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The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have been bitter rivals ever since the NFC East was formed in 1970. You know you’re in for a treat every time these two hated foes face off against one another, and that should be the case again this Christmas Eve when Philadelphia and Dallas meet at AT&T Stadium with the division title still on the line.

So, with the Eagles and Cowboys gearing up to play for the second time this season, let’s look back at the four nastiest moments in the history of the storied rivalry.

4. No helmet, no problem for Jason Witten

Jason Witten runs with his helmet off against the Eagles.
Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys gets his helmet knocked off by Quintin Mikell and William James of the Philadelphia Eagles | Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

In 2007, Jason Witten etched his name in Eagles-Cowboys lore by scampering for a 53-yard gain after getting his helmet ripped off by Quintin Mikell and William James. Dallas went on to win the game in dominant fashion, 28-17. The unique play epitomized Witten’s toughness on the field and how much the rivalry means to every player involved.

A large mural of Witten running helmet-less still hangs in the Cowboys’ practice facility today.

3. Bounty Bowl II: Snowballs rain down on Cowboys

Bounty Bowl II obviously came after the original Bounty Bowl, but more on that in a second.

On Dec. 10, 1998, Cowboys players and coaches were pelted with snowballs and beer bottles by Eagles fans in a snowy Veterans Stadium. Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson needed to be shielded by police on his way off the field. The Cowboys weren’t the only targets of the aerial attack, though. Even the referees and broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw felt the wintry wrath of the angry Philly fans.

The Eagles rode their rabid fan base to a 20-10 victory.

2. Eagles fans cheer Michael Irvin’s career-ending injury

The most well-known story about Eagles fans involves them throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, but they were even more ruthless when Michael Irvin suffered his career-ending spine injury in 1999. The Veterans Stadium crowd cheered while Irvin was temporarily paralyzed on the field, and it ended up being his final play in the NFL.

In a recent interview with Warren Sapp for VladTV, Irvin said Philadelphia’s owner, Jeffrey Lurie, visited him after the injury to apologize for the fans’ behavior. His response was epic.

“Thanks for coming by, but you don’t need to apologize,” Irvin said. “Them people weren’t cheering because I was hurt. They were cheering because I’d been DESTROYING THEIR ASS FOR YEARS.”

1. Buddy Ryan’s Bounty Bowl


5 Dynamic Dallas Cowboys Who Flopped as Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry hit its peak in the late-1980s when Buddy Ryan took over as the head coach in Philly. On Thanksgiving Day in 1989, the Eagles steamrolled the Cowboys by a score of 27-0. A number of Dallas players suffered injuries throughout the game, most notably former Eagles kicker Luis Zendejas. After the game, Jimmy Johnson accused Ryan of placing a cash bounty on Zendejas and quarterback Troy Aikman.

“I have absolutely no respect for the way they played the game,” Johnson told the CBS broadcast. “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.”

Ever since that day, the Eagles and Cowboys have hated each other’s guts, and that’s exactly the way it should be.