Eagles fans should be feeling good Monday. Not only because the Eagles are in first-place after dispatching the Giants but because it’s the 18th birthday of one of the greatest plays in Birds history.
On Nov. 22, 1992 -- long before Vai Sikahema knocked out Jose Canseco -- with the Eagles leading 34-20 following a blocked punt for a score, Giants punter Sean Landeta boomed a kick into the North Jersey night. The ball came down in the Eagles punt returner's waiting arms -- 87 yards later Vai was going all Mike Tyson's Punchout on the Giants logo on the goalpost to put an exclamation point on a huge Eagles victory.
It is an indelible moment that lives in Philly sports lore forever.
Now Vai is a sports media icon in Philly. He has his own radio show and has been a sportscaster at NBC10 since his retirement from the NFL.
But Vai is still known as much for that return -- the longest punt return in team history -- than anything else.
But don't think Vai himself sees this as the greatest play in franchise history -- because he told me he doesn't. But in honor of Vai knocking out the Giants being old enough to vote we wanted to pose a question. Was it the greatest play in Eagles history?
Here are five plays to choose from and it’s up to you to vote for the best.
1. Vai’s Knockout Punch (Nov. 22, 1992)
2. The Miracle in the Meadowlands (Nov. 19, 1978)
Before Vai’s dash to glory Herman Edwards owned the most memorable play at Giants Stadium. With the Birds trailing late and the G-Men just needing to kneel the ball, Giants QB Joe Piscarcik's botched the hand off, Edwards scooped up the ball and the Eagles won 19-17. The Mircale in the Meadowlands was born.
3. 4th and 26 (Jan. 11, 2004)
Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb’s hopes of reaching a third-straight NFC Championship Game were nearly dashed in the divisional playoffs. But with the Eagles facing a 4th and 26 on their own 25-yard line McNabb found Freddie Mitchell for a miraculous first down. The Eagles went on to tie the game and would win on a David Akers field goal in overtime.
4. Bednarik’s Bear Hug (Dec. 29, 1960)
With the Birds clinging to a 17-13 lead against Vince Lombardi’s Packers, Chuck Bednarik ensured time would run out on the Pack. “Concrete Charlie” stopped Jim Taylor on the 8-yard line and held on to make sure the clock would run out. The 1960 championship is still the Eagles last title.
5. The Dallas Double Stop (Dec. 10, 1995)
Cowboys coach Barry Switzer might have a Super Bowl victory on his resume but he is forever remembered in Philly for his arrogance. Late in a tied game with the mighty Boys on their own 29-yard-line he chose twice to go for it on 4th-and-1 -- running Emmitt Smith twice to the left. Both times Smith was stopped. And to this day there are still Philadelphians who remember where they were when the mighty Boys fell to the Birds.
Of course there are other great plays like Randall Cunningham’s punt, D-Mac’s 14-second escape plan and Brian Dawkins hit on Michael Vick but for the sake of argument pick between these five. And if you want to add to the list comment below.