Eagles–Steelers rivalry

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Philadelphia Eagles–Pittsburgh Steelers
First meetingNovember 19, 1933
Eagles 25, Steelers 6
Latest meetingSeptember 25, 2016
Eagles 34, Steelers 3
Next meeting2020
Statistics
Meetings total79 meetings
All-time seriesEagles, 48–28–3
Current win streakEagles, 1
Championship success
Super Bowl Championships (7)

Conference Championships (11)

The Eagles–Steelers rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unofficially nicknamed "The Battle of Pennsylvania", this is an in-state, interconference rivalry between the two NFL teams located in the state of Pennsylvania.

The rivalry is one of the oldest in the NFL, dating back to 1933. During the first three decades of the rivalry, the Steelers and Eagles were in the NFL's Eastern Division and played twice annually. As a result of the AFL-NFL merger, the Steelers were placed in the AFC Central, while the Eagles were placed in the NFC East, resulting in infrequent meetings – The teams have only met 12 times since 1970. Under the current NFL scheduling formula, the teams play each other once every four years. The teams last played in 2016, a 34–3 Eagles win in Philadelphia.[1]. They will next play in 2020 in Pittsburgh.

The rivalry is one of two the Steelers have with NFC East teams, the other being their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys the Dallas Cowboys. Much like other rivalries between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the rivalry is mostly fueled by the two cities being within Pennsylvania and their sociocultural differences, with Philadelphia and the neighboring Lehigh Valley and Wyoming Valley being part of the Northeast megalopolis while Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania in general being part of the Rust Belt and Appalachia. Central Pennsylvania is considered battleground territory between the two teams.

The Eagles lead the all-time series 48–28–3. The teams have met once in the playoffs, a 21–0 Eagles victory in the 1947 Eastern Division Playoff. As the two teams are in different conferences, the only way they can currently meet in the playoffs is if they both make it to the Super Bowl. While this has never occurred, both teams have made it to their respective Conference Championship Game in 2001, 2004, and 2008.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Both teams were officially founded in 1933, with the Steelers then being known as the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, their histories predate that, with the Steelers being known as the J.P. Rooneys dating to 1921 as a semipro team, while the Eagles are arguably descended from the Frankford Yellow Jackets based in Philadelphia's Frankford neighborhood dating to 1899. The NFL considers both teams having started in 1933 alongside the now-defunct Cincinnati Reds. Both teams took advantage of Pennsylvania relaxing their blue laws in 1933 that previously didn't allow sporting events on Sundays, when most NFL games took place. The blue laws, combined with general issues related to The Great Depression, were among the reasons the Yellow Jackets failed despite winning the NFL champsionship in 1926.

The first meeting between the teams was on November 19, with the Eagles winning, 25–6. The two teams would struggle their first decade in the NFL both on the field and financially, with the Steelers staying afloat mostly due to team founder Art Rooney's gambling habits. Eventually, in late 1940 Rooney sold the Steelers to Alexis Thompson, a 26-year-old steel heir from Boston frequently described in the press as "a well-heeled New York City playboy". Thompson planned to move the franchise to Boston and play games in Fenway Park. Eagles owner Bert Bell brokered the deal between Rooney and Thompson for $160,000, and Rooney used $80,000 of the proceeds to buy a partnership in the Eagles, which at the time was owned by Bell. The deal also involved the trade of several players between the two teams.

The two owners planned to field a combined Philadelphia-Pittsburgh team called the Pennsylvania Keystoners that would play home games in both cities. The original proposition was that Thompson would buy the franchise and take the Pittsburgh club to Boston and Bell and Rooney would pool their interests in the Eagles to form a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh club, splitting the home games between Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. Thompson, however, was unable to secure a place to play in Boston. After meeting with Rooney, plans changed whereby Thompson's club (ostensibly the former Steelers) would play in Philadelphia as the Eagles, while the Rooney-Bell owned team would play in Pittsburgh as the Steelers, effectively trading the two clubs between their cities.

Steagles and post-war activity[edit]

The notion for a single team between the two cities was revived, when for one season in 1943, forced to do so by player shortfalls brought on by World War II, the two clubs temporarily merged as the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh "Steagles". The league only approved the merger for one year; Pittsburgh was willing to merge again for 1944 but not Philadelphia. This forced the Steelers to merge with the Chicago Cardinals (as Card-Pitt) for 1944.

