Every Wednesday during the season, I like to reach into the past for the week’s opponent and talk favorite opposing player, favorite memory, or who you’d poach from that opponent’s roster if you had the chance. This year, we’re going to talk about defining moments.
For the Falcons and Eagles, who have met 36 times in total, that moment may well depend on when you became a fan. From the 1960s through 1980, Atlanta pretty consistently fared well in those matchups, but things shifted from there and Philly has become one of the most frustrating non-divisional opponents for the Falcons to play. Too often in recent years, Atlanta’s high-powered offense has been stumped by a talented Eagles defense, turning games into slugfests Philadelphia wins.
Unfortunately, the Eagles lead the all-time series, are 11-5 against Atlanta over the past 20 years, and are 2-0 all-time against them in the playoffs. That means that while there are certainly happy moments and great games—that 30-17 win back in 2012 where Matt Ryan had one of the crispest games of his career stands out—it’d be tough to define this rivalry from a Falcons fan perspective without landing on something from a loss.
For my money, then, the defining moment of this rivalry is not a happy one. I could go with something from the 2004 season’s playoff loss that ruined me for a couple of weeks, but instead I’ll land on the Keanu Neal interception-that-wasn’t. I have not been able to think about the Eagles and the Falcons playing since without landing on that moment, with its absurd mix of Atlanta being in the right position to make a potentially game-changing play and the very laws of physics seemingly working against them. Too often, when Philadelphia hasn’t run them over entirely, the games have turned on one play, and that remains the absolute gold standard of awful, memorable moments between these two teams for me.
Thankfully, this is a very different Eagles team than the one the Falcons saw last time out, and I really hope it translates into a win so I can replace that image in my brain with something else. What’s your defining moment for this particular rivalry?