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16 Sep 2005

Too Deep Zone: Enemies Enshrined

by Mike Tanier

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin became The Triplets on January 10th, 1992. They beat the Eagles 34-10 in the divisional round of the playoffs that day, en route to their first Super Bowl victory.

Some may quibble with that birth date, saying that The Triplets were born a week later when they beat the 49ers to win the NFC, or a few weeks later, when they steamrolled the hapless Bills to win the Super Bowl. But heroes must slay dragons to become legends. The Eagles breathed fire in those days, and three young Dallas warriors subdued them with sword and lance to become legends that January day.

Legends in Texas, to be sure, and in most of America. In Philadelphia, they became arch villains. We rooted for the dragon. So while most of a nation respected and admired The Triplets, we grew to despise and revile them.

And while most football fans will tip their caps at The Triplets as the enter the Cowboys Ring of Honor, a few rival fans, still tasting sour grapes from a decade ago, may be tempted to say "good riddance".

Buddy, Bounties, and Hot Dog Wrappers

The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is one of the greatest in American sports. By contrast, the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry has usually been a one-sided hate fest, born from decades of gridiron failure along the Delaware River. Philadelphia-area Cowboys fans are reviled as the ultimate traitors, prodigal sons wooed by the glamour, the flash, and the possibility of an actual championship that the Cowboys offered in the 1960s, 70's, and 80s. By contrast, Texans view Eagles fans as just another bunch of also-rans with a chip on their shoulders.

Times were different in 1988, when the first Triplet, Michael Irvin, entered the NFL. The Cowboys had fallen on hard times, and Eagles coach Buddy Ryan made it team policy to kick dirt on them whenever he could, running up the score at the end of one game by having Randall Cunningham fake a clock-killing kneel, only to uncork a bomb. Ryan's antics earned him adoration in the beer-soaked 700 level of Veterans Stadium. Every 23-7 and 27-0 victory was a reminder that while the Eagles couldn't get over the playoff hump, at least the Cowboys were lying facedown in the mud. And Cowboys fans, unaccustomed to losing, began to return a little of the hate.

Irvin couldn't harm us back in 1988, certainly not with Steve Pelluer throwing him the ball. Aikman arrived a year later. He made his debut against the Eagles in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in 1989. He completed 7-of-21 passes for 54 yards and three interceptions. The Eagles cruised to a 27-0 win.

We soon learned that there was a price on Aikman's head. "We were told last night by a Philadelphia coach," said Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson after the game, "and it's confirmed by two different players - there's a $200 bounty on (kicker Luis) Zendejas and a $500 bounty on Troy." Players allegedly collected bonuses for knocking Cowboys out of the game; Ryan called the allegations "crap". The Bounty Bowl saga lasted through the Eagles 20-10 win over Dallas a few weeks later, in which Aikman threw his first touchdown against the Eagles. The league investigated. The media was outraged. Eagles fans, for the most part, snickered along with their defiant coach.

Irvin and Aikman were still merely a duet; neither even had their starting jobs locked up in 1989, and Irvin was hurt much of the year. Smith arrived in 1990, scoring a late touchdown to spur a near comeback by the Cowboys in a 21-20 Eagles win.

We feared this new arrival from the start. "Describing his running style is as futile as tackling him," wrote Philadelphia Inquirer scribe Jere Longman in 1990. Longman took a darn good stab at it anyway: "Smith is not big (5-foot-9, 195 pounds) or particularly fast (4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash). But he is maddening to tackle. He darts, feints, shifts back and forth like a typewriter carriage. He stops in the hole -- comes to a complete stop -- looks unhurriedly for a seam and skates across the field like a hot dog wrapper."

Now part of a trio of offensive stars in Dallas, Smith was destined to get bigger. And loom larger.

Settled Scores and Dead Chickens

The Cowboys returned to playoffs in 1991. Irvin finally shook off injuries and became an outstanding receiver. He scored his first touchdown against the Eagles in a late December win at Veterans Stadium, the Cowboys' first win in Philly since 1986. Steve Beuerlein, subbing for Aikman, threw the pass. Times were changing. Buddy Ryan was gone. The Eagles missed the playoffs for the first time in four years. The Cowboys reached the playoffs, only to be hammered by the Lions. Our most hated rivals were once again worthy foes, thanks in part to their trio of young offensive stars. But they weren't The Triplets yet: legends don't lose to the Lions in the playoffs.

Then 1992 arrived. The Cowboys went 13-3, running away with the division. The Eagles were a Wild Card team. The Cowboys' worst lost of that season was in Philadelphia, a 34-7 rout. The Eagles beat the Saints in the Wild Card game, their first playoff win since the Dick Vermeil era. Despite a two-game difference in the standings, there was reason to believe that two equals were squaring off at on that January day in Texas Stadium.

Until the game started.

The Eagles took a 3-0 lead on their first possession, but Aikman orchestrated a 10-play, 46-yard scoring drive, helped along by a 16-yard run by Smith. Later in the first half, Aikman completed a bomb to WR Alvin Harper, then a scoring strike to Jay Novacek. On the first possession of the third quarter, Irvin got involved, turning a slant into a 22-yard catch to put the Cowboys in Eagles territory.

Then Smith took over. His 23-yard touchdown run four plays after Irvin's catch gave the Cowboys a 24-3 lead. And Smith personally secured that lead. The Eagles did everything to stop him -- safety Andre Waters was accused of threatening to break Smith's leg -- but nothing worked, as Smith racked up 74 rushing yards after halftime.

As the Eagles headed for the tunnel, a Cowboys fan dangled a dead rubber chicken dressed in green over their heads. Fans shouted "F*** Philadelphia!" as the Eagles left the field. The Eagles had been systematically dismantled. Aikman finished with 200 yards and two TDs. Smith ran for 114 yards and a touchdown. Irvin caught six passes for 88 yards.

Three great players, now battle-hardened, now capable of settling old scores. They purged memories of Buddy Ryan. Then they finished some business with the 49ers, who climbed over the Cowboys' backs and into prominence in the early 1980s. Then they racked up 52 points in the Super Bowl.

They deserved a better nickname. But The Triplets would do, especially when Eagles (and Redskins, and Niners) fans added a few choice expletives to the appellation.

Winters of Disrespect

Irvin was an easy target, with his legal problems and outsized appetites for drugs and women. He was everything Philadelphia fans hate: Apollo Creed, without the class. We swore he pushed off every time he got open, except for the times when Novacek set a pick for his defender on a crossing route.

We questioned Aikman's manhood, and his sexuality. It was a common joke in Philly, repeated often on talk radio, shouted from the 700-level. As he beat us time and again, grinding the Eagles into the dirt like he was snuffing out a cigarette on his way to another Lombardi trophy, it was all we had left to taunt him with. It was juvenile, the humor of last resort as Rick Kotite's Eagles slipped into the basement.

And Smith? He scared the hell out of us, always earning something close to grudging respect. He was the one doing all the dirty work, we reasoned. In 1993, he set a Cowboys record with 237 rushing yards in one game against the Eagles. The old mark was set by Tony Dorsett. Against the Eagles.

As the Super Bowl victories piled up in Dallas, memories of bounties and Buddy boasts and fake-kneels faded. The Eagles were just a speed bump, swept by the Cowboys in 1993 and 1994. In Philly, Ryan's Cowboy-stompin' heyday became legendary, tales of a time before ogres named Troy, Michael, and Emmitt ruled the NFL.

The Eagles and their fans clamored for respect. The Eagles were 10-point underdogs at home against Dallas in 1993; the Philadelphia Daily News ran an article in which several players grumbled about the spread. The Eagles didn't cover. In 1994, Cowboys LB Robert Jones was asked about the Eagles rushing attack of Herschel Walker and Charlie Garner. "They put no fear in our hearts," he quipped.

Cowboys pride became hubris on December 10th, 1995. Many of the names had changed -- Barry Switzer coached the Cowboys, Ray Rhodes the Eagles -- but The Triplets were still there, two championships in the bag and a third in their sights. So with the score tied at 17, with the ball on the Cowboys 29-yard line, and facing 4th-and-1 late in the game, it may have made some sense for Switzer to call Smith's number on a simple off-tackle run.

