December 17, 2019
OK, so this upcoming Sunday matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys isn't really a true "NFC East Championship Game."
It is for Dallas. It they beat the Eagles, they win the division. If the Eagles beat Dallas, they will still will need to either beat the Giants — or have the Cowboys lose to Washington — Week 17. But shut up.
Anyway, since it's kinda-sorta of an "NFC East Championship" game, just for fun, let's remember the last three times the Eagles and Cowboys played a division-deciding (or an otherwise "win-and-get-in" game), all of which happened in the last 11 years.
OK, so this wasn't for the division. The Giants already had that wrapped up. It was for a wildcard, but whatever. Entering Week 17, the Eagles' playoff hopes were all but cooked. They needed the 13-point underdog Raiders led by Jamarcus freaking Russell to beat the Buccaneers, and the 3-point favorite Texans to beat the Bears. Those were both 1:00 p.m. games.
Miraculously, the Raiders came through for the Birds, with Michael Bush running for 177 yards, and the Texans beat the Bears.
With new life, the Eagles came out during the late afternoon games and kicked the ever-living crap out of the Cowboys:
On a side note, I didn't realize until now that this was the game in which Jeffrey Lurie missed a high five, and instead smashed his then wife in the face.
The Eagles took care of the Vikings in the Metrodome in the first round of the playoffs, before dispatching of the reigning Super Bowl Champion Giants, which led to this classic meltdown by this Giants fan (NSFW-ish):
In the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles were down 24-6 at the half to the Cardinals, before storming back to take a 25-24 4th quarter lead. But alas, that talented Eagles D couldn't stop Kurt Warner from leading a late TD drive, and the Eagles O couldn't mount a late drive of their own. In the end, the Eagles were once again NFCCG losers.
The next season, the Eagles and Cowboys were once again playing with the NFC East crown on the line, and Dallas would get some revenge, shutting out the Eagles, 24-0.
Had the Eagles won that game, they would have been the 2 seed. With the loss, they still got into the playoffs with a wildcard berth as a 6 seed, when they would face the Cowboys once again in the first round. That went almost as badly. If you didn't immediately know the Eagles were losing that game after Donovan McNabb's pregame air guitar, you just didn't know the Eagles:
That Cowboys playoff win broke a 13-year Cowboys playoff win drought that included 5 playoff losses.
Leading up to the Eagles' and Cowboys' "2013 NFC East Championship," starting quarterback Tony Romo was ruled out, and Kyle Orton had to start. The Cowboys had a chance to win it late, but Brandon Boykin ended a last-minute Cowboys drive before it ever really got going.
I had completely forgotten about the egregious roughing the passer no-call of George Selvie on Nick Foles near the end of this game. (Oh, by the way, if you don't think the NFL and all of its TV partners don't have a clear preference for the Cowboys and the ratings they draw in the playoffs over the Eagles this year, you're crazy.)
Anyway, the Eagles were one-and-done the next week at home against the Saints.
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