amusing to note the team now has a new 'rival' :laugh:

the truth is the Eagles have for the most part dominated the Cowboys the way Dallas has dominated the Redskins over the past several years.

Eagles/Cowboys games in 2001 and 2002 weren't really all that close by and large.

The Cowboys and Redskins were speedbumps for the Eagles in 2002.

If anything the NFC East rivalry of some meaning has been the Eagles/Giants.

Washington and Dallas haven't been factors for some time.

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Come on; there's a pretty substantial difference between the team that is your biggest competition in a given year and the team that is your rival.

That Patriots/Colts matchup was one hell of a game and they're two of the top teams in the AFC, so now it's one of the most storied rivalries in the NFL! Whoop-de-friggin-do!

The Redskins/Cowboys is a rivalry. Ohio State/Michigan is a rivalry. Bears/Packers is a rivalry. It doesn't matter if one or both of the teams is down. It's still a freakin' rivalry. The Eagles and Cowboys is most definitely not a rivalry.

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Originally posted by Equality

everyone hates the cowboys we just hate them a little more.

I'm not so sure about that. The Redskins-Cowboys may be a great rivalry, but I'd say the Eagles fans hate the Cowboys as much as Redskins fans do. The Eagles-Cowboys 'rivalry' would be up there if Philly was any good in the 70s, or won playoff games in the early 90s. Dallas viewed Philadelphia as inferior, so they didn't have the same hatred for Philly that they did for Washington. Meanwhile, Philly fans grew more envious of the SBs and the hatred grew from there. I'd say that Eagles fans hate Dallas as much as Redskins fans, just most Dallas fans dislike Washington more than Philly.

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Originally posted by OrangeSkin

The Eagles and Cowboys is most definitely not a rivalry.

You obviously haven't spent much time in Philadelphia. Comparing the Patriots-Colts to Eagles-Cowboys is insulting.

Eagles fans view the Cowboys and Giants as bitter rivals (Giants view Eagles similarly I believe). It isn't a legendary rivalry because the Cowboys fans never had that intense hatred for the Eagles that they've had with the Skins.

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