But when Smith was stuffed, yet officials declared that the play had been whistled dead and that the Cowboys would get another chance, it made a lot less sense to call the exact same play. Smith was stuffed again. The Eagles kicked a field goal and won the game.

We had stopped the Cowboys. We had stopped Smith, most dangerous of the Triplets. The Eagles were returning to the playoffs. Fans believed again, believed in the tough-talking Rhodes, in offensive wunderkind Jon Gruden, in our ability to beat the Cowboys now that they were older, fattened by success, and coached by a dolt.

After a lopsided victory over the Lions in a Wild Card game, the Eagles traveled to play the Cowboys in January of 1996. A winter storm dumped over a foot of snow on Philadelphia that weekend. Fans stayed in their homes, hoping for playoff redemption.

Instead, we got a reality check: Cowboys 30, Eagles 11.

Smith rushed for 99 yards and one of the touchdowns. Aikman threw another to Irvin, their only hookup of the game. The first touchdown of the game was scored by a new foe: Deion Sanders, who took a handoff on a reverse, escaped three tacklers, and raced 21-yards into the end zone. "I finally got to see the dance," Irvin said of Sanders' first score as a Cowboy.

Eagles fans saw the dance too. Had The Triplets become the Four Horsemen? It was irrelevant. The Philadelphia Inquirer called the game "just another Texas Stadium mismatch." Eagles fans rooted for the Steelers as hopelessly as we had rooted for the Bills against the Cowboys in the Super Bowl.

Three players, three rings. One city of fans shaking their fists at the mountain.

Brotherly Loathe

The Triplets remained great after that third Super Bowl win, but they ceased to be immortal. Eagles fans learned they were human in 1996, when Aikman threw an interception in the end zone to conclude what appeared to be a come-from-behind Cowboys drive. The Eagles became terrible, but the Cowboys were suddenly just good, and they could no longer wither us with their gaze. CB Bobby Taylor learned how to contain Irvin. Aikman was starting to take sacks. The talent around them was slipping. Only Smith kept plowing.

Then, on October 10th, 1999, at 1:16 PM, in Veterans Stadium, The Triplets ceased to be. Irvin's head got caught between Eagles safety Tim Hauck's knee and the granite slab that Philadelphians jokingly called a playing surface. He lay on the field, motionless.

Eagles fans -- some of them, a vocal minority of them -- cheered.

Jay Mariotti re-christened Philly as "The City of Brotherly Loathe." Most Eagles fans were appalled by what became a notorious incident. The local talk radio station was flooded with apologists the next day. Some said they cheered until they realized how hurt Irvin was. Some said they were mortified and would never return to a game.

But one fan, quickly cut off by the radio hosts (but quoted in the Inquirer by future radio personality Anthony Gargano), offered no apology. "The only thing that would have made me happier is if it would have been a coffin, not a stretcher, coming out."

It was the ugliest incident ever in a city notorious for ugly fan incidents. It was reprehensible. But it demonstrated how deeply feelings ran. For some fans, The Triplets and the Cowboys weren't sports rivals. They really were archenemies, bringers of misery and frustration and disappointment, emotions so strong that some Eagles fans -- more than just a few -- forgot their basic humanity and started acting like a bloodthirsty mob.

Irvin would never play again. Aikman would retire a year later. Smith -- who would rush for 2,466 yards against the Eagles in his career -- soldiered on and on, one of the few reminders of Super Bowl glory as the Cowboys strung together 5-11 seasons under forgettable coaches. In his last game against the Eagles, he carried the ball eight times for 30 yards in a 27-3 loss. It was sad: Triplet turned Lone Ranger on a team with no more use for legends.

Love Thine Enemy

They are up on the wall now in Texas Stadium, where they cannot hurt the Eagles anymore. Or perhaps they will smile down on Julius Jones and Roy Williams the way Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett and Don Meredith smiled on them, invigorating the next generation of Cowboys to terrorize the NFL in general and the Eagles in particular.

Can green-bleeding Eagles fans like me finally look past the bitterness? Can we cheer Irvin's brilliance in penance for once cheering his adversity? Can we praise Aikman as thoroughly as we once belittled him? Can we finally accept these players for who they are: Hall of Famers, All Time Greats, True Champions?

Honorable foes, worthy of respect and admiration?

If we cannot, then Eagles fans deserve everything that's said about us, every cheap "snowballs at Santa Claus" crack that national writers and announcers throw at us. We went through too much with The Triplets. We witnessed their birth and their fall. Maybe they are Darth Vader, Lex Luthor, and The Joker to some, but without great villains, our heroes wouldn't be very interesting.

Congratulations, gentlemen. It was a pleasure to root against you.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 16 Sep 2005

106 comments, Last at 23 Sep 2005, 2:42pm by Carl

Comments

1
by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 10:02am

Nice piece Mike. But you know you can never show your face in South Philly again, right? ;^)

2
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 10:16am

Yeah, I wish I could be a mature adult about the Triplets, but screw it. I hope they enjoy long lifetimes of painful and debilitating arthritis in their knees. That Barry Switzer 4th down call was one of my life's better moments.

3
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 10:37am

A philly fan has to be able to write about other hall of famers if their are none of his own to write about.

McNabb and his ringless fingers will be there someday.

4
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 10:42am

I can always count on Mike Tanier to make me enjoy wallowing as a Philly fan after every loss.

5
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 10:48am

I love the description of Emmitt Smith. As a Giants fan, I know the feeling all too well. I still have nightmares about the time he beat us for 150 yards rushing and 8 receptions with a separated shoulder. At his prime, Emmitt Smith could slip on the sidewalk and gain 4 yards. I mean, he was a Cowboy, and therefore evil, but... sweet merciful crap, how did he do that?

6
by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 11:49am

Beautiful piece. Ah, to revel in the hate of years past. And we have not shook off the indignity yet--is no one else dismayed by the offensive presence of Troy Aikman calling Eagles games for Fox? I still fantasize about the Eagles D running up to the announcer's booth after some victory and sacking Aikman once more, for old time's sake.

7
by Dictionary Police (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 11:50am

"Unholy trinity" is the phrase you were looking for. An "unholy trilogy" would be the Lord of the Rings as described by the Catholic Church.

8
by Eagles Blow (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 12:21pm

Am I the only one in here with a touch of schadenfreude for the Eagles? I mean, anyone who is an independent, objective soul dispatched to the old Vet will tell you just how savage, stupid and felonious the behavior of the drunken Eagle fans were/are.

I mean, these were the same fans who yelled to Joe Jurevicius, "Where's your son?" over and over.

The man had just buried his kid, who died shortly after birth.

And it was the same gaggle of malcontents who ridiculed an injured Michael Irvin. Who, way up in Level 700, tossed snowballs in 1989 at players.

These same fans who urinate in sinks and corners rather than wait in line to piss.

And it's not as if this is new. They booed Santa in 1968. Santa! In a year of great discord worldwide, what with Tet, the Democratic Convention, MLK, cities burning, the Great Leap Forward, Eagles' fans decided Public Enemy No. 1 wasn't LBJ or Ho Chi Minh, BUT SANTA?

This was the stadium with its own lockup, you know? Well, until 1997, when they moved it to nearby Municipal Court.

For the record, convictions for drunkeness, fighting and other violations of social norms run about 35 per year at Philly games, but only a fraction are actually from the city. The rest are jerks who come to the game and cause trouble.

My favorite conviction was the woman caught in 2001 performing oral sex in Level 700 for pay. Great.

They were playing the Cardinals. Now, the Cards might blow, but they don't blow Section 700 for laundry money.

In a sick sense, don't all of us who live outside of Philadelphia privately wish the visiting team beats the crap out of them, as tribute to the fans? That all is right in the world when the Philly bums don't get to gloat, but most stew in the filth of their own rancor?

And cry themselves to sleep realizing that their country cousins out west, the Stillers, win Super Bowls?

And the bums in nearby Baltimore have the old Browns (Browns!) with a Lombardi trophy? Or the Skins? Or, best of all, the pretty Cowboys?

