Today is the 16th anniversary of the implosion of Veterans Stadium. The place where 257 Eagles games were played over the course of 32 seasons took less than a minute to come tumbling down. In the three decades they called "The Vet" home, the Eagles had a 137-107-2 regular-season record and a 7-4 playoff record. The Vet was where Eagles fans started to develop their now infamous reputation of being a little too 'passionate', like wearing just boxers at the NFC Championship Game when the wind chill was NEGATIVE FIFTEEN
Even though it's long gone, the Vet is still in the hearts of every Philadelphia. In this article we will be taking a look back at some of the most memorable Eagles moments that took place in our old home.
Ron Jaworski 56-yard TD pass to Harold Carmichael to Open Season (September 7th, 1980)
The Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the Denver Broncos on their first series of the season thanks to Ron Jaworski’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Harold Carmichael. The Eagles went on to stomp the Broncos 27-6, and would finish the 1980 season with a 12-4 record and made it all the way to Super Bowl XV.
The NFC Championship Game vs Dallas (January 11th, 1981)
70,696 fans crammed their way into the Vet. As a psychological ploy, the Eagles chose to wear their white jerseys for their home game in order to force the Cowboys into their "unlucky" blue jerseys. Wilbert Montgomery scored a 42-yard touchdown on the second play of the game, sending the 70,000+ fans into chaos. The Eagles beat the Cowboys by a final score of 20–7. At the end of the game, Philadelphia police circled the field with horses and dogs to keep fans from rushing the field to celebrate. Despite the police presence, Eagles fans successfully rushed the field.
The Nation Finds Out Randall Cunningham is Made of Rubber (October 10th, 1988)
On a Monday night with the country watching, a young Randall Cunningham stepped up and showed the nation just how electrifying he could be. In the 2nd Quarter on 3rd down on the goal line, Cunningham rolled out right, but was met by Giants linebacker Carl Banks. Banks came in for the sack, but Cunningham bounced off of him and put his hand down to keep himself from hitting the ground. He collected himself and found Jimmie Giles in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. Cunningham went on to throw for 369 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 24-13 win. This game had everyone at the Vet realizing that Cunningham was the team's franchise quarterback moving forward.
Bounty Bowl II (December 10th, 1989)
To know more about Bounty Bowl II you have to go back and know about the original "Bounty Bowl". Back on Thanksgiving day in 1989, the Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Texas 27-0. During that game, Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas suffered a concussion from Jessie Small after a kickoff. After the game, new Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson claimed that Buddy Ryan instituted a bounty on Zendejas and quarterback Troy Aikman. Two weeks later they played the rematch at the Vet, which the Eagles also won 20-10. The stadium was filled with snow, which led to fans throwing snowballs at Dallas players and coaches. Beer sales were banned for two games as punishment for the fans after that incident.
The BodyBag Game (November 12th, 1990)
At least nine Redskins players were injured in this game, including both quarterbacks Jeff Rutledge and Stan Humphries. Rookie running back Brian Mitchell had to finish the game at quarterback. This game got the famous name from the late Jerome Brown, who at one point yelled to the Redskins’ sideline “You’re going to need body bags to carry everybody out of here.” The Eagles won decisively 28-14.
Eric Allen Clinch Playoff Birth for Eagles (December 20th, 1992)
The reigning Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins came into the Vet in Week 16. The Eagles, needing a win to clinch a playoff berth, led the Redskins in the final seconds, but Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien drove the team deep into Eagles territory, and with two seconds left, Washington had a 2nd-and-goal on the 5-yard-line. When the ball was snapped, Eagles cornerback Eric Allen realized Rypien was going to attack young cornerback Otis Smith and hit Gary Clark for a touchdown. So he left his assignment and raced over, dove and got his fingertips on the ball, and deflected it just out of Clark’s reach. The game was over and the Eagles were in the playoffs.
Michael Irvin's Injury (October 10th, 1999)
During the fifth game of the 1999 season, Irvin was tackled by Eagles defensive back Tim Hauck and went head-first into the turf. Irvin was carted off the field on a stretcher as some of Eagles fans cheered. He sustained a non-life-threatening cervical spinal cord injury and was subsequently diagnosed with a narrow spinal column, which forced him into early retirement. Eagles fans still hear about how they cheered during his injury, as fans across the NFL, especially Cowboys fans, still use this as a way to put down Eagles fans. Even though just four years ago Cowboys fans did the wave while an opponent was being carted off of the field. Cowboys fans also seem to forget that one of their fans literally murdered an opposing fan only five years ago. But No matter what happens in the future, this experience back in the Vet in 1999 will stay with Eagles fans forever.
The Vet was quite frankly was one of the worst stadiums ever created, but it was ours and that is why Eagles fans loved it so much and still feel nostalgia for it.