While the NFL season itself opened on Thursday, for the Philadelphia Eagles, all eyes will be on the team’s first game of the year which just so happens to also be the first Monday Night Football (MNF) game of 2015.
For the Eagles, this will be the team’s 45th appearance in the MNF game’s 46-season history. Overall, the Eagles hold a .590 winning percentage on Monday Night Football, which is the seventh best in the NFL and ranks tops among all their divisional rivals in the NFC East. That percentage is also fourth best among teams that have played at least 40 MNF games.
From winning their very first Monday night game against the New York Giants in 1970, to scoring 45 points in their most recent appearance in 2014 against the Carolina Panthers, here is a look back at the Eagles and their MNF history.
1970-79: First Times for Everything
On November 23rd, the Eagles played their first Monday Night Football game against the Giants. Philadelphia, just 1-7-1 on the season at the time, had run into a buzz-saw as New York was on a six-game winning streak after having lost their first three. The game was played at Franklin Field and saw a crowd of over 59,000. Philadelphia won the game 23-20, just their second of three wins on the year.
Two years later on October 2nd, the Eagles found themselves back in the then-ABC televised game, this time doing so for the first MNF game at Veterans Stadium, which had opened the year prior. Again, the Eagles took on the Giants, but this time it was New York that came out on top by a score of 27-12.
On September 23rd, 1974, the Eagles recorded another first as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their first ever Monday night meeting by a score of 13-10.
1975 marked the first time the Eagles played MNF games in back-to-back seasons, the second of which was a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams, 42-3, on November 3rd.
A year later, the Eagles would be the first team to play an MNF overtime game, as the new rule had been instituted just two years prior. Philadelphia lost 20-17 against the Washington Redskins as Washington kicked a field goal in the extra time to get the win.
The Eagles wouldn’t return to MNF until 1979, but when they did, it was the first season the team played two Monday night games in one year. The first was a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, 13-10, the second, a win against the Cowboys, 31-21.
- The Eagles finished the 70s with a 3-4 record in MNF games
- Five of Philadelphia’s MNF games were played at home
- All three wins came against future NFC East rivals
1980-89: Monday Night Absence
The first Monday night game for the Eagles in the 80s, came on September 22nd and was the third time in the team’s first eight that came against the Giants. Once again, the Eagles came out on top, defeating the Giants by a score of 35-3.
In 1981, Philadelphia played two MNF games, the first a win against the Falcons, the second a loss to the Miami Dolphins. 1982 was set to the see the Eagles play, for the first time, three games on Monday nights, but all of them were cancelled due to the strike.
Philadelphia wouldn’t play another MNF game until 1988 and once again, it was against the Giants. The Eagles won by a score of 24-13. The team would close out the decade in 1989 with back-to-back losses against the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints.
- The Eagles finished the 80s with a 3-3 record in MNF games
- Four of Philadelphia’s first 10 MNF games came against the Giants (2-2)
- The seven season absence from 1982-88 is Philadelphia’s longest in their MNF history
1990-99: How Bout them Cowboys and… Body Bags?
The Eagles opened with a victory against the Minnesota Vikings, followed by what would become the infamous “Body Bag Game,” against the Redskins, in which six Washington players, including two quarterbacks, were carted off the field due to injuries, prompting then-safety William Frizzell to turn to the opposing team’s bench and say, “You need anymore body bags?” The Eagles won the game, 28-14.
1991 would see the Eagles play their first season having three MNF games against the Redskins, Giants and Houston Oilers. Philadelphia won two of the three and they were shut out by Washington, 23-0.
On October 5th, 1992, the Eagles again feasted on the Cowboys, defeating their rival by a score of 31-7. A year later, Dallas got their first MNF win against the Birds in four tries, doing so by a score of 23-17.
The Eagles closed out the 1993 MNF season with a win over the San Francisco 49ers that saw Philadelphia benefit from a penalty that allowed for a re-kick of a game-winning field goal which had initially been missed.
Chicago and Houston fell victim to Philadelphia in 1994, as both teams lost to the Eagles in front of the Veterans Stadium crowd. In 1995, the Eagles lost their lone MNF regular season game against the Cowboys. The Eagles again fell to Dallas in 1996, which was the second of the team’s two MNF losses, the first against the Green Bay Packers, that year.
Philadelphia would up the two losses into a four game losing streak as they, for the third time in a row, lost to the Cowboys and later in the season, the 49ers. The Eagles closed out the decade in 1998, doing so by being shut out 34-0 by, you guessed it, the Cowboys.
- The Eagles finished the 90s with a 8-8 record in MNF games despite starting the decade 8-1
- After winning the first three MNF clashes, the Eagles dropped four in a row to the Cowboys
- The five-game losing streak in the late 80s is the worst in Eagles MNF history
2000-09: Of Shutouts, Records and Rivals
In 2001, the Eagles ended their five game losing streak with a 10-9 victory over the Giants and proceeded to start a new winning streak as following the Giants win, came a trio of 2002 victories against the Redskins, 49ers and Giants.
2003 saw that streak come to an end as in the first MNF game at the newly-opened Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles were shut out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-0, before getting back to their winning ways with victories against the Packers and Dolphins.
Adding to what would become yet another four-game winning streak, the Eagles defeated the Vikings and finally got another win against the Cowboys before falling to the Rams, now with St. Louis, in 2004.
The Eagles dropped all three of their games in 2005, including another to the Cowboys, one to the Falcons, and yet another shutout, 42-0, this time at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
2006 saw MNF move to ESPN for the first year and it also saw the Eagles soundly defeat the Packers, 31-9, and the Panthers, 27-24. In 2007, Philadelphia lost their only contest at the hands of the Redskins.
In 2008, the Eagles took on the Cowboys in a shootout, the final score being 41-37 in favor of Dallas. The 78 points scored was the most ever in a meeting between the two teams. The game, which for Eagles fans will always be remembered as the time then-rookie DeSean Jackson celebrated too early in pulling up and releasing the ball before actually scoring what would have been his first NFL touchdown, was the last MNF game in Texas Stadium and finished as the most-watched MNF game on ESPN and cable TV broadcast history.
Also in 2008, the Eagles defeated the Cleveland Browns, followed by a win against the Redskins a season later.
- The Eagles finished the 2000s with a 13-6 record, the first decade with a winning MNF record
- Philadelphia was shut out twice, making it four times being shut out in MNF history
- The Cowboys have been the Eagles’ biggest MNF rival as the teams have faced off 10 times
The Eagles got off to a bang in the 2010s, doing so with a 59-28 victory over the Redskins. The 59 points were the most ever scored by a single team in an MNF game, a record that still stands today.
Following this, the Eagles lost three straight, to the Bears in 2011 and the Saints and Panthers in 2012. In 2013, Philadelphia opened the NFL season on Monday night for the first time and did so with yet another win against Washington.
2014 saw the Eagles play two MNF games for the first time since 2012. In their first game, they came back from a 0-14 halftime deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 30-27. The second, was another win, 45-21, against the Panthers. It marks the third in a row in Philadelphia’s current three-game winning streak on MNF.
- The Eagles currently have a 4-3 record in MNF games in the 2010s
- Philadelphia’s six wins against the Redskins are their most against any team
- 30 of the Eagles 44 MNF games have been played at home
- The Eagles have faced 15 different NFL teams on Monday night
Today, in 2015, the Eagles will take on the Falcons for the third time in the team’s MNF history. Atlanta is 2-1 against Philadelphia but it should be noted, they have just a .289 winning percentage in MNF, the worst in the NFL.