9
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 1:14pm

I'm no Eagles fan, but
1) The Santa incident was 25 years ago, and Santa was a drunken, disheveled slob who looked more like a homless guy than Jolly old saint Nick.
2) Anybody who hits Jimmy Johnson with a snowball is fine by me.

10
by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 1:30pm

Looks like you've got some deep seeded anger issues there yourself, #8. You'd fit right in up in the 700's! ;^)

11
by ART (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 1:41pm

First,
for "B" amen.

second, its actually a blessing for Aikman to call birds games now, it forces him to complement the Eagles.

Third, does anyone remember the game in 1991 when Troy was sacked 11 times?

fourth, just when was the last time steelers won a superbowl?

12
by Eagles Eat Ass (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 1:54pm

"fourth, just when was the last time steelers won a superbowl?"

When have the Eagles ever won a Super Bowl?

13
by Bucky (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 1:56pm

It is telling that the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs won a Super Bowl before the Eagles did. Eagles, Flyers, Phillies. So much mediocrity. I feel sorry for the city.

14
by Eagles Blow (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 1:58pm

"You’d fit right in up in the 700’s! ;^)"

I'm a married man, so I could use the oral sex. Does it come with admission? Or do you have to pay extra for the luxury?

15
by Adam H (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 2:29pm

Now that you mention it, this thread reminds me of "Lord Of The Rings" with all the trolls running around and everything.

16
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 2:31pm

And it’s not as if this is new. They booed Santa in 1968.

No, they booed a crappy Christmas pageant. Can we finally get this right?

17
by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 2:32pm

RE:#14 "I’m a married man, so I could use the oral sex."

Man, no wonder you've got so much pent up anger. You have my sympathies. I'm glad I don't have that problem in my marriage. It might make me lash out at strangers too. ;^)

18
by Eagles Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 2:32pm

I would rather have Aikman calling Eagles games than playing against them (or at least playing against them in his mid-90s form). Besides, he's actually a good announcer, and better than some of the alternatives. (Cris Collinsworth? Daryl Johnston? Ugh.)

19
by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 2:54pm

Extremely well written piece. For someone who doesn't like the 'Boys and is indifferent to the Eagles, I really liked this. It does seem like it belongs on a bigger stage though.

20
by Eagles Blow (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:01pm

"It might make me lash out at strangers too."

Who said I'm lashing out at strangers? I had to GO TO THOSE GAMES!!!!!!!!

We have met the enemy, and it is me.

21
by Larry (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:04pm

Beatiful piece. Brings back so many memories.

22
by Artemis (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:08pm

It's OK, Blow. Ray will attack you for your "ad hominem" charges against the Level 700 prostitute, the Eagles hooligans and, heck, probably the snowballs.

You can't call it for what it is without lowering the discourse.

I mean, once we do that, don't we become apologists for just about anything?

"No, they booed a crappy Christmas pageant."

Indeed!

23
by Little Juan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:14pm

Oh, come on, Pat!

This from the very article you use to debunk the myth --

The authors don't deny boos were heard and that snowballs were tossed. Are they saying Santa had it coming?

"Santa had it coming for a different reason actually," says Macnow. "Santa was a surrogate that day for Joe Kuharich and Jerry Wolman and Norm Snead. The poor kid just happened to be representing the frustrations."

Yeah, and utility closets at the Vet were "surrogates" for toilets, the prostitute in Level 700 (that's priceless, Eagles Blow) was a "surrogate" for a succubus and yada, yada, yada.

You seem to be a nice guy, Pat, but Eagles fans, to borrow a phrase I learned here, blow.

24
by displaced philadelphian (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:16pm

great piece.

a actually don't mind it when aikman calls the games, if only for that special moment when the stadium loudspeaker pronounces, "We'd like you to welcome the television broadcast team for today's game, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman"

it's a beautiful thing.

also happens when Simms is there for CBS, but definitely not as heartily.

25
by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:18pm

RE:#22

You seem to be taking all this pretty seriously. If you've still got issues with what I said in the TMQ thread, feel free to take it up over there. But please don't muck up other threads. That thread was bad enough.

What's wrong with teasing the troll a bit? Even Eagles Blow seems to have a decent sense of humor about it. How about you?

26
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:22pm

Hmmmmm. Might I add something here? The Eagles fans aren't alone in the realm of bad fans. I can assure you that I've been doused with beer and spit because I walked out of Heinz Field with the Raiders -- my mistake, never made again -- and was told by a fat, drunken Bengals fan, "Nice suit, faggot!" while I went to dinner with a player from one of his division rivals.

Ravens fans, to me, always seemed closer to Philly fans than anyone else.

Some of the nicer fans out there were found in San Diego and New Orleans -- must be because they're long suffering -- and in St. Louis.

The one thing I've noticed about Dallas fans is that they don't seem to really think a lot about the Eagles. It's not exactly a big division rival in their minds. They worry more about the Redskins and Giants, I've noticed.

That must bug Philadelphia fans who sincerely loathe the Cowboys. To know that your hated rivals don't really hate you, or think much about you at all, must grate.

27
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:25pm

This from the very article you use to debunk the myth –

The article was to point out the book, not the article, which represented the book poorly (worse than I thought at first reading).

The fans were expecting a float, a large pageant. They got a 19-year old Santa.

They weren't booing/throwing snowballs at him. They were booing the Eagles management, who they already hated.

28
by JasonK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:50pm

"That must bug Philadelphia fans who sincerely loathe the Cowboys. To know that your hated rivals don’t really hate you, or think much about you at all, must grate."

I think that's the real issue. The Cowboys were walked over by the Skins & (to a lesser extent) the Giants in the '80s, and developed an enduring emnity for those clubs. The Eagles were generally better than the 'Boys in those years, but never the true target.

I suppose it is some consolation, though, that the Eagles haven't had to worry about the Cowboys, Redskins, or Giants at all for the past 3 seasons.

29
by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 3:51pm

RE:#26 "That must bug Philadelphia fans who sincerely loathe the Cowboys. To know that your hated rivals don’t really hate you, or think much about you at all, must grate. "

Absolutely. Damn Cowboys. ;^P

Also, even the worst football fans aren't that bad on the scale of global sports. Head on over to a big European soccer game to see some REALLY destructive fans.

30
by Clarence (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 4:15pm

How about a link to the oral sex arrest story?

No one is going to mention that Culpepper's mother felt threatened?

Tired stories from long ago.

Name me one snow filled stadium that didn't have snowballs being thrown. How about the flying beer bottles in NO or Cleveland?

But Philly fans rape women and kill children. We also skin cats and eat puppies in the parking lot before the game.

31
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 4:17pm

The Eagles/Cowboys "Rivalry" reminds me of the old Denver/New England Rivalry, where the two teams played eachother every year from the late 70s through 2003. I think at one point the record was 18-2 in favor of Denver. New England fans saw Denver as a hated rival, and Denver saw New England as a nobody.
And for ruly crowd behavior, nothing Philly ever did got the Eagles banned from Monday Night football for 20 years.

32
by S Baker (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 4:24pm

Wasn't that Jan. 10th playoff game in '93, following the '92 season?

33
by MikeT (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 4:31pm

BTW, I fixed the "trilogy/trinity" thing. As FO's only Catholic school boy (I think), I shouldn't have messed that up.

I think the date of that game was 1993. I think New Years should be moved to the day after the Super Bowl.

34
by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 5:21pm

I guess I just can't get past my hatred of Aikman to be happy with him announcing, though he certainly is better at it that a lot of the alternatives. Like the author, the only member of the unholy Trio I give grudging respect to is Emmitt Smith.

I lived in San Diego 3 years. Chargers fans aren't "nice", they simply don't exist. None of my coworkers followed the Chargers, there's always something else to do on Sundays when it's sunny 300+ days of the year. The city has a horrid policy of buying large blocs of tickets just to guarantee the Chargers games won't be blacked out. Maybe things changed this past year but that seems to be the very definition of a fair-weather fan.

Did anyone see the short film on Monday on ESPN2 about Eagles fans? It was on before the MNF game. Pretty accurate.

