It was Oct. 15, 1933, and the first official game in Eagles history. Eagles-Giants at the Polo Grounds, across the Harlem River from Yankee Stadium.
It was a disaster from the jump. Just a few minutes into the game, Harry Newman threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Hap Moran against Lud Wray’s soft zone, and the Giants coasted to a 56-0 win. Some 89 years later, that remains the most lopsided loss in franchise history.
In all, the two long-time East Coast rivals have played 182 times. The Eagles were 46-61-2 vs. the Giants in the first 54 years of the rivalry. They’re 46-27 in the last 35 years. Overall, the Eagles lead the all-time series 92-88-2, including 24 wins in the last 30 meetings.
On Saturday night, for the fifth time, the Eagles and Giants will meet in the postseason. They've split the first four, the Giants winning in 1981 and 2000 and the Eagles in 2006 and 2008.
To help you get ready for the conference semifinal game at the Linc, here’s our look – in chronological order – at the 10 greatest Eagles-Giants games throughout history and what they meant.
Eagles 45, Giants 0
Oct. 10, 1948, Shibe Park
Start of Something Special: The 1948 Eagles were winless going into a Week 3 game against the Giants at Shibe Park, and they got off the schneid with what remains the second-most lopsided win in franchise history (behind a 64-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds in 1934). Tommy Thompson threw TD passes to Ernie Steele and Pete Pihos, Ben Kish had a 66-yard TD run and the Eagles' defense held the Giants to just 125 yards of offense and forced five turnovers. That win sparked a 9-1 finish to the regular season leading up to their 7-0 win over the Chicago Cardinals at Shibe Park in the NFL Championship Game. That was the first championship the franchise ever won.
Eagles 17, Giants 10
Nov. 20, 1960, Yankee Stadium
The Hit: The Eagles were 5-1 and the Giants 4-1-1 going into their mid-season meeting in the Bronx. With the game tied at 10 in the fourth quarter, two future Hall of Famers collided near the Giants’ 40-yard line. Chuck Bednarik hit Frank Gifford so hard, Gifford was knocked out and had to be removed from the field in an ambulance. It was a clean hit, but Gifford was hospitalized for 10 days with a severe concussion and retired from football. Eagles cornerback Jimmy Carr returned Gifford’s fumble for the game-winning touchdown, and the Eagles went on to beat the Packers 17-13 in the NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field, their last title until 2017.
Chuck Bednarik: “I saw he was juggling the handoff as I ran toward him, so I drove through him, causing the ball to pop.”
Eagles 19, Giants 17
Nov. 19, 1978, Giants Stadium
The Original Miracle at the Meadowlands: One of the most iconic moments in NFL history. November of 1978, Giants up 17-12 with 20 seconds left. All QB Joe Pisarcik had to do was take a knee and the game’s over. Instead, offensive coordinator Bob Gibson called a running play, the handoff between Pisarcik and Larry Csonka was fumbled and Herm Edwards scooped up the loose ball and returned it 26 yards for a 19-17 Eagles win. The Eagles finished the season 9-7 and without that win – without that fumble – they wouldn’t have made the playoffs.
Giants coach John McVay: “You run that play 500 times, you don’t fumble that son of a gun.”
Eagles 23, Giants 17 (OT)
Nov. 20, 1988, Giants Stadium
Is that Legal?: With the score tied at 17 three minutes into overtime, Eagles safety Terry Hoage picked off Giants QB Jeff Hostetler near midfield at Giants Stadium. The Eagles got down to the 13, where Buddy Ryan called for Luis Zendejas to attempt a game-winning 31-yard field goal attempt on third-and-5. Lawrence Taylor blocked the kick, but Eagles defensive end Clyde Simmons picked it up at the 15 and ran into the end zone with a game-winning touchdown. The refs took a minute to determine whether it was a legal return. If Simmons picked up the ball inside the line of scrimmage, Simmons wouldn’t have been allowed to advance it (although the Eagles could have attempted another field goal). But he was safely behind the line, giving him one of only three overtime blocked field goal return TDs in NFL history – and the only one returned by a member of the team attempting the kick. That win improved the Eagles to 7-5 on their way to the playoffs for the first time since 1980.
Mike Reichenbach: “Winning it like this is even better than if we had just kicked a regular field goal. This makes it even sweeter.”
Eagles 31, Giants 13
Nov. 25, 1990, Veterans Stadium
Keith Byars caught eight passes for 128 yards, including a 54-yarder, and had 139 scrimmage yards. But his best play of the day doesn’t show up in the box score. The Giants were 10-1 and the Eagles 7-4 when they met in South Philly 34 years ago. Early in the game, Pepper Johnson forced a Byars fumble that was recovered by Myron Guyton, which led to a 15-yard Phil Simms TD pass to Mark Ingram and a 7-0 Giants lead. Byars got his revenge over Johnson, his roommate for four years at Ohio State and one of his best friends. Early in the second quarter, the Eagles had a first-and-10 on the Giants’ 38, and Randall Cunningham took off on an 18-yard run in the right flat. Johnson was pursuing him, but Byars – unseen to Johnson – sent him flying with a ferocious block that everybody in the stadium could feel. The entire Eagles offense stood watching a replay on the Jumbotron for so long the Eagles had to call a timeout.
