Sunday's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles does not hold the excitement of a typical game between these two teams. Both teams have already clinched playoff berths — the Cowboys their 24th division title and the Eagles a wild-card berth — although they could meet soon again in the playoffs. However, these two teams will do anything they can to beat the other because this 61-year-old rivalry is one of the NFL's bitterest. In a series that has as much meanness in it as it does great football, here are the five most memorable moments.
5. Dak Prescott Hits Jason Witten in Overtime
Dallas Cowboys 29, Philadelphia Eagles 23
Oct. 30, 2016 – Arlington, Texas
Rookie quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott met for the first time and Wentz had the upper hand early on, leading Philadelphia to a 23-13 fourth-quarter lead. Then Dallas kicked a field goal and Prescott then threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant to send the game into overtime. The Cowboys got the ball first and Prescott led them on a 12-play, 75-yard drive that was punctuated with a five-yard touchdown pass to Witten.
4. Emmitt Smith Sets Cowboys' Single-Game Rushing Record
Dallas Cowboys 23, Philadelphia Eagles 10
Oct. 31, 1993 – Philadelphia
Smith had held out in a contract dispute and missed the first two games of the 1993 season, which the defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys lost. After his contract was settled and he returned to the team, Dallas reeled off four straight wins and entered the game tied with Philadelphia for second place in the NFC East. Smith's performance pushed the Cowboys ahead with a franchise-record 237 rushing yards in the rain, including a 62-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that sealed the win.
3. Michael Irvin's Career Ends as Eagles Fans Cheer
Philadelphia Eagles 13, Dallas Cowboys 10
Oct. 10, 1999 – Philadelphia
Philadelphia fans are famous for booing Santa Claus. They also cheered when Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending spinal injury. When Eagles defensive back Tim Hauck tackled Irvin in Week 5 of the 1999 season, the Hall of Fame receiver went head-first to the turf, suffering a non-life-threatening cervical spinal cord injury that forced him to retire. Eagles fans cheered as Irvin laid on the ground and even when the stretcher was brought onto the field. When teammate Deion Sanders consoled him, the crowd chanted, "Deion sucks."
2. The NFC Championship
Philadelphia Eagles 20, Dallas Cowboys 7
Jan. 11, 1981 – Philadelphia
Both the Eagles and the Cowboys finished 12-4 and split their regular-season games, but Philadelphia won the division and claimed No. 1 seed because it had scored more total points during the season. When both teams made the conference championship, the Eagles chose to forgo their green home jerseys and wear white. This forced Dallas to wear blue jerseys, which were considered cursed because the team often lost wearing them, most notably in the error-filled Super Bowl V. In a game known as the "Blue Jersey Game," Philadelphia running back Wilbert Montgomery finished with 208 all-purpose yards — more than the Cowboys' entire offense — as the Eagles made their first Super Bowl.
1. Bounty Bowl I
Philadelphia Eagles 27, Dallas Cowboys 0
Nov. 23, 1989 – Irving, Texas
After a blowout loss to the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day, first-year Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson accused Philadelphia head coach Buddy Ryan of taking bounties out on kicker Luis Zendejas and quarterback Troy Aikman. In the post-game press conference, Johnson said, "I have absolutely no respect for the way they played the game, I would have said something to Buddy, but he wouldn't stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room." Ryan denied the accusations and joked, "I resent that. I've been on a diet, I lost a couple of pounds, and I thought I was looking good." In the second game at Veterans Stadium, Eagles fans threw snow, ice, and beer onto the field and Johnson was hit and had to be escorted off the field by police. The next season in Dallas, Ryan choked on a pork chop and offensive coordinator Ted Plump saved him by performing the Heimlich maneuver the night before the game. The next day, Cowboys fans threw pork chops onto the field. This was the rivalry at its nastiest.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo by Jeremiah Jhass, courtesy of dallascowboys.com)