35
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 6:22pm

Carl:

As an Eagles fan, I can assure you of why we don't like the Cowgirls. It is really not so much to do with the Cowgirls themselves, or any rivalry (which they clearly don't share), but the mass defection of native Philadelphians to the legion of Cowgirls fans. They still call up to the talk-radio shows just to taunt Eagles fans, and strut about in their Cowgirls official NFL gear around town.

The hatred and vitriol from Philadelphia towards Dallas is mostly about Philadelphia's own wayward brethren. The team is merely a convenient surrogate. Hence the fast selling Eagles shirt showin the Philadelphia Eagle and the text "Fuck Dallas".

Pat and Mike would probably agree that the Eagles might win or lose against even the Redskins or Giants, and life will go on though we might be disapointed, but the Dallas games are our chance to vicariously beat the everliviing crap out of everyone who ever betrayed us. And a coach is judged here by how he manhandles the Cowgirls when given the opportunity. 1980 NFC Championship game? Sneak TD passes from the position of taking a knee? The Pickle Juice game? Gosh, I can hardly wait for this year's installment!

Want to know why we like Big Red? Look at his record here with the Cowgirls - 10-2.

1999
13-10 Eagles
20-10 Cowboys @ Dallas

2000
41-14 Eagles @ Dallas
16-13 Eagles

2001
40-18 Eagles
36-3 Eagles @ Dallas

2002
44-13 Eagles
27-3 Eagles @ Dallas

2003
23-21 Cowbowys @ Dallas
36-10 Eagles

2004
49-21 Eagles @ Dallas
12-7 Eagles

This year's first auto-demolition of Dallas is coming soon. I can hardly wait!

36
by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 6:30pm

Jay Mariotti re-christened Philly as “The City of Brotherly Loathe.� Most Eagles fans were appalled by what became a notorious incident. The local talk radio station was flooded with apologists the next day. Some said they cheered until they realized how hurt Irvin was.

As a veteran of section 639 (two rows from the 700 level, from which then-private-citizen Ed Rendell bet a fellow fan $20 that he couldn't hit Jimmy Johnson with a snowball), I can absolutely confirm that the Irvin hit was cheered when it looked like he had the wind knocked out of him, and stopped when it became clear it was serious.

37
by Keith Cockrell (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 6:53pm

re 26. Probably not a lot of Cowboys fans reading this thread this far down, but as one I have to reassure the Eagles fans, we HATE you. I'd rather sweep the Eagles than make the playoffs. Buddy Ryan, cheering Michael Irvin being paralyzed, signing T.O. Hate, hate, hate. (Within, of course, the context of sports, not actual hate, so to speak, does that keep me from getting a reprimand?)
Sure there was a time when the Eagles were an afterthought but after being 2-10 against them, it's not that way anymore. So if it makes you feel any better, know that you are sincerely the opposite of loved in Dallas.

38
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:01pm

I have to say, I really, really hate the Cowboys. That MNF drubbing the Eagles gave them on 11/15/04 will stay saved on my TiVo forever. I still watch it from time to time - most recently after this week's MNF horrific loss to the Falcons. I couldn't believe it was the same team!!!!!

39
by Cowboys Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:04pm

As a lifelong, DFW area Cowboys fan I have to disagree with Keith. There are 2 reasons we want to beat the Eagles now. 1) We hate Philly. Everything about the city, from it being on the East Coast, to the fans, to the liberalism, goes against everything that we are. 2) Ya'll have been the class of the NFC East for 5 years now. We can't stand not being the best. That's the same reason we want to get a shot at NE.

In 5 years, when Philly is right back in their rightful place at the bottom of the NFC East, we will once again not have any thought of them. Much different from our relationship with the Redskins, who we love playing even more when they are bad. So, to Keith I say, you're wrong. To the rest of you I say see you October 9.

If you're wondering why so many Cowboys fans, it's been linked on a Cowboys blog a couple of times. Great article by the way.

40
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:30pm

PhillyCWC #38:

One of my favorite games too, along with the Pickle Juice game!

I loved how Lito Shepherd ran the score up with his 100+ yd INT returned for a TD.

Nothing like breaking the record for Away team scoring in Dallas.

41
by TBW (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:33pm

Re: 34

Nothing has changed in San Diego. I moved here three years ago from Philly. I watch last weeks game on TV and was appalled by the fact that it sounded like there were more Cowboys fans than Chargers fans. That's sad. Especially because Cowboys fans are so lame. Listen to an Eagles-Cowboys game in Dallas as you'll swear it was in Philly. So, for Dallas fans to drown you out at your own stadium is just pathetic.

One thing that has changed is the games are actually legitimately sold out.

42
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:42pm

Pat and Mike would probably agree that the Eagles might win or lose against even the Redskins or Giants, and life will go on though we might be disapointed, but the Dallas games are our chance to vicariously beat the everliviing crap out of everyone who ever betrayed us.

Dead on. Beating the crap out of Dallas is beating the crap out of all the people who abandoned the team at their worst.

Beating the crap out of the Giants is beating the crap out of the smarmy New Yorkers who think they're better than everyone else (wasn't there someone who yelled "Who's a millionaire?" at Vet Stadium a few years back)?

Beating the crap out of the Redskins is just good fun. I think everyone can agree to that. :)

43
by TBW (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:47pm

Re: 35

You hit the nail on the head. We hate the Cowboys because of all the front-running, snivelling little weasels we knew as kids who had to cheer for a winner and had a god d*amn Roger Staubach jersey, or Tony Dorsett jersey, etc. These worms resurface every time the Pokes have a good year, and then crawl off and disappear during the down years(actually they probably just slink off and root for whoever won the last Super Bowl). Bottom line, they are the anti-thesis of the average Eagles fan who is loyal to a fault, and we hate them and their favorite team for it.

Compare Eagles fans reactions to the Giants. Sure they hate them, but not like the Cowboys. I think Eagles fans respect Giants fans because until Parcells came along they suffered just as much as Eagles fans did. I never begrudged Giants fans their Super Bowls. Sure, I hate the team, but not the fans.

44
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 8:59pm

I hate to mention this here (as it's a Philly-only kinda thing) but did anyone else see on the Eagles website that they hired Hugh Douglas as a "team ambassador"?

1) Hah again to all of the people who think that it doesn't behoove players to play well with the administration.

2) I wonder if this is a cheap ploy to make sure that Hugh doesn't sign with anyone else, in case they need him during the season. Hmm. :)

45
by DON (not verified) :: Fri, 09/16/2005 - 9:36pm

Eagles fans are the lowest of the low. I personally am coming to Filthy to watch the Boys string a "L" on your tired band of losers.

Screw you ya F++kers!!

46
by DiggerO\'Dell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 12:19am

Thanks, Mike for writing such a class piece on the Triplets. They definitely deserve it as they provided some of the most entertaining moments in the history of the NFL.

I can recall watching the great players of the past on Sundays such as Gayle Sayers, Bob Waterfield, Roger Staubach, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Jerry Rice, and of course, "Sweetness" along with all of the other very great players throughout the history of the game. They, too, were something special. Yet, the Triplets provided a different dimension to the game ... they were members of the Dallas Cowboys ... team players ... leaders, not only in the stats, but more so as human beings.

Philly has had some greats in their history as well, yet I can't recall any team having anything like the Triplets were in their heyday. However, while they were individually great players of the game, they would not have been without great support from their teammates.

For those of you who insist on being bitter, then show some simblance of respect for those that have shown excellence and accomplishment beyond what you're able to perceive. We Dallas fans appreciate a good rivalry born from the contests with hard fighting, well playing opponents and are just as passionate about our team as anyone else. Don't berate us for remaining faithful to our team that has won 5 Super Bowls. We certainly don't begrudge your passion for your Eagles that has yet to win 1.

47
by CowboyFan (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 5:13am

Mr Tanier,

Thank you for your article. Yes, the Triplets were great, and are held in high regard by the Cowboy faithful. They will take their rightful place in football history Monday night joining the Ring of Honor (and and a lesser acknowldgement in the future in Canton Ohio).

However, it takes a real man to admit when his 'enemy' is superior to him - which is why I would like to acknowledge you.

