Eagles' Top 15 Monday night games

Mike McCormack, with Harold Carmichael and Roman Gabriel, said his 1975 team had 'some dogs.'
Mike McCormack, with Harold Carmichael and Roman Gabriel, said his 1975 team had 'some dogs.' (FILE PHOTO)
Posted: November 03, 2011

No matter the year, something always seems to happen when the Eagles are involved in "Monday Night Football."

From Howard Cosell in 1970 to Michael Vick in 2010, and so many incidents in between, the Eagles will make their 50th appearance on Monday night next week, when they host the Chicago Bears.

From dog bones to the formation of Eagles Court; from the "House of Pain Game" to the "Body Bag Game"; from Donovan McNabb's scramble to the disappointment of Reggie White Night, the Daily News has gone through the archives to look back at our Top 15 Monday night games and some excerpts of how we described them back then.

1. Nov. 23, 1970: EAGLES 23, GIANTS 20

"Monday Night Football" made its Philadelphia debut on a brutally cold night at Franklin Field - 14 degrees, with 30 mph winds.

The Giants had won six in a row, the Eagles were 1-7-1. So what happened? The Eagles, behind several surprise performances, pulled the upset.

"I've never kicked in anything that cold," Eagles kicker Mark Moseley complained.

Also numb that night was an allegedly drunk Howard Cosell. According to historians, he was drinking during the telecast in an effort to stay warm. At one point, Cosell tried to say "Philadelphia,'' but it came out like "Full-a-dull-fa.''

Cosell disappeared from the telecast after he reportedly threw up all over Don Meredth's cowboy boots and was given the rest of the night off.

2. Sept. 23, 1974: EAGLES 13, COWBOYS 10

The Cowboys led, 7-0, in the third quarter and were threatening to put the game away.

On third down, Roger Staubach handed off to rookie Doug Dennison, who swept right end and was one step from the goal line when Bill Bergey forced a fumble.

Joe "Big Bird" Lavender scooped it off the Vet carpet. He raced down the sideline, 96 yards the other way, for the touchdown that swung the game in the Eagles' favor.

The Birds, despite making only five first downs to the Cowboys' 20, finally won it on Tom Dempsey's 45-yard field goal with 25 seconds left.

Bergey finished the night with 18 tackles in his first game at the Vet after being acquired from Cincinnati.

3. Nov. 3, 1975: LA RAMS 42, EAGLES 3

The Eagles had lost five of their first six games and were hosting the Rams at the Vet.

Coach Mike McCormack had admitted that his roster included "some dogs,'' and the fans had a field day. A few fans paraded around with a huge Alpo dog bone, others posted banners and bed sheets critical of the team, some others were wearing dog masks.

On the field, the Rams scored off a Roman Gabriel fumble and another off an interception return in what looked like the "Football Follies."

"Yeah, I saw the bone,'' linebacker Bill Bergey recalled years later, "and there were other fans wearing dog masks.

"My first reaction was, 'Why?' Why would anyone go to that much trouble to humiliate us? I mean, it took time to make that [bone]. And how did they get it into the stadium?

"But the way we played that night, we probably deserved it.''

4. Nov. 12, 1979: EAGLES 31, COWBOYS 21

How important was this game to the Eagles?

"I've been here since '69,'' said guard Wade Key, who held Randy White sackless and to one tackle, "and this is the greatest win of all."

The Eagles had been 2-19 in the previous 21 meetings against the Cowboys and had not won at Dallas since 1965.

The Birds got 137 rushing yards from Wilbert Montgomgery, a pair of TD receptions by Harold Carmichael and a franchise-record, 59-yard field goal from Tony Franklin. Backup quarterback John Walton subbed for a few series when Ron Jaworski was knocked out and threw a touchdown pass.

The Birds held a 24-7 lead after three quarters, but the Cowboys got a pair of touchdowns early in the fourth quarter to tighten the game, 24-21.

