The Philadelphia Eagles have had a rich backstory of playoff moments throughout the franchise’s over their 89 seasons of existence. Championships have been won, playoff miracles have happened, and the fanbase has never wavered in support of the men in green.
While the top playoff moment is pretty obvious for Eagle fans everywhere, let’s take a look back on memory lane to see just what playoff moments made the list.
To qualify on this list, player performances and storylines matter most.
Now let’s get to it!
10. 1995 Wild Card Game – Lomas Brown Guarantees a Win…then gets embarrassed
Man, this was a special playoff game at the Vet. The 1995 Eagles made the playoffs in the first year of the Ray Rhodes era thanks to the heroics of Rodney Peete in the West Coast offense. Going into the game, the Eagles were underdogs to the visiting Lions.
Before the game, Lions All-Pro Tackle Lomas Brown guaranteed a win for Detroit.
The game was over by the second quarter. The Eagles led Detroit 38-7 at the half and 51-7 at one point in the game. The final score was 58-37 but it never was really that close.
An all-time playoff moment in Eagles history, even if it meant nothing in the end with the team losing to the Cowboys the next week.
9. 1979 Wild Card – Eagles first playoff win in 19 years
It had been a long and frustrating 19 years for the Philadelphia Eagles following their championship win in 1960. The team recorded an above .500 record twice and had made only one playoff appearance.
The 1979 season was a magical run for a young team just coming together. In the fourth year of the Dick Vermeil era, the Eagles made the playoffs the previous season and were looking to get more playoff experience.
They did just that in 1979. Hall of Famer, Harold Carmichael caught two touchdown passes and the Eagles blitzed the Bears in the fourth quarter for a 27-17 win.
It was a special moment for Eagle fans, and the team as they showed they were ready to be more than just average.
8. 2000 Wild Card – McNabb and Reid’s first playoff win
In Donovan McNabb‘s first season as the Eagles starting quarterback, he put together one of the more complete seasons in franchise history. Accounting for over 75% of the team’s offense, McNabb finished second in the MVP voting and got the Eagles to the playoffs with Andy Reid.
In a 21-3 suffocating victory over Tampa Bay, the Eagles announced themselves on the national stage, and McNabb made his mark as one of the top five players in the league at the time.
Merrill Reese was quoted saying that was the loudest he had ever heard the Vet. You better believe this game makes the list.
7. 1949 NFL Championship – Eagles clinch second title
Fair warning, this is one of just two road games that make the list here. In the 1949 title game, the defending champion Eagles had to play in hurricane-like conditions to face the Los Angeles Rams.
Steve Van Buren ran for a then-championship game record 196 yards and helped the team clinch their second straight world championship.
By beating the Rams 14-0, the Eagles are the only team in NFL history to win back-to-back championships by posting shutouts. A special moment that highlighted the careers of some of the game’s best.
6. 1948 NFL Championship – Van Buren’s run in the snow
Speaking of Steve Van Buren, he makes the list twice here and there’s a fun fact about this game too.
Philadelphia had been hit with a massive blizzard. The hall of famer was at home thinking the league would cancel the game. He was quoted saying he had to take three trollies and walk multiple blocks (in a blizzard) on his way to the stadium.
Current Eagle fans think of the “snow bowl” in 2013 as difficult conditions but they don’t get worse than the ’48 championship. Van Buren scored the only touchdown of the game, the Eagles won 7-0, and secured the first championship in Eagles history.
*Fun fact: this was not the first pro football championship in Philadelphia sports history due to the Frankfort YellowJackets winning the title in 1926*
5. 2003 NFC Divisional Win – 4th and 26
One of the greatest playoff games in NFL history, and one’s of Donovan McNabb’s signature moments in Philadelphia.
Without running-back Brian Westbrook, McNabb orchestrated a 14 point comeback in the second half to will the Eagles to a 20-17 overtime win.
