The despicable rivalry between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants is the oldest in the NFC East. It is the ultimate sports conflict between two cities just 99 miles apart. Its mattered more than the Sixers and the Knicks, it's got more history than the Phillies and the Met, and it's more relevant than the Flyers and the Rangers.
The teams have met 160 times. New York has won 84, Philly has taken 76, and two ended with the kissing of cousins. They've met in the postseason four times, and split those down the middle.
While those numbers favor New York, assessing the winner of the rivalry isn't quite that clean-cut. The Giants certainly have a prouder history (winning Super Bowls will do that), but when those old grainy highlight films come out of head-to-head history-makers, it's the Eagles that appear to hold more bragging rights.
In short, the rivalry makes no sense. A dramatic win for one franchise tends to signal a coming of awesomeness for the other.
Go back a generation to 1978: the first Miracle at the Meadowland. With New York in a presumed victory formation, Giants QB Joe Pisarcik fumbled a handoff, Eagles DB Herm Edwards recovered and ran 26-yards for the game winning score.
The play was a launching point for Philly coach Dick Vermeil and his improving Iggles. The team earned a playoff berth that season for the first time in eighteen years, and two seasons later made their first Super Bowl.
And while the play may burn New Yorkers worse than a papercut, the reality is the disaster that was the first Miracle led to the hiring of General Manager George Young (who drafted Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor) and eventually Head Coach Bill Parcells.
So while Philly fans have the Miracle, it's the Giants who came out of the generation with a pair of Super Bowl rings.
Fast forward to Week 15 of the 2010 season. Mike Vick, DeSean Jackson, and Matt Dodge all contribute to the New Miracle at the New Meadowlands, where the Eagles scored four touchdowns in under eight minutes to beat the Giants on a walk-off punt return.
The win sent the Eagles to an NFC East Championship and gave the Giants an early vacation. In Philly that summer, fans dreamt of how Andy Reid would ride The New Mike Vick Experience to a dynasty of greatness, while up in New York Tom Coughlin's chair got a little hotter.
A year later the Eagles had the Dream Team Disaster while the Giants won another Super Bowl. Reid's gone now, and Vick isn't far behind him. Coughlin, meanwhile, remains, with a pair of rings to compliment his iron fist.
Once again, an historic win for the Eagles resulted in a historic season for the Giants.
So this Sunday they meet, with a combined 1-7 record and not a whiff of postseason optimism to be had. At a glance, it's a match-up worthy of a blackout.
Giants fans should probably hope for another Philly Miracle. If history repeats itself again, it'll end in a parade down Broadway.