Montgomery's late, 37-yard run capped the scoring and sealed the victory.

5. Oct. 10, 1988: EAGLES 24, GIANTS 13

Randall Cunningham bounced off Giants linebacker Carl Banks after Banks had what looked like a sure sack. Cunningham righted himself with one hand and then completed a touchdown pass to Jimmie Giles.

Cunningham threw for 369 yards that night at the Vet.

The Eagles had not been on "MNF" in 7 years. Overall, the Birds made seven appearances during the 1980s, with three of them coming in 1981, the season following their appearance in the Super Bowl.

6. Nov. 12, 1990: EAGLES 28, REDSKINS 14

This was the famed "Body Bag Game" at the Vet. Eight Redskins players had to leave the game, including both quarterbacks, Jeff Rutledge and Stan Humphries.

Rookie kick returner/running back Brian Mitchell finished the game at QB and scored a meaningless TD at the end.

The game got its name because coach Buddy Ryan had said the Eagles would beat the 'Skins so badly that "they'll have to be carted off in body bags.'' Or, it was because one of the Eagles' defensive players yelled after another Redskin was injured, "Do you guys need any more body bags?"

Either way, the Eagles' defense was dominant, including two touchdowns.

The Redskins got revenge in the playoffs, pulling an upset at the Vet and costing Ryan his job.

7. Dec. 2, 1991: EAGLES 13, OILERS 6

"They brought the house, we brought the pain," defensive tackle Jerome Brown said.

The Eagles' dominanting defense completely shut down the run-and-shoot attack of the Oilers in the Astrodome. Houston ran the ball just 11 times, gaining a total of 21 yards.

The Eagles' defense had four sacks, forced six fumbles (five lost) and held Houston to two long Al Del Greco field goals.

Offensively, the Eagles posted a total of 94 yards rushing and 168 yards passing - 84 apiece by Jim McMahon and Jeff Kemp.

The Birds got all 13 points in the second half on a 21-yard TD pass from Kemp to Keith Jackson and two Roger Ruzek field goals.

8. Sept. 15, 1997: DALLAS 21, EAGLES 20

Tommy Hutton bobbled the snap on a 22-yard field goal attempt with 4 seconds to play, then ran left and fumbled before Deion Sanders brought him down to end the game at Texas Stadium.

"I'm the reason," said Hutton, the punter who served as the holder. "I just want to say it's my fault. I take all the blame for this."

The Cowboys did not lead the game until 51 seconds remained on a touchdown reception by Anthony Miller.

The Eagles got the ball in position for the Chris Boniol field-goal attempt on a long reception by Freddie Solomon against a prevent defense.

9. Nov. 10, 1997: NINERS 24, EAGLES 12

The big story involved the crowd in a full Veterans Stadium.

Among the incidents: a shower of trash was thrown into one end zone after Freddie Solomon's controversial muffed punt led to a touchdown. There were several fights. And there were two guys on the field in the final minutes, running free and unchallenged by security personnel, running free for a loooong time.

And then, also in the final minutes, there was another guy who fired what appeared to be a burning red flare that soared over the playing field and into the stands, where it luckily hit an empty seat and burned itself out. A cop put handcuffs on the flare guy and hauled him out.

That led to the formation of what became known as Eagles Court in the Vet basement. Two municipal court judges volunteered to handle incidents before, during and after the next home game, against Pittsburgh.

10. Nov. 25, 2002: EAGLES 38, NINERS 17

A week before, Donovan McNabb had destroyed the Arizona Cardinals on what turned out to be a broken fibula.

It took two quarterbacks for the Eagles to upset the host Niners.

On his eighth completion of the third quarter - in nine attempts - Koy Detmer was thrown to the turf. He stuck out his left arm to break his fall, only to see it flex gruesomely, bowing at the elbow joint like a rubber band. As Detmer lay on his back and kicked his feet at the sky, medical personnel sprinted onto the field and teammates knelt in prayer. The cart would soon follow to carry him off the field. His elbow was jammed back into its socket in the locker room.