There were key moments throughout the contest. McNabb set a then-league record for playoff rushing yards by a quarterback with 107. The defense had a key goal-line stand before the half ended and Brian Dawkins set up the win with a huge interception return off of Brett Favre.
But the game’s signature moment was in the winding seconds of the contest. With the Eagles facing a 4th and 26, McNabb found Freddie Mitchell for 27 and kept the Eagles season alive.
This game was McNabb at his best with minimum talent around him. It’s also one of the greatest playoff games in NFL history.
4. 2004 NFC Championship Game – Reid and McNabb get over the hump
Losing Terrell Owens did not deter the Eagles from getting to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. After three years of NFC Title game losses, the Eagles finally got over the hump with a 27-10 win over the Falcons.
McNabb threw two touchdowns, Brian Westbrook totaled over 100 yards of offense, and the Eagles defense shut down Michael Vick in impressive fashion.
While the 2004 season is synonymous with what happened in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Eagles getting over the hump in ’04 will always be a special moment in team history.
3. 1960 NFL Championship – Lombardi’s First and ONLY Playoff Loss
That’s right. Norm Van Brocklin and the rag-tag Eagles upset the vaunted but young Green Bay Packers with a 17-13 comeback victory. It was the last pro football championship the city of Philadelphia had seen since 2017.
Like any playoff win, there are many highlights in this story. Van Brocklin, as league MVP and in his final game as a pro, led the Eagles to his final comeback performance of the season. There was Ted Dean scoring the game winning score.
Tommy McDonald catching the touchdown to get the comeback started. But while McDonald, Dean and Van Brocklin are all hero’s of that game, the true champion of Philadelphia made sure his mark was left on the game.
Chuck Bednarik, the 35 year old center, had been playing both offense and defense throughout the year as the team’s starting middle linebacker. His bone-crushing hits had already made him a legend earlier in the year (just look up the hit he had on Gifford), but his performance in the title game was the stuff of legend.
With the Packers driving for the game-winning score with seconds left, Bednarik made the final tackle on Taylor to seal the Eagles win. The greatest Eagle making the last tackle of the season to seal a championship?
It doesn’t get much better than that.
2. 1980 NFC Title Win – We Want Dallas
Before the 1980 NFC Championship Game, the Eagles faithful delivered a challenge that set the stage for the Eagles/Cowboys rivalry forever.
“We want Dallas.”
It’s uncommon to have a non-championship victory so high on the list, but the Eagles/Cowboys rivalry isn’t really that common amongst sports either.
In 1980 the Eagles hosted the Cowboys for the right to go to Super Bowl XV. With Roger Staubach not in command of Dallas, the Eagles busted the game open early with a 42 yard run that had Eagle fans everywhere thinking of a Super Bowl berth.
They wouldn’t be disappointed either.
The Birds scored 13 unanswered in the second half while keeping the Cowboys scoreless en-route to a 20-7 victory. The win sent Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl appearance and an all-time great moment over their arch-rivals.
2004 may be more modern and had fans more excited, but beating the Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl is just so much sweeter.
1. 2017 Super Bowl LII – Duh.
It’s obvious that this was going to be #1 but let’s just look back at the game for the fun of it.
The underdog Eagles with a backup quarterback faced off against one of the greatest dynasties of the modern era. Somehow, someway, the Eagles dominated the game thanks to Nick Foles and some unbelievable performances from Eagle receivers.
There’s the Philly Special, Alshon Jeffery making one of the most underrated Super Bowl catches of all-time, Corey Clement coming out of nowhere to be a hero of the game, and of course, Brandon Graham’s forced fumble on the greatest quarterback of all-time.
I argue with this with a lot of people but Graham’s fumble will always be the bigger, and more special play as opposed to the Philly Special. Graham’s sack signaled the Eagles first Super Bowl championship.
For the rest of our lives Eagle fans will tell the Super Bowl LII story as a “where were you when..” tale that stands the test of time.
A truly special moment in Philadelphia sports history.