Following the end of the war, both teams fortunes changed, with the Eagles and Steelers both clinching playoff spots in the late 1940s, including their only postseason meeting to date in 1947, when the Eagles shut out the Steelers 21–0 at Forbes Field. It would be the Steelers only playoff appearance until the Immaculate Reception 25 years later. The Eagles, under head coach Greasy Neale, won NFL championships in 1948 and 1949.

During the 1950s and 1960s, both teams success and failures would be relative to one another, to the point that both teams would be "competing" for the worst record in the NFL in 1968 and the chance to draft O.J. Simpson. Ultimately, the Atlanta Falcons had the NFL's worst record and the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League would win out on what was at that point the common draft. The Eagles, drafting third, would select Leroy Keyes while the Steelers, drafting fourth, would draft relative unknown Joe Greene. New Steelers head coach Chuck Noll would say later that the team would've drafted Greene even if it had the first overall pick, while Keyes (like Simpson a running back) was viewed by Eagles fans as more of a "consolation prize". Ultimately (Simpson's successful NFL career aside), Keyes lasted five years in the NFL; Greene would become a key member of the Steel Curtain defense and is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one of two Steelers to have their number officially retired.

Results[edit]

Date Winner Score Location Series
November 19, 1933 Eagles 25–6 Philadelphia Eagles, 1–0
September 26, 1934 Eagles 17–0 Pittsburgh Eagles, 2–0
October 7, 1934 Pirates 9–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 2–1
September 13, 1935 Pirates 17–7 Philadelphia Tie, 2–2
October 9, 1935 Eagles 17–6 Pittsburgh Eagles, 3–2
October 14, 1936 Pirates 17–0 Pittsburgh Tie, 3–3
November 5, 1936 Pirates 6–0 Philadelphia Pirates, 4–3
September 5, 1937 Pirates 27–14 Pittsburgh Pirates, 5–3
October 31, 1937 Pirates 16–7 Pittsburgh Pirates, 6–3
September 6, 1938 Eagles 27–7 Pittsburgh Pirates, 6–4
November 20, 1938 Eagles 27–7 Pittsburgh Pirates, 6–5
November 23, 1939 Eagles 17–7 Philadelphia Tie, 6–6
November 26, 1939 Pirates 24–12 Pittsburgh Pirates, 7–6
November 10, 1940 Steelers 7–3 Pittsburgh Steelers, 8–6
November 10, 1940 Eagles 7–0 Philadelphia Steelers, 8–7
Septembeer 21, 1941 Eagles 10–7 Pittsburgh Tie, 8–8
November 9, 1941 Tie 7–7 Philadelphia Tie, 8–8–1
September 13, 1942 Eagles 24–14 Pittsburgh Eagles, 9–8–1
October 18, 1942 Steelers 14–0 Philadelphia Tie, 9–9–1
November 4, 1945 Eagles 45–3 Pittsburgh Eagles, 10–9–1
November 18, 1945 Eagles 30–6 Philadelphia Eagles, 11–9–1
November 17, 1946 Steelers 10–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 11–10–1
December 1, 1946 Eagles 10–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 12–10–1
October 19, 1947 Steelers 35–24 Pittsburgh Eagles, 12–11–1
November 30, 1947 Eagles 21–0 Philadelphia Eagles, 13–11–1
December 21, 1947 * Eagles 21–0 Pittsburgh Eagles, 14–11–1
October 31, 1948 Eagles 24–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 15–11–1
November 28, 1948 Eagles 17–0 Philadelphia Eagles, 16–11–1
October 30, 1949 Eagles 38–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 17–11–1
November 27, 1949 Eagles 34–17 Philadelphia Eagles, 18–11–1
October 22, 1950 Eagles 17–10 Pittsburgh Eagles, 19–11–1
November 5, 1950 Steelers 9–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 19–12–1