As a lifetime Cowboy fan, I can also face the truth that there will never be anyone who could line up like Reggie White, Jerry Rice is better than Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson combined, and Montana takes Staubach or Aikman any day.

For the rest of the idiots on this post, and I was at the game when Irvin got hurt - and saw how you behaved, I'm laughing out loud!

As a true football fan, I would rather see our best 22 beat your best 22, but when Roy Williams breaks Mcnabb's leg on Oct 9th (horsecollar tackles are legal inside the tackle box), I am personally going to cheer as I eat my Chunky soup.

By the way, what you are all going to have to deal with is that we are going to win another few Super Bowls before you even get another chance.

Buffalo lost four times, but at least they were Super Bowls, you losers can't even do that!

We are also going to sweep you this year.

And for you "tough guys" who think you're so bad because your from "South Silly," I have a few friends nearby in the South Bronx who would like to show you what tough is.

The Eagles will always be losers, that's why they exist.

48
by mike (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 11:24am

im a cowboys fan and have alot of respect for the eagles, although i do hate you guys. mcnabb is the same as aikman for you guys. i hate seeing him come in to texas stadium, scares me to death

49
by GMAN (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 12:03pm

I live with 45 miles of Philadelphia so therefor am an Eagles fan.......NOT. I was in the 60s but a few too many trips to Eagle games soon turned my stomach. My best friend's father had season tickets and we attended every home game for 5 years. Our section was great. He then sold them and so as teenagers we traveled to the higher levels of the stadium. Well as has been documented in this string of messages the idiots reside in the 700 levels. Every horrible ditty written in prior emails is correct. It is a drunk and frustrated fan haven. I have never seen so many frustrated people in my entire life. They have no couth, no teeth, no common sense, etc. You can not bring your kids or wife to the game. There should be a special section full of urine and beer for them to wallow in. Like I said I used to be an Eagle fan and I can appreciate outstanding player no matter who they play for and what attitudes they have. I dislike TO but he is a great talent. Ditto for Deion. Philly fans please mature so that I can go to games other than the Phillies. Thanks

50
by appalled (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 12:38pm

These were the same fans who yelled to Joe Jurevicius, “Where’s your son?� over and over.

The man had just buried his kid, who died shortly after birth.

Scum.

Even the apologists appear to have ignored this. How can the "agony" of following a mediocre team compare to that. Were there any apologies from the Eagles or their fans?

Reprehensible...and I'm an English "soccer" fan.

51
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 2:37pm

Re: #44 - Hugh Douglas the "ambassador":

Yes, I saw that too, in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. I've always liked Hugh, although sadly it appears his playing days may be over. Apparently the shoulder injury was much more severe than he ever let on, and his shoulder still isn't at 100% even after surgery and rehab.

52
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 4:46pm

#39: 1) We hate Philly. Everything about the city, from it being on the East Coast, to the fans, to the liberalism, goes against everything that we are.

We can’t stand not being the best.

As a lifetime Giants fan (first started watching the year we won Super Bowl XXV), hatred of the Cowboys is the one thing that we have in common with Eagles fans.

I (and most other Giants fans) have always has a friendly, respectable rivalry with the Skins: after all, it was essentially the two of us that dominated the old NFL East in the old, pre-AFL days: we're two old clubs with long, storied, respectable histories. I don't mind Philly all that much: the organization itself is a class act, even if the fans are idiots, and I don't mind seeing them do well after so many decades of futility.

As for the Triplets and Cowboys fans? The attitude of #39 exemplifies why we hated them, and hate them still. Sure, there was some grudging respect for Smith, and maybe even Aikman, but nothing but pure hatred for Irvin and for the legions of fair-weather Cowboy fans that tormented us through the 1990s. And the recent arrival of Parcells gives us even more reason. Don't like the East Coast? Too bad, this is the NFC EAST, if you recent interlopers hadn't noticed (And we like it here, thank you very much). You're the odd ones out, not us.

I have always cheered the Cowboys' loss- your arrogant, "entitled", "America's Team" attitude is ripe for a comeuppance.

53
by Michael (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 6:56pm

Thank you. I finally understand. I am a Cowboys fan. I have been since I was old enough to watch football though my dad wasn't a big NFL guy back when I was young (70's). Anyway, I always wondering where the hostility in Philly came from. When I was growing up in the 80's I remember hating the Niners and Deadskins but few memories of the Eagles. My most vivid memories are of the Buddy Ryan Eagles and we (the Cowboys) were always getting pummeled. I wanted revenge for the Dirty Waters and Bounty Bowl crude but I got that out of my system in the mid 90's as we finally got away from constant Philly beatings. I always wondered why you all had such hate for the Boys. The one time I have been to Philly I had a worker at Jim's Cheesesteaks offer to "go outside" because I was wearing a Dallas Cowboy ballcap. It wasn't even football season! Again, I always wondered where this came from...but now I know! You all are incredibly jealous! WOW! Hey guys, as a young kid I once showed up early at an autograph session for Drew Pearson and he was so taken back by me having his rookie card that he let me try on his Super Bowl ring. I guess that means I have gotten to wear what no Eagles player ever has! Truly ironic isn't it?

54
by Michael (not verified) :: Sat, 09/17/2005 - 7:17pm

I forgot...nice article.

Philly fans...sorry about the above...just having fun but seriously...I always respect fans that stick with their teams no matter what. I proudly wore my Cowboys stuff even in '88 and '89. Being a vocal fan of the worst team in the NFL while in high school is very difficult. I always admire fans that remain loyal. Good luck to you this year...except when playing a certain team with a star on the helmet.

Lastly, even you guys deserve better than Owens. Trade Owens back to the 49ers so we can all have a good laugh. You all don't need him. You've done it for 3 of the last 4 years without him. Anyway...too much complimenting of enemies. Must go now.

55
by Matt (not verified) :: Sun, 09/18/2005 - 1:46am

The way the Santa incident is continually brought up, I'm beginning to think that a majority of American sportswriters are under the impression that it was the real Santa.

And ripping Eagles fans a over the Jurevicious incident is like saying White Sox fans are jerks because they all attacked the Royals' first base coach.

56
by Flux (not verified) :: Sun, 09/18/2005 - 10:20am

Philly fans are notorious scum, and rightly so, as far as I've ever seen. Nasty booing incidents at home, usually directed towards black players, and they're no better on the road.

I worked at the San Diego stadium all through the 90s, and the worst fights I ever saw at any football game, by far, were at a philly game in the early 90s, when buddy ryan was still the coach. Philly was very good that year, SD sucked, the game was near the end of the season, and after playing in LA (or someplace west coast) the players running Buddy's asylum voted to stay on the west coast all week, rather than going back to their cold home town. They took the game lightly, they whored it up in hotels on a week without wives, and when the Chargers shockingly rose up and kicked their asses, the entire 4th quarter was just a long parade of drunken fat slobs in green jerseys brawling and being arrested in the cheap seats in the endzone.

Now to be honest, all of the worst fight games came when the home team beat an arrogant visiting team, but honestly, I never saw louder asshole fans for any team ever, and when you consider that SD hosted the Raiders and their traveling circus of fans every season, that's quite a statement.

To be honest part 2, the worst fights I ever saw were at offroad events, but those were just East County rednecks brawling because they were drunk, and there was always far too little security at those events.

(Though there was that one Mexican soccer doubleheader in about '98, when the fans overran the field and began beating security with the pool cues they'd been waving their tri color flags on. But at least they weren't fighting each other in the stands.)

BTW, I don't especially hate or even care about Philly; I'm perfectly happy to insult other large and easily-angered groups. That's what the internet and my website is for, after all. Click my URL for more stupid stories of idiots at the SD stadium, and no, I don't work there anymore, thank Dog.)

57
by tom (not verified) :: Sun, 09/18/2005 - 9:43pm

As an eagles fan from Britain, I can't really comment on any of the stuff about fan rivalries. The cowboys, though, have always felt like a natural enemy for me, and not just because my best friend at school liked them!

