Some games last the span of a week or shorter. Some games stay with us for years on end. These are the best of the latter.
The Philadelphia Eagles have won four world championships and three NFC titles. Obviously the bigger the prize the better the win. However, we’d also like to include some other memorable games from seasons past.
Ranking The Top 10 Greatest Philadelphia Eagles Games
Of course, this list isn’t the end-all-be-all. We encourage spirited discussion at our Iggles Twitter Page for those who disagree with my choices. These are the top 10 greatest Philadelphia Eagles games of all time.
10. The “Body Bag” Game
This game is like Woodstock: everyone who is around a certain age claims to have been there. A Monday night divisional game against Washington evoked images of Rambo as then-Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan declared the visitors (we’re not going to use the retired team nickname) will “have to be carted off with body bags”.
Philly didn’t want to make a liar out of the defensive mastermind. The Birds drew first blood on a William Frizzell pick-six. Washington tied it before halftime but the Eagles got three touchdowns in the third quarter.
While stretching their lead, Philadelphia started to force Washington players off with an injury. That famous Eagles defense knocked out both Jeff Rutledge and his backup Stan Humphries at QB. In all, 9 members of the “Football Team” went out with injury that night.
Washington had to insert rookie running back Brian Mitchell under center to finish the game. At one point, one of the Eagles yelled to the visitors’ sideline “Do you guys need any more body bags?”
Philly won 28-14 and finished second in the NFC East that year. However, Washington got the last laugh by winning the wild-card rubber match. Buddy Ryan was fired after the game and Washington won the next year’s Super Bowl.
9. Eagles Bury Dallas in 2008 Regular Season Finale
2008 was a weird year for the Eagles. They got a tie in Cincinnati because apparently, Donovan McNabb didn’t realize games could end in ties. Somehow, the Eagles had a faint chance of making the plays at 8-6-1 entering Week 17.
Before the late afternoon kickoff against Dallas, the Eagles needed multiple teams in front of them to drop their games to stay alive. They happened. The Linc roared as kickoff came in what amounted to a play-in game.
After trading field goals in the first quarter, the Eagles surged ahead with a Donovan McNabb rushing TD and a passing one just before the two-minute warning. Dallas committed two turnovers before halftime gave Philly 10 more points and a 27-3 lead at the break.
With little room for error, Dallas committed more. The Eagles put the game even further out of reach with two defensive scores in the third quarter, making the playoffs with a 44-6 win. The team would make a fifth NFC title game under Andy Reid with two road wins over division champs but fell short to Arizona.
8. Nick Foles Dazzles in Oakland
Chip Kelly’s debut season in 2013 was a roller coaster. Despite some impressive road wins, it took until mid-November to win at home. With Michael Vick injured, the innovative offense was in the hands of second-year QB Nick Foles.
Following two divisional losses at home, the Eagles faced two road games that would determine the success of the season. They started with a late kickoff in Oakland. Quite frankly, the Raiders defense may have taken a PTO day.
The offense dominated the day, as Foles finished 22 of 28 for 406 yards and an NFL-record 7 TDs. The throws, especially the three scores to Riley Cooper, looked almost effortless. Cooper and Jackson finished with over 100 yards each, on just five catches. (Video of all 7 touchdown throws)
The defense picked off Terrelle Pryor twice and won 49-20 on a day that wasn’t even that close. The Eagles finished the season 7-1 to win the NFC East. However, the team fell at home to New Orleans in the wild card and that was the lone playoff game Chip Kelly coached in the NFL.
7. Eagles Freeze-Out Falcons to Win 04 NFC Crown
Here’s a good trivia question for Eagles fans: who was the last team the Eagles defeated at Veterans Stadium?
That would be the Atlanta Falcons in the 2003 Divisional Round, 20-6, on a bitter cold Saturday night.
The two teams met again two years later, at a new stadium, for the right to play in Super Bowl XXXIX. In 2005, the Philadelphia area saw a heavy snowfall bury the Linc the night prior and the Delaware Valley awoke to powerful winds before kickoff.
Thousands shoveled snow off the field and seats in South Philly before the mid-afternoon game. The Eagles struck first with a Dorsey Levens touchdown and led 14-10 at the half. On the Falcons TD drive, Brian Dawkins stuck Alge Crumpler with a crushing hit at Eagles 10 that everyone remembers.
The third quarter saw the Eagles defense take over. Dawkins intercepted Michael Vick leading to the second David Akers field goal in the quarter and stretched the lead to 20-10. A second TD from McNabb to Chad Lewis sealed the victory at 27-10 and sparked major celebrations.
The Eagles fell to the Patriots in a close Super Bowl but the fans who watched the Eagles drop three straight NFC title games were more relieved than joyous to see the team lift the George Halas trophy.
6. Defense Dominates Dallas in 1980 NFC Title Game
Everyone knows, Philly hates Dallas, and the 70s were a great time for the Dallas Cowboys and not so great for their rivals in Philadelphia. As the decade changed, the sun began to set on “America’s Team” and met a new day for the NFC East.
The 1980 season saw the Eagles knock Dallas off the division’s throne and win a divisional game against Minnesota. Standing between the team’s first championship game in two decades were the Cowboys. However, there was no Roger Staubach under the center. Danny White took over but didn’t meet the same success.
The Eagles took an early lead with a touchdown run from Wilbert Montgomery. Dallas tied the game with a Tony Dorsett score but that was all the Cowboys would score. Philly forced four turnovers on the day. Montgomery paced the team with 194 yards as the Eagles won 20-7.