"It hurt going out, and it hurt the same going back in," Detmer said. "The pain was unbelievable."

Detmer rode into the 3Com Park tunnel having completed 18 of 26 passes for 227 yards, in his first meaningful action since 1999.

A.J. Feeley finished the game, going 3-for-3 for 17 yards with a touchdown. The Eagles would win four of his five starts to finish the regular season before McNabb returned for the playoffs.

11. Nov. 15, 2004: EAGLES 49, COWBOYS 21

So much happened in one night, even before the game.

ABC began its broadcast with the "Desperate Housewives" scene involving Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan. The network later apologized.

On the field, Donovan McNabb's 14.1-second scramble before finding Freddie Mitchell for a 60-yard strike is the most memorable moment.

"I got away from the one guy and cut back,'' McNabb said. "By that time it was like a video game. The offensive line did an excellent job of blocking . . . You're looking obviously to get the ball out of your hands. I saw Freddie had a lot of green in front of him."

McNabb threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns, 134 of the yards and three of the touchdowns to T.O.

On defense, Lito Sheppard returned an interception 101 yards.

The Cowboys had never given up four touchdowns in a quarter - until the second quarter that night at Texas Stadium.

12. Nov. 14, 2005: COWBOYS 21, EAGLES 20

The Eagles turned a close win into a heartbreaking loss at the Linc.

Donovan McNabb's underthrown sideline pass for Reggie Brown flew straight into the arms of Dallas safety Roy Williams, and Williams streaked 46 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown that largely killed the Eagles' season.

Along the way, McNabb trundled over to try to stop him - he was the only Eagle with a shot - and was bulldozed by Cowboys linebacker Scott Shanle. McNabb was injured and his season ended with surgery for a sports hernia.

The Eagles went 2-5 the rest of the way and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

13. Dec. 5, 2005: SEAHAWKS 42, EAGLES 0

As Les Bowen put it in the next day's Daily News: "First, the Eagles officially retired Reggie White's number. Then they unofficially retired their season, and any remaining trace of the dominant team they were less than a year ago."

The 42-0 shutout was the franchise's worst home loss since the Nick Skorich-coached Eagles were blasted by visiting Green Bay, 49-0, on Nov. 11, 1962. It was the worst loss overall since a 62-10 setback at the Giants on Nov. 26, 1972.

Both of the Eagles' quarterbacks struggled and Seattle took advantage of turnovers. Mike McMahon went 4-for-10, for 61 yards, with two interceptions for touchdowns and a 21.2 passer rating. Koy Detmer was 13-for-29, for 84 yards, with two interceptions, one fumble and a 23.2 passer rating.

14. Sept. 15, 2008: COWBOYS 41, EAGLES 37

This one is probably most remembered for DeSean Jackson getting rid of the ball a stride or two before he reached the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown that wasn't. Brian Westbrook ran it in from the 1 on the next play.

The teams danced through the second-highest scoring half in "MNF" history and the highest-scoring game in the Eagles-Cowboys series. Big plays, big penalties, big mistakes and seven lead changes.

The game turned on a mistake. The visiting Eagles seemed to be driving for either a field goal that would give them a six-point lead or a touchdown that would really put them in charge, when Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook fumbled on an exchange. The Cowboys drove 67 yards in seven plays for the final go-ahead TD, Marion Barber blasting it in from the 1.

15. Nov. 15, 2010: EAGLES 59, REDSKINS 28

Michael Vick did something no one had ever done, throwing for four touchdowns, running for two more, racking up 333 passing yards and 80 rushing yards as the visiting Eagles romped to a 59-21 lead after three quarters.

"I've had some great games in my day. I don't think I've had one quite like this one,'' Vick said.

The Eagles piled up a franchise-record 592 net yards. They had scored more points only once before, when they got 64 in 1934 against the Cincinnati Reds.pa

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