I picked Philadelphia as my team because I loved their defence, and thought that Randall Cunningham played the way all Quarterbacks should play, and I came to loathe the Cowboys, out of frustration. It just didn't seem fair that they kept on shattering my dreams!
I can look back and have an awed respect for Emmitt Smith, and Aikman, and people like Novacek, and their amazing o-line, who always seemed to handle Simmons, Reggie, Seth Joyner, and everyone else, so well. But I always hated Michael Irvin. I have to say, he always struck me as the worst kind of player you could be; arrogant, preening, almost all the things that TO can be on a bad day, but with a real extra streak of unpleasantness to him. I'm not glad he got hurt in the way he did, but I still hated him. oh, and Jerry Jones can take a running jump as well. slimy git.

58
by Jay B. (not verified) :: Sun, 09/18/2005 - 10:06pm

I am an Eagles fan, and I am occasionally appalled by the behavior of some of my fellow fans. However, I believe that Philadelphia's reputation has been exaggerated: the media (and perhaps the nation) has decided that Philly fans are boors (they BOOED SANTA!!!), and so, the slightest indication of fan impropriety gets magnified. But I do not believe for a second that similar incidents do not frequently occur among fans of other teams. And I am even more certain that the boors among Philadelphia phans are a small minority. They're probably a minority even in the Linc (although I've never been there). But because they're noisy, the many thousands of well-behaved fans are overlooked.

Anyway, why the hell do people care so much about the behavior of fans of other teams? The notion that enjoying Eagles losses out of some sense of Schaedenfreude because of behavior of (some) fans seems pretty silly to me.

59
by Santa (not verified) :: Sun, 09/18/2005 - 10:59pm

I want the Eagles to lose. You boo me, and you'll never get a Super Bowl for Christmas. Ever.

Hear me Level 700? Never.

Ho ho ho.

60
by Scott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 8:49am

re: # 48

After yesterday's dismantling of the Niners, I can see why. We forget among all the hair-pulling about the Superbowl that Reid has built the most dominant team in the NFC for the past few years. It's hard for us to realize that the Eagles can actually scare other teams at the moment. I had a guy rip into me last winter at a party when I started in on the whiny Eagles fan crap--he was a Lions fan and boy do they know about misery.

61
by L (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 9:38am

Your little booing against each other is nothing compared to some Soccerfans in good old Europe. Beer-Shower and Snowballs is for Tea drinking Ladies.
Moovie tip: The Football Factory:
i.e. the "Millwall - Bushwackers" (cited by a BBC undercover producer investigating football firms as "by far the most dangerous football firm in Britain")

62
by tom (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 11:02am

oh, yeah, fans of proper football are awful in britain. All the Gridiron stuff I've read about sounds pretty tame by comparison.

63
by Booby Clark (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 11:08am

"We forget among all the hair-pulling about the Superbowl that Reid has built the most dominant team in the NFC for the past few years."

'(M)ost dominant team in the NFC for the past few years' might be the most dubious praise I've heard in a long, long time.

Weren't the Bills the 'most dominant team' in the AFC for a long, long time?

I love how someone will try to justify some "fear factor" claptrap when a team dismantles the SF 49ers!

I'm not sure the Eagles would place third in the AFC East. Sure, they made it closer in the Super Bowl, but they weren't really on par with the AFC champions.

I got the feeling last season that the AFC title game largely determined the Super Bowl. It will be the same this year.

I'd put the Colts, Pats, Bills, Steelers and, possibly, the Jets if they can get the O-line working again and the QB's shoulder healed, ahead of the Eagles, a team that doesn't look nearly as "dominant" as last year's squad.

I'm not too sure Dallas won't win the division.

64
by Jay B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:02pm

So, the Eagles lose by three points to the Patriots, giving the Pats by far their toughest game of the playoffs, and somehow now they might not even finish third in the AFC East? And the Steelers and Colts, both of whom the Pats destroyed in the playoffs, are also better than the Eagles?

Interesting logic.

65
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:16pm

Let's not forget that the Steelers handed Philly's first string thier only regular season loss last year. The Colts, however, fall behind Philly in my power rankings. Right now, I'd put Pittsburg first, then NE, Philly and the Indy for the top four teams in the NFL.

66
by Scott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:19pm

"I’m not too sure Dallas won’t win the division."

Wow, what a vote of confidence. Can you add some more qualifiers in there?

Sure, Dallas could win the division this year. So could the Giants. But I don't think it very likely. The Eagles have the fewest question marks of any NFC East team, and they sure played like it yesterday. I'm not too worried about the opposition yet. And yes, the Bills were awesome during the Jim Kelly years. Sorry if you don't see that.

Two weeks into the season, the only NFC teams that really impress me are Carolina and Philly. Both lost close Superbowls to New England over the past 2 years, and Carolina had its revenge yesterday. I'd say that indicates these teams can play with the cream of the AFC.

67
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:31pm

Right now, I’d put Pittsburg first, then NE, Philly and the Indy for the top four teams in the NFL.

psst, B, it's Pittsburgh, with an h. Really. They're sensitive about that. :)

But I couldn't agree with you more about those rankings. I'm actually happy to see Pittsburgh playing so well. A Keystone State Superbowl would make me so happy.

68
by Santa (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:39pm

Scott,

I hope for your sake that the Eagles play more teams like SF every week than Atlanta.

Funny that the Falcons don't impress you, since they spanked some Eagle ass pretty handily. And I think Atlanta is a pretty weak team that luckily for them plays in a weak division.

69
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:47pm

I'd hold off on Dallas until after tonight. The Redskins have a very good defensive team, especially upfront, and their power running game should be interesting to watch against a Cowboys squad that's designed to be lighter and faster.

Still, not being to actually pass the ball might hurt the Redskins. We'll see where Brunell is.

I love football in that division because the teams are so very different in the way they approach the game. Like Coach Claus, I'm still not sure the Eagles will win the division. It depends on the strides Dallas made against the run late in close games, the QB situation and how they can adapt to the Eagles' defense.

I get the feeling the Cowboys won't ask their QB to scamper and dash like Michael Vick.

As for the Falcons, I'll ask once again this year, Why don't they just got to an option offense? Wishbone, anyone?

70
by tom (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 1:55pm

Carl, I'd have really liked the falcons to draft Matt Jones and go down that route. Just imagine the looks on Defensive Co-ordinators' faces...

71
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:01pm

Funny that the Falcons don’t impress you, since they spanked some Eagle ass pretty handily.

The Falcons are the NFC's answer to the Colts: a team that plays much better on their own turf than away. Last year they were 8-1 at home, 4-5 on the road. It's not surprising that they beat the Eagles at home, and then lost to Seattle away.

And since when did 14-10 become an "ass spanking"? If the Falcons had played that game in Philly, they likely would've lost.

72
by Santa (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:07pm

Maybe we watched different games, but I saw an Eagles quarterback completely out of rhythm never really competing against a defense that contained the passing game pretty well. TO had some yardage, but overall the Eagles never appeared ready to actually take the lead.

The defense faced a team that really doesn't throw the ball. Yet the non-throwing team still ran over a team that supposedly is good at keeping teams from doing exactly that.

I turned off the set thinking the Eagles were pretty overrated. Beating up on the 49ers at home doesn't change that.

73
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:24pm

I won't argue that the Eagles offense looked bad. Duh. That's fairly obvious. All that tells you is that Atlanta's defense is pretty good - which we knew from last year.

The defense faced a team that really doesn’t throw the ball. Yet the non-throwing team still ran over a team that supposedly is good at keeping teams from doing exactly that.

Er? Philly's pass defense is far, far stronger than its rush defense, and their rush defense is pretty bad without Trotter (not surprising, given the defensive style). You would expect a non-throwing team to do well against them.

Once Jeremiah Trotter got ejected before the game, virtually everyone (go back and check the FO open thread) immediately thought "oh crap, they're going to run right over the Eagles."

74
by Santa (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:37pm

Part of the reason the Eagles have been so good against the run is because they've blanked teams trying to pass. I agree completely.

Losing Simon to the Colts hurt. Losing Trotter before the game hurt. But to me that still does not explain how they were manhandled by the Falcons.

Atlanta, you see, is a team we know is rarely going to pass. When they do, the pass won't be all that accurate. To say you can predict exactly how a Falcons offensive drive will play it is an understatement.