While the Eagles lost Super Bowl XV to the Raiders in New Orleans, the win over the Cowboys not only cemented the legacy of a team that reversed the franchise’s fortunes, it signified the start of a decade in the NFC East where Dallas was not always competitive. White brought the team to two more championship games, both losses, as the NFC East won four Super Bowls in the 80s.
5. Robinson’s Pick-Six Flips 2017 NFC Title Game
First of all, this game seems like it was decades ago because so much has changed in three years.
The Eagles and fans were seemingly relieved when the Vikings pulled off a miracle win in the divisional round to knock out the Saints. That meant the top-seed Eagles would face Case Keenum, having a career year but not nearly the caliber of Drew Brees.
The Vikings jumped out to an early lead but everything changed with one play. Patrick Robinson, who suffered many deaths in the press during the preseason, picked off a pass and weaved his way over 50 yards to tie the game. After that, the Eagles did as they pleased.
Nick Foles threw to open receivers and LeGarrette Blount just ran through the Vikings. The defense punished Keenum and the Vikes. The game was over at halftime as the Eagles led 24-7 but any chance of a comeback was killed by Foles’ flea-flicker TD throw to Torrey Smith on the first drive of the second half. I think I turned the game off when Corey Graham intercepted Keenum in the end zone.
People love playoff games when they’re tight affairs with cliffhanger endings. Nah, screw that. Give me a solid beatdown of a hyped visiting team any day of the week when my team’s on the transmitting end of that soul-crusher. Eagles win 38-7, thus making Lincoln Financial Field the first venue in which the team has won two NFL/NFC title games.
4. Eagles Repeat as Champs in California
It’s a shame that some NFL title games from former decades don’t have any surviving video. The company that became NFL Films didn’t really exist before the 1960s and most recordings from years prior got reused for other broadcasts.
The 1949 title game, aired on ABC, took place in Los Angeles as the Eagles faced the Rams in driving rain at the Memorial Coliseum. The wet conditions not only made play sloppy, it kept most of the fans at home, as the announced attendance was just under 28,000. Both suggested delaying the game a week for better weather but Commissioner Bert Bell refused.
Since Eagles head coach Earle “Greasy” Neale didn’t care for planes, the team went cross-country by train to reach the West Coast. They did stop to practice in Chicago before continuing their journey. Compare that to the normal hoopla around Super Bowl week.
With poor field conditions, the action came at a premium. The Eagles already defeated the Rams 38-14 earlier that season at Shibe Park. This time, Pete Pihos’ second-quarter TD pass from Tommy Thompson was the only offensive score that day. A blocked punt by Leo Skladany returned for a touchdown in the third quarter brought the game to 14-0.
The Eagles won back-to-back titles for the first and only time in franchise history. While the gate money was paltry for the winners, the TV deal kicked in extra money and each Eagle left with over $1,000 for the victory.
3. Eagles Win First Title in 1948
We’ve chronicled the story of Steve Van Buren’s commute to Shibe Park for the 1948 title game in our Top 10 Eagles page, and no list involving the greatest Philadelphia Eagles games would be complete without the game they won their first real title.
When the Eagles and Chicago Cardinals squared off in a rematch of the prior championship game in Philadelphia, both teams awoke to snowfall in the region. Four inches fell by kickoff and both teams had to help remove the tarp.
Over 28,000 fans braved the cold to see the rematch and if the Eagles could exact revenge. The game went fairly quickly as it was hard to throw in the conditions. A late Cardinals turnover gave Philly the ball and Steve Van Buren ran to the right, through the snowflakes, and landed in the end zone. With 1:05 left, the Eagles had the lead and the only points in the 7-0 win.
The 1960s belonged to Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers. However, they started the decade with a playoff loss in Philadelphia.
The Packers ran the ball well at Franklin Field but settled for two early field goals. The Eagles countered with a Tommy McDonald touchdown and field goal before leading 10-7. Max McGee put Green Bay ahead but the Eagles responded with a Ted Dean rushing TD to take a 17-13 lead.
The Packers drove for the go-ahead score but Chuck Bednarik made the final tackle and sat on Jim Taylor as the clock ran down. The game ended at the Eagles nine and the home team won. The game featured over a dozen Hall of Famers between both teams.
It would be the last title win for the Eagles for over half a century. After the season, head coach Buck Shaw left to coach the Vikings, and the veteran core retired or leftover the next few seasons.
1. Super Bowl LII
This was one of the most fun games to watch in NFL history. Just incredible offense, unbelievable playmaking, and tremendous swings in momentum.
How to summarize this game? It’s the most points Bill Belichek has ever given up since elevating to defensive coordinator with the Giants in 1985 – by 12 points. Tom Brady threw the ball all over the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for a Super Bowl record and it still wasn’t enough.
Zach Ertz scored the game-winning TD with three minutes to go on the same seam pattern that Jesse James had in the Pats-Steelers game but was ruled to have not “completed the catch”. The strip-sack Brandon Graham scored on Brady all but sealed the game.
Super Bowl wins are usually big and for the Eagles, it was the first world championship since 1960. The “Philly Special” call earned the team a statue that might as well succeed the removed Frank Rizzo one in Center City. The celebration and parade were unforgettable in what may have been the best weeks of our lives.
Top 10 Greatest Philadelphia Eagles Games – Ranking Recap
- Super Bowl LII
- Eagles 1960 Title Win over Packers
- Eagles Win First Title in 1948
- Eagles Repeat as Champs in California
- 2017 NFC Title Game
- Defense Dominates Dallas in 1980 NFC Title Game
- Eagles Freeze-Out Falcons to Win 04 NFC Crown
- Nick Foles Dazzles in Oakland
- Eagles Bury Dallas in 2008 Regular Season Finale
- The Bodybag Game