With the Phillies in the NLDS, some of the usual steam from the Eagles-Cowboys Sunday night matchup has been drained from the city of Philadelphia. It is the biggest game in the NFL so far this season though.
The Eagles enter the game as the final undefeated team in the NFL at 5-0 and Dallas is 4-1 with backup quarterback Cooper Rush winning four straight with Dak Prescott out. Nick Sirianni downplayed the importance of the game, mentioning that many Eagles players are new and aren’t invested in the rivalry. New as in they have only been here for five weeks plus training camp. I would agree with him if he actually believed it. Just last year Siranni wore a “Beat Dallas” t-shirt before his third game as Eagles head coach. Now we know that he is excellent at pandering (and seems like a very good coach), but he wore the shirt because he was quickly educated that Dallas games mean more. Coaches, players, media, or fans can attempt to deny it, but beating Dallas matters a lot and has for a very long time.
I know Jalen Hurts is as even keeled as they come, and he wants the Eagles to be locked in the same way every week. That is great for the locker room. Hurts is a leader you want. He is also a smart man, so he must be aware that it is 100 percent false for most fans. Be honest, let’s say that the Eagles were going to hypothetically go 1-1 against the Cardinals and Cowboys. Who would you prefer that they lose to? It’s just one conference game either way, but you know what game matters more.
And don’t give me the “division game” thing. If they were going to go 1-1 against Washington and Dallas, who would you prefer the win to be over? Beating Dallas just means more.
I have for years been able to dismiss Dallas in a way because it has been forever since they been truly relevant on the field. The Giants have won two Super Bowls in recent memory while the Dallas Super Bowl VHS tapes don’t even work anymore (Dallas fans all still have VCRs because they are stuck in that era). That is my head talking though. My heart hates the Cowboys with such fury that I only forgave Troy Aikman yesterday and he is the least offensive Cowboy ever.
Every time a player dresses for the Eagles they inherit generations of sports hatred. My grandfather couldn’t stand Bob Hayes and that was passed down to my dad. My dad started off not liking Tony Dorsett and then we both couldn’t stand Emmitt Smith or Michael Irvin together. How many humans outside of Dallas like Ezekiel Elliott? Maybe one person in Ohio, maybe.
Every Eagles player is part of the experience that started with Jimmy Johnson going 1-15 and within three years he won the Super Bowl that had eluded us for so long. From throwing snowballs and laughing to being excited that we could just get a split. The part where Terrell Owens does sit-ups, ends up in Dallas and then cries to Tony Romo. Jerry Jones exists. The Jerry Jones who does press conferences and interviews like he is a football guy. That Jerry Jones is still in charge. We can’t be okay with them while he is still running that team. Every Eagles player, new and old, are part of the story once they take the field on Sunday night.
Now there are Cowboys all over the national media. You can’t escape them. Everywhere you look there is a former Cowboys player. If the Eagles lose on Sunday, we won’t be able to get away from the narrative that they are finally back. People on radio, people on tv, people on TikTok, people on podcasts will all be spewing the same nonsense.
The Eagles are six-point favorites on Sunday. It is mandatory that they win this game, not just because they are favored, not just because it is a division game, not just because they would be tied. It is mandatory because beating Dallas means so much more, even if the coach and quarterback try to convince us that it doesn’t.
Tyrone Johnson is the host of “The Best Show Ever?” on 97.5 The Fanatic, airing Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
You can follow him on Twitter: @TyJohnsonNews