When you are stacking the box against the run, and the Falcons are still running on you, it might be time to reassess how your defensive line is playing and will play for the rest of the season.

The Eagles are lucky they play in the NFC. They have some very tough games coming up against Kansas City, Dallas, San Diego and Denver.

These teams run the ball well. I don't know if it would be crazy to say that the Eagles might be 2-5 heading into a midseason game with Washington.

I still think they can roll off eight straight after that against weak competition and make the playoffs, but still finish second to Dallas.

I say they beat Oakland, but lose to the other three AFC teams they play.

Ho ho ho.

75
by Scott (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:41pm

No, Atlanta's offense does not impress me. If Vicks hits the right combination scrambling, then they can win games against superior teams. Generally though, I don't seem them going deep in the postseason, though they may get a wildcard because the NFC is relatively weak. And one of these days Vick is going to get his head knocked clean off his body if he doesn't learn to throw. Philly has had its share of scrambling QBs (Cunningham, McNabb). We didn't have much playoff success until they developed as passers too.

76
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:58pm

Although you're not my Brazilian readers, these are my playoff picks:

Playoff teams for 2005-06:

Buffalo

New England *

Pittsburgh (bye)

Bengals *

Colts (best record)

Chiefs (yeah, I picked the Chiefs)

Philly (best record)

Detroit (weak division)

Atlanta (weak division)

Seattle (ibid)

St Louis *

Dallas *

* = wild card

I'm not sure how this will play out, and I have some doubts about Detroit and the Bengals, but there you have it.

Yes, I have the Pats as a wild card.

Shoot me.

77
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 3:05pm

Part of the reason the Eagles have been so good against the run is because they’ve blanked teams trying to pass.

The Eagles have two teams in their own division which run far more than they pass. They face run-first teams all the time.

Losing Simon to the Colts hurt.

For the love of God, Corey Simon is not a run-stopping DT. He was a pass-rusher. He's an undersized DT with good quickness. Except for 2002, when he was injured, he averaged something like 7 sacks a year. Which is why no one should be surprised that you haven't heard people talking about how many amazing run stops Simon has had with the Colts. Right now he's got one tackle to his name as a Colt.

Philly tends to have undersized DTs (e.g. Mike Patterson, their 1st round pick), and quick linebackers to stop edge rushing. This leaves them open to rushes up the middle, which is why a run-stopping MLB is so important.

Gee, guess where the Falcons ran. Trotter isn't just "a little important". He's pretty much the keystone of their run defense. From here,

The Eagles, however, substantially improved their run defense in Week 10 by re-installing Jeremiah Trotter in the middle linebacker position (check out that defensive trend DVOA). Take out the final two regular season games where most starters rested, and the Eagles have allowed only 3.7 yards per carry since Trotter rejoined the starting lineup (-16.6% DVOA). Before that, they allowed 4.9 yards per carry (7.1% DVOA).

Am I going to use Atlanta's offense for the times when Vick was off the field (or hurt) to judge the remainder of their year? No, not if the injury is really temporary. Same deal here.

it might be time to reassess how your defensive line is playing and will play for the rest of the season.

Yup. Sure as heck wouldn't want other teams to score 14 points on the Eagles! Man, if they keep that up the entire year, they'll... have the best defense in the NFL.

78
by Ray (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 3:12pm

As an Eagles fan, I'm not too worried about Atlanta (and not just because of Vick's hammy). I think the Sports Guy put it best:

"To recap: They're playing a revenge game at home, on a Monday night, no less ... there's a pregame fight that results in the other team's only run-stopping linebacker's getting thrown out ... the best player on the other team (McNabb) gets walloped on the first series, leading to a D-plus performance (as it turns out, he was injured seriously enough that he's questionable for Week 2) ... the opposing kicker missed two sub 50-yard field goals ... Vick connected on a touchdown bomb and evaded trouble about 10-12 other times (amazing game from him) ... T.O. looked like he was only intermittently interested in the proceedings ... and the crowd was so loud down the stretch that McNabb couldn't even call audibles. And yet, with all of that going for them, here was the final score: 14-10.

(Translation: I wasn't impressed.)"

The Eagles had a bad game. It happens. Look at the Patriots first game two years ago against Buffalo. One off game in week one does not a season make.

79
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 3:48pm

Yea, but now the Falcons have a sure-fire way to beat the Eagles. Pre-kickoff send your 6th DB and 5th LB to pick a fight with McNabb and Trotter.

80
by Tex (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 6:05pm

Ah, the Eagles fan. I'm a Texan, and lived in Dallas in those days.

You know what I remember most about Philadelphia during The Triplets glory years?

Nothing.

81
by danelectro (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 6:54pm

rest assured igglesfans that you are well hated in cowboy country. my wife, not a football fan, doesn't even know the name of your team, and instead only uses the term 'mean green team.'

82
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 7:31pm

Hi, I'm an average Cowboy fan. I've just spent the entire day calling every show on ESPN Radio to whine incessantly because ABC isn't showing the induction ceremony. Waaaaaaa. Boo freaking hoo.

As a Browns fan, I can't stand either team, so really screw the Cowboys, and the Eagles. It was a good article though.

83
by Eagles Fan in DC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 11:47pm

#79: The Eagles can counter by sending Billy McMullen to call Michael Vick "Ron Mexico".

84
by Dervin (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2005 - 1:32am

Well, as a life-long Eagles fan you really have to admire Troy, I mean forget the wins and the records, who else could play quarterback in the NFL with a family of gerbils up his a$$.

And I believe the Eagles won't win the superbowl until the Eagles' Fans do some sort of penance. But I'd rather have the Rage of Philly than the whine of New England.

85
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2005 - 2:23am

I'm a Packer fan, and the rivalry with the bears is a lot like the cowboys-redskins, with the vikings playing the role of the eagles for the packers...vikings fans seem to get all worked up about the packers-vikings games, while the packers fans care a lot more for the bears games. and yes, i hated that the cowboys kept beating us in the mid 90's time after time. and all the games seemed to be played in dallas...

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by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2005 - 12:49pm

There's a funny vicious cycle in terms of Philadelphia fans. Some Philly fans act like boors, probably to about the same proportion as any other city with a dedicated fan base. People pile on all Philly fans, saying none of us deserve to see a winning team because of X, Y, and Z incidents. We, the more rational fans, get defensive because we're lumped in with the bad behavior and end up, at least partially, justifying the bad behavior. This encourages the boors, and the cycle continues.

For Emmett Smith, I always respected him as a noble enemy, one I won't deny his honors all while wishing he just earned them somewhere else. Aikman, I'll give credit for being a gentleman, even if I feel Smith did the heavy work. And I'll just be a gentleman and not discuss Irvin. There's enough non-Philly fans giving my opinions of him that I don't need to say anything.

It's funny; Philly has quite a few one-sided rivalries, on both ends. Yeah, I know a large number (no idea if it's still a majority) of Dallas fans couldn't care less about us. But then, I've seen some Bucs fans get worked up over the Eagles, and I just shrug. Or, since someone else mentioned them, Pittsbugh teams in general. I was once jumped just outside of the city for wearing a Phillies cap (during football season, natch), but I still can only hate one thing about any Pittsburgh team - that the Steelers lost Super Bowls to Dallas.

Probably the football rivalry I enjoy most as an Eagles fan is with the Giants. Sure, they're a divisional rivals and it can get vicious between their fans and myself. But they've always treated me fairly, give only what they're ready to take, and they act with dignity towards me in victory or defeat. Giants fans, you have my respect (and not just for hating Dallas just as much).

87
by Jason (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 4:08am

This article seems to take the tone that Smith was the Most important of the Triplets. Johnson always maintained that it was Irvin that was the critical component and I agree with him. Any rb with any ability would have had success behind that Hall of Fame Offensive Line. Irvin prevented defenses from jamming the line of scrimmage.

88
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:01pm

I've always felt that Irvin was the most overrated of the triplets. He was a glorified possession receiver who benefited greatly from Aikman's ability to deliver the ball in stride right where Irvin wanted it.

