There is perhaps no rivalry in sports more equally balanced than that between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. The two teams have played in the same division every year since the Eagles joined the NFL in 1933, and their head-to-head record is still nearly even. The Eagles lead the series 90-88-2.
The rivalry has been skewed lately: The Giants were 4-16 against the Eagles in the 2010s. But for the first time in what feels like ages, both teams are legitimate playoff contenders. They will meet in Weeks 14 and 18 in matchups that will likely decide the winner of the NFC East.
In honor of their renewed rivalry, let’s take a look at the most memorable Giants-Eagles games. The Giants have played the Eagles more times than any team besides Washington, so there are plenty to choose from. Here are five of the most memorable.
5. 1981 Wild Card Round
Location: Veterans Stadium, PA
Score: Giants 27, Eagles 21
The New York Giants were finally winners again. 1981 marked the team’s first playoff appearance in 17 years and the true beginning of the Phil Simms era. The Eagles had been in the postseason four years in a row.
Simms was out with a shoulder injury, but the Giants still took a 20-0 lead in the first quarter after two touchdown passes from Scott Brunner and a fumble recovery by Mark Haynes. The defense held on during a late Eagles rally, and New York had its first postseason win since 1958.
4. 2000 Divisional Round
Location: Giants Stadium, NJ
Score: Giants 20, Eagles 10
For New York, this was the peak of the modern Giants-Eagles rivalry. The Giants entered the second round of the playoffs with a 12-4 record, an NFC East title, and eight straight wins over Philadelphia. The Eagles were 11-5 in Donovan McNabb’s first year as a starter. It was the first time the two teams had met in the playoffs since 1981.
The Giants went into halftime leading 17-3 after a touchdown on the opening kickoff and a pick-six. McNabb completed just 20 of his 41 passes for 181 yards.
3. Chuck Bednarik KOs Frank Gifford
Location: Yankee Stadium, NY
Score: Eagles 17, Giants 10
It’s arguably the most famous photo in football history: Chuck Bednarik looking down on Frank Gifford, one arm in the air, seconds after delivering a hit that changed both players’ career narratives.
The Eagles scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 17-10 lead and leave the Giants with just one chance to march down the field and tie the game. Frank Gifford caught a pass from George Shaw and ran towards the sidelines to try and stop the clock. Before he could, Chuck Bednarik delivered a jarring hit that caused Gifford to fumble and secured an Eagles win. Gifford was unconscious as soon as he hit the ground.
Philadelphia went on to win the NFL title. Gifford’s concussion sidelined him for the rest of the year and the entirety of the 1961 season.
2. DeSean Jackson’s punt return
Location: MetLife Stadium, NJ
Score: Eagles 38, Giants 31
This one still stings. The Giants and Eagles met in Week 15 of the 2010 season in a game with serious playoff implications. New York led by 21 points with eight minutes remaining. Out of nowhere, Michael Vick threw three touchdown passes and the Eagles defense held New York scoreless to tie the game. The Giants then went three-and-out and were forced to punt with 14 seconds left.
Matt Dodge punted the ball to DeSean Jackson instead of running out of bounds, Jackson muffed the punt, picked the ball up again, and ran 70 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Jackson ran parallel to the end zone for a few seconds before scoring and threw the ball into the stands.
The loss ended up keeping the Giants out of the playoffs despite a 10-6 record. The Eagles, also with a 10-6 record, won the NFC East off a head-to-head tiebreaker. They lost to the Packers in the Wild Card round.
1. The Miracle at the Meadowlands
Location: Giants Stadium, NJ
Score: Eagles 19, Giants 17
This list would be much more digestible if it wasn’t filled with excruciating Giants losses, but “The Miracle at the Meadowlands” — sometimes simply called “The Fumble” — is the most famous of them all.
The Giants had possession with a 17-12 lead and less than two minutes remaining. The Eagles were out of timeouts. Fans began heading to the exits, and the TV commentators began reading the credits.
On third-and-1 with 30 seconds remaining, the Giants had to run one final play. The quarterback kneel was not yet legal, but teams sometimes killed plays by having the quarterback roll on the ground. Instead, OC Bob Gibson called for a running play.
Quarterback Joe Pisarcik lost control of the ball before he could hand it off. Herman Edwards quickly recovered the fumble and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. Eagles win.
The loss was the defining moment of the Giants’ 1970s mediocrity. Gibson was fired the next day, and the majority of the staff and front office were also fired at the end of the season. George Young took over as GM, drafted Phil Simms, and the turnaround began.