Keith Byars: “That’s something we’re going to talk about for many, many years, even after we’re retired.”
Eagles 14, Giants 10
Oct. 19, 2003, Giants Stadium
Westbrook to the House: The Eagles, 2-3 and trailing the Giants 10-7 with a minute and a half left, were just a few snaps away from a 2-4 start after reaching the NFC Championship Game the two previous years. With 1:34 left, the Giants faced a fourth-and-12 on their own 46 and Jim Fassel called on veteran and former Eagle Jeff Feagles to punt. Brian Westbrook let the ball bounce, which gave Ike Reese time to make a huge block on David Tyree, and then picked up the ball on the 16-yard line and took off down the left sideline for an 84-yard punt return TD. At the time, it was the only game-winning punt return in the last two minutes of a game.
Ike Reese: “We stole one today.”
Eagles 31, Giants 17
Sept. 12, 2004, Lincoln Financial Field
The Eagles believed going into the 2004 season they had a Super Bowl team, and on the first day of the season they showed why. After spelling the Giants a quick 7-0 lead on a Ron Dayne touchdown, they outscored the Giants 31-3 over the next 49 minutes, with Donovan McNabb throwing three touchdowns to Terrell Owens, Westbrook rushing for 119 yards, Todd Pinkston catching three passes for 76 yards and the defense sacking Kurt Warner four times. The Eagles piled up 454 yards, still their most vs. the Giants since 1961. The Eagles opened the season 7-0 and 13-1, locking up the No. 1 seed on the way to Jacksonville.
Terrell Owens: “This is what I lobbied to get here for. That’s the type of ability he has and the type of chemistry we’ve developed.”
Eagles 23, Giants 20
Jan. 7, 2007, Lincoln Financial Field
Garcia to the Rescue: With McNabb out for the season with a torn ACL and the Eagles 5-5 and seemingly going nowhere, 36-year-old Jeff Garcia took over and after a loss to the Colts in his first start in an Eagles uniform, won five straight starts to get the Eagles into the playoffs. They opened with the Giants at the Linc and David Akers won it with a 38-yard field goal as time expired. Garcia threw a TD pass to Donte’ Stallworth, Westbrook rushed for 141 yards, Reggie Brown had a big 7-for-73 day and Sheldon Brown picked off Eli Manning as the Eagles recorded their first postseason win over the Giants and only their second playoff win without Donovan McNabb since 1980.
David Akers: “Before I went out (to kick), I said, ‘You know what? We’re going to be celebrating in a minute.’”
Eagles 38, Giants 31
Dec. 19, 2010, MetLife Stadium
DeSean to the House: One of the greatest comebacks in NFL history capped by the only walk-off punt return ever. With 7 and a half minutes left, the Eagles trailed the Giants 31-10. Then Michael Vick went crazy. Over the next six minutes, he threw a 65-yard TD pass to Brent Celek, ran four yards for a TD and then threw a 13-yard TD to Jeremy Maclin to tie the game at 31. After a quick Giants three-and-out, Matt Dodge punted from the Giants’ 29-yard-line with 14 seconds left. DeSean Jackson bobbled the ball at the 35, picked it back up, retreated to the 30, then began darting through traffic, and aided by a monster Jason Avant block, made his way to the end zone. Or just short of it. Before scoring, he danced around the goal line while the clock ticked down to all zeroes.
Giants center Shaun O’Hara: “We don’t like him to begin with. I don’t know how you add to that.”
Eagles 27, Giants 24
Sept. 24, 2017, Lincoln Financial Field
Jake Elliott Bombs One: Rookie Jake Elliott had just replaced injured kicker Caler Sturgis a week earlier and had only attempted five field goals in his NFL career, making three with a long of 46 yards. So when he lined up for a potential game-winning 61-yarder it was easy to be skeptical. At that point, there had only been 11 field goals that long in NFL history – none by a rookie. But with the score tied at 24, 0:07 on the clock and the Eagles on their own 38-yard-line, Carson Wentz completed a 19-yard sideline dart to Alshon Jeffery at the Giants’ 43-yard-line, giving Elliott a chance. With Rick Lovato snapping and Donnie Jones holding, Elliott crushed the 61-yarder, the third-longest game-winner in NFL history for a 27-24 Eagles win on the way to the Super Bowl.
Jake Elliott: “It’s a little surreal. It’s the life of a kicker, though. You have your ultimate ups and ultimate downs.”
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