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by tom (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 12:23pm

that does make some sense, though I hate to admit it; the threat of Irvin combined with all the yards Smith gained running from the draw play did make them damn-near impossible to defend against, and it's because there's always that passing threat. I once saw Irvin and aikman connect on the same short slant pattern about five plays in a row against the 49ers; they were just so scared that Aikman was going to hand off to Smith as he dropped back.

90
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 1:54pm

I think the reason why most people see Philly fans as unruly, etc. is because despite only needing a few fans to get a reputation like that - no other football team other than the Raiders comes close. If more than a couple teams had incidents like the ones that happened in Philly it probably wouldn't be as big of a deal - and as time has progressed there have been incidents at other fields and nothing further in Philly which is why in my mind the perception is fading that Philly fans are jerks.

I have to say, it does make a person wonder about Philly when there are multiple instances of widely cited bad fan behavior. Is it because of preconcieved notions drawing people to look for that or are Philly fans more likely to be jerks?

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by Santa (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 4:06pm

"Is it because of preconcieved notions drawing people to look for that or are Philly fans more likely to be jerks?"

The latter makes the former.

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by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 4:25pm

Personally, I think the Philly fans were devout Christans protesting the over-commercialization of Christmas.

93
by Santa (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 5:14pm

When not engaged in prostitution, hooliganism or public urination, at home and on the road.

The NFL's shared revenue system means the Eagles can survive without turnstyle attendance. On behalf of the game of football, league owners should unite and ban all admission to Eagles games.

It would be a quiet stadium, and men wouldn't have to hear jerks cheer the death of a child, the potential paralysis of a wide receiver or witness "head hunting" inspired by the head coach.

Plus men in red with long beards and presents for all the good boys and girls won't get booed.

94
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 6:17pm

Oh, come on. It's not like Giants fans were any better this weekend.

95
by Santa (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 6:41pm

I'm sorry, son, but you've been a naughty, naughty Pat. You won't be allowed into the game either.

Now go play with your lump of coal.

If your good next year, Santa's little helper, Terrell Owens, will show up at Pat camp and read you a bedtime story.

Make sure you have his bonus cookies and milk ready. Santa's little helper is known to hold out if he doesn't get the respect he deserves. And the cookies.

Ho ho ho

96
by Carl (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 6:56pm

I don't know about you guys, but I love how a discussion board about the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans is being hijacked by Santa Claus.

There's a sweet irony in that.

97
by Santa (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 7:18pm

To get even with Ed "Snowball" Rendell, I granted his wish and made him governor of Pennsylvania.

98
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 11:39am

I've heard complaints about urination in places other than the toilets and urinals at many stadiums (most recently, at Buffalo). Why single out Philly?

And given the attendance numbers Philly has been getting the last several years, I hardly think the other NFL teams are "keeping the team afloat."

99
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 11:49am

"And given the attendance numbers Philly has been getting the last several years, I hardly think the other NFL teams are “keeping the team afloat.�

There is no way even the most robust NFL teams could satisfy the salary and benefits caps on their local revenue streams alone. Santa is right. The vast sum of franchise earnings arrive from shared revenues, most especially network and cable television deals, but also from DirecTV, Sirius, apparell sales, licensing, etc.

Quite honestly, a team could have an empty arena in the NFL and still make a fairly good profit. If you doubt this, see the Bengals before their latest stadium deal, or the Cardinals now.

100
by Santa (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 1:02pm

To bedevil naughty boys and girls like Pat, this December I've decided to grant them a wonderful wish.

The Eagles will go 15-1 and win the NFC championship.

But in the SB, they will lose 21-20 on a last second field goal by the (name your AFC team)'s kicker.

Ho ho ho

101
by TMK (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 1:17pm

Say, Carl, I've been meaning to ask this since earlier in the thread, and now you're back....

You mentioned early on that the only fans you've seen as nasty as Philly's might be in Baltimore. I've been in Chicago for 12 years, so I've never been at Internet Boom Crashed, So We Went With a Bank Stadium. What about Raven fans puts them anywhere near Section 700?

102
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 1:52pm

TMK, this is purely subjective, but I once watched a gaggle of Ravens' fans beat up (really savage beating, too) a couple of guys who just happened to have made the mistake of wearing Steelers' jerseys to a game in Baltimore.

They were applauded to the bullying by other drunken, rowdy fans.

I guess that's always stuck in my mind. Maybe it's unfair, but it's kind of defined how I've seen the Ravens' fans ever since.

I know a lot of people hate Browns' fans, too, but I've never seen it. Everytime I go to Cleveland, the fans seem really, really nice. More families, with kids, than at other NFL stadiums. I don't know why.

Of course, the real problem with the NFL isn't uniquely interesting fans. Rather, because of season tickets and boxes controlled by corporations offering seats to people who likely aren't even serious fans of the team, you get a lot of old, disinterested folks in too many places.

That's one of the ironies of Heinz Field. Pittsburgh football fans are some of the smartest, most knowledgeable fans in the world. They remind me a lot of people who follow the Pacers or Knicks or Bruins or Canadiens. Really, really great fans who know probably too much about their sports.

Go to the Big 10 basketball championships in Chicago or Indianapolis and you'll find the same kind of fans there. Really smart hoops minds.

But because of the legacy seating policy, you have a lot of old people leaving early to beat the traffic, no matter the score. And a lot of suits who just want to get to dinner early and they don't really care that Big Ben is driving with seconds left and the Stillers trailing by six.

Atlanta is famous for this.

Also, I'm not a big fan of the tailgating hooliganism that's built up over the years at a lot of NFL arenas. When I saw it at the old Candlestick, I knew we had gone over the edge.

Getting wicked drunk before a game so you're blotto before you sit down is a real travesty to the game. Football is an intellectual pursuit. The game demands the same sort of appreciation one would expect of a jazz concert or a Manet hanging.

Have a beer, sure. But don't pick fights with the poor family who scraped up enough dough to treat their kids to a game. I've seen grown men bully little kids into crying just because they wore a Kerry Collins jersey to a rival arena.

Let the kid grow up to cry over Kerry Collins in his own time. He will.

One of the most pathetic things I've ever witnessed were men so drunk they pissed into plastic cups that they planned on throwing down on the Raiders as they left a game. That's just pathetic.

Grow up. Especially when I have to explain to my dry cleaner how my Burberry got ruined because I had to talk to Warren Sapp before he left the Meadowlands.

None of this should be taken as the gospel on fans around the nation. But when one goes to a lot of games and camps, one starts to notice things. The vast majority of NFL fans are great. But in some places they don't police their own.

103
by Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:41pm

There are boorish fans at every stadium get over it.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/story/349085p-297743c....

The fact that a couple of idiots would say this sort stuff doesn't mean all Giants fans are heartless. The fact that some Eagles fans almost 40 years ago would boo some clown dressed as Santa doesn't mean much either.

104
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:29pm

Quite honestly, a team could have an empty arena in the NFL and still make a fairly good profit. If you doubt this, see the Bengals before their latest stadium deal, or the Cardinals now.

Or you could just look at Green Bay's financials, which are public information.

It's close to what Carl said, but of course, you'd probably have to skimp in several areas to make a good profit (like equipment, etc.). Green Bay's profits were $20M in 2004, and their home stadium tickets were $26M, whereas boxes were $10M of their income. Let's live in Bizarro World where suddenly, the Packers management decides to offer free admission, and free box seats. If they did that, they'd lose money - but the margin is small enough ($16M) that you could probably make it up with cheaper equipment, etc.

Or you could take the Vikings approach and just stay under the cap for many years.

It'd be cool if the NFL could figure out a way to give a financial incentive to teams to do well, though, while preventing that money from feeding back into the strength of the team.

Though, something as simple as a hugely increased playing salary for playoff games might do it.

Of course, note that if the NFL just up and decided that all tickets were free for all teams, I think it'd be a little harder - you do get a sizable amount of revenue from other teams.

105
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:40pm

Pat, you know I love the Green Bay Packers' public filings!

The other thing they could do is cut salary. Nixing about $17 million should do it.

They couldn't play any worse!

106
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:42pm

The other thing, of course, is that the current TV and related shared revenues are far more than the last deal. That projected stadium shortfall has not only been made meaningless in the current system, but laughably so.