November 5, 1950 Eagles 34–14 Pittsburgh Eagles, 20–12–1
November 25, 1951 Steelers 17–13 Philadelphia Eagles, 20–13–1
September 28, 1952 Eagles 31–25 Pittsburgh Eagles, 21–13–1
October 12, 1952 Eagles 26–21 Philadelphia Eagles, 22–13–1
October 17, 1953 Eagles 23–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 23–13–1
November 1, 1953 Eagles 35–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 24–13–1
October 9, 1954 Eagles 24–22 Philadelphia Eagles, 25–13–1
October 23, 1954 Steelers 17–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 25–14–1
October 15, 1955 Steelers 13–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 25–15–1
October 30, 1955 Eagles 24–0 Philadelphia Eagles, 26–15–1
October 14, 1956 Eagles 35–21 Pittsburgh Eagles, 27–15–1
November 11, 1956 Eagles 14–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 28–15–1
October 27, 1957 Steelers 6–0 Pittsburgh Eagles, 28–16–1
December 1, 1956 Eagles 7–6 Philadelphia Eagles, 29–16–1
October 12, 1958 Steelers 24–3 Pittsburgh Eagles, 29–17–1
November 9, 1958 Steelers 31–24 Philadelphia Eagles, 29–18–1
October 11, 1959 Eagles 28–24 Philadelphia Eagles, 30–18–1
November 29, 1959 Steelers 31–0 Pittsburgh Eagles, 30–19–1
November 6, 1960 Eagles 34–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 31–19–1
December 11, 1960 Steelers 27–21 Pittsburgh Eagles, 31–20–1
October 8, 1961 Eagles 21–16 Philadelphia Eagles, 32–20–1
December 3, 1961 Eagles 35–24 Pittsburgh Eagles, 33–20–1
October 6, 1962 Steelers 13–7 Pittsburgh Eagles, 33–21–1
December 9, 1962 Steelers 26–17 Pittsburgh Eagles, 33–22–1
September 15, 1963 Tie 21–21 Philadelphia Eagles, 33–22–2
December 1, 1963 Tie 20–20 Pittsburgh Eagles, 33–22–3
October 4, 1964 Eagles 21–7 Philadelphia Eagles, 34–22–3
October 25, 1964 Eagles 34–10 Pittsburgh Eagles, 35–22–3
October 24, 1965 Steelers 26–17 Philadelphia Eagles, 35–23–3
December 12, 1965 Eagles 47–13 Pittsburgh Eagles, 36–23–3
October 16, 1966 Eagles 31–14 Pittsburgh Eagles, 37–23–3
December 4, 1966 Eagles 27–23 Philadelphia Eagles, 38–23–3
October 1, 1967 Eagles 34–24 Philadelphia Eagles, 39–23–3
October 27, 1968 Steelers 6–3 Pittsburgh Eagles, 39–24–3
September 28, 1969 Eagles 41–27 Philadelphia Eagles, 40–24–3
December 30, 1970 Eagles 30–20 Philadelphia Eagles, 41–24–3
November 3, 1974 Steelers 27–0 Pittsburgh Eagles, 41–25–3
September 30, 1979 Eagles 17–14 Philadelphia Eagles, 42–25–3
November 13, 1988 Eagles 27–26 Pittsburgh Eagles, 43–25–3
September 22, 1991 Eagles 23–14 Philadelphia Eagles, 44–25–3
December 11, 1994 Steelers 14–3 Pittsburgh Eagles, 44–26–3
November 23, 1997 Eagles 23–20 Philadelphia Eagles, 45–26–3
November 12, 2000 Eagles 26–23(OT) Pittsburgh Eagles, 46–26–3
November 7, 2004 Steelers 27–3 Pittsburgh Eagles, 46–27–3
September 21, 2008 Eagles 15–6 Philadelphia Eagles, 47–27–3
October 7, 2012 Steelers 16–14 Pittsburgh Eagles, 47–28–3
September 25, 2016 Eagles 34–3 Philadelphia Eagles, 48–28–3

Summary of results[edit]

Overall at Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers Notes
Pre–AFL–NFL merger, regular season (1933–69) Eagles, 39–24–3 Eagles, 22–9–2 Eagles, 17–15–1
Post-merger (1970–present), regular season Eagles, 8–4 Eagles, 6–0 Steelers, 4–2
Overall regular season Eagles, 47–28–3 Eagles, 28–9–2 Tie, 19–19–1
Playoffs Eagles, 1–0 no games Eagles, 1–0 1947 Eastern Division Playoff
Regular season and playoffs Eagles, 48–28–3 Eagles, 28–9–2 Eagles, 20–19–1

See also[edit]

References[edit]