10 wild and obscure facts from Eagles-Steelers history originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
When two teams have been playing each other for nearly 90 years and were once actually the same team, that's a lot of shared history.
We thought we'd take a look at 10 historical nuggets from the Eagles-Steelers rivalry, which goes back to Nov. 19, 1933, when the Eagles beat the then Pittsburgh Pirates 25-6 at the Baker Bowl at 15th and West Huntington Street, near what is now the North Philadelphia SEPTA station.
CHARLESTON??? BUFFALO??? When the Eagles and Steelers (then known as the Pirates) met in 1938, both teams agreed to meet at neutral sites because - get this - it would be more fair than playing home-and-home. The Eagles won 27-7 at Buffalo Civic Stadium on Sept. 16 (after rain delayed the game for two days) and 14-7 at Laidley Field in Charleston, W. Va., on Nov. 20. They were the only NFL games ever played at either stadium. The game in Charleston was a huge event. Here’s what the Hinton, W. Va., Daily News wrote in advance of the game: “Newsreel men have requested reservations. Motion pictures will be made of the Charleston game for distribution to business clubs, schools, colleges and theatres throughout the United States. There will be plenty of bands on hand to keep the air full of swing. Tickets, all reserved at $1.50 each, are on sale at Older’s Drug Store in the Arcade or may be secured through the office of Henderson L. Peebles in the Knanwha Valley Building, telephone number 35-181.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Two long-time Steelers had sons who spent time the Eagles. Greg Lloyd, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Steelers in the 1990s, is the father of linebacker Greg Lloyd, the Eagles’ 7th-round pick in 2011. And Randy Gorssman, a tight end with the Steelers on all four of their Super Bowl championship teams in the 1970, is the father of defensive tackle Burt Grossman, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll who finished his career with the Eagles in 1994.
WHO ARE THEY ROOTING FOR? For two franchises that have been around since the 1930s and 1940s, only two players have played at least 50 games for both teams. Flanker Gary Ballman spent the 1962 through 1966 seasons with the Steelers, playing in 57 games, and was with the Eagles from 1967 through 1972, playing in 66 games. He caught over 150 passes for both teams. And linebacker Carlos Emmons played 51 games for the Steelers from 1996 through 1999 and 60 games with the Eagles from 2000 through 2003.
LOTS OF LOSING: The Eagles and Steelers both joined the NFL in 1933, but in their first 45 years of existence there were only three seasons where they both had winning records [1947, 1949, 1959].
THEY WEREN'T REALLY THE STEAGLES: The combined Eagles-Steelers team in 1943 was affectionately referred to by fans and newspaper writers as The Steagles, but that never was officially the team’s name. Officially? They were the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Combined Team.
A RANDALL MEMORY: The Eagles don’t have a rushing touchdown longer than 15 yards in their last 25 games against the Steelers. Their last rushing TD longer than 15 yards vs. Pittsburgh was a 42-yarder by Timmy Brown in a 35-24 Eagles win at Forbes Field in 1961. Their only double-digit rushing TD against Pittsburgh in the last 15 meetings going back to 1964 was Randall Cunningham’s 12-yarder at Three Rivers in 1988. That was their last rushing TD of any distance in Pittsburgh.
HE WAS TERRIBLE: Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith was the Eagles’ special teams and defensive backs coach for four years under Ray Rhodes, from 1995 through 1998.
INCREDIBLE ENDING: In a 2001 Eagles-Steelers game at Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers led 23-13 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Eagles then proceeded to score three times without the Steelers ever getting the ball back. Here’s how: First, Donovan McNabb drove the Eagles 57 yards in four plays for a touchdown, a 13-yard TD pass and PAT making it 23-20 with 2:36 left. The Eagles successfully ran an onside kick, with David Akers kicking and current Eagles safeties coach Tim Hauck recovering on the Eagles’ 32-yard-line. The Eagles got to the Steelers’ 25-yard-line with 23 seconds left and no timeouts, ran the field goal unit onto the field and tied the game on Akers’ 42-yard field goal as time expired. The Eagles then won the overtime coin toss, and quickly got into position for another 42-yard Akers field goal just four minutes into OT. Back then, a field goal in OT ended the game, and the Eagles won 26-23. So the Steelers’ offense left the field with a 23-13 lead, never got back on the field, and the Steelers lost the game.
THE AMAZING DARREN SPROLES: The most receiving yards by any NFL running back against the Steelers in the last 60 years is 128 by Darren Sproles last time the Eagles faced the Steelers, at the Linc in 2016.
NOT MUCH SCORING: The Eagles have held the Steelers to 27 or fewer points in 29 consecutive games dating back to a 31-0 loss at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh in 1959. That’s the second-longest streak of games without scoring more than 27 points against a single opponent by the Steelers. They went 39 games against the Boston and Washington Football Teams from 1933 through 1953.