Eagles fans should be feeling good Wednesday. Not only because the 9-1 Eagles have the best record in football but because it’s the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest plays in Birds history. A play that made NBC10's Vai Sikahema a legend.
On Nov. 22, 1992 — long before Vai Sikahema knocked out Jose Canseco in a celebrity boxing match — 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 then Eagles punt returner's waiting arms, and 87 yards later Vai went all "Mike Tyson's Punchout" on the 'Giants' logo on the Meadowlands goalpost to put an exclamation point on a huge Eagles victory that took the team to 7-4.
It is an indelible moment that lives in Philly sports lore forever. The type of play that, in the age before YouTube, you remember where you were when you saw it.
Now Vai is a news anchor for NBC10 who was helped introduce dozens of children up for adoption to potential families through his Wednesday's Child segments. But Vai is still known as much for that return, at the time the longest punt return (now third longest) in team history.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
In honor of Vai knocking out the Giants celebrating a milestone, we wanted to pose a question: Was it the greatest play in Eagles history?
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Here are six 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 the old 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 Miracle in the Meadowlands was born.
3. Desean's 'Miracle in the New Meadowlands' (Dec. 19, 2010)
In a play that look more like "Tecmo Super Bowl" than reality, Giants punter Matt Dodge failed to kick the ball out of bounds in the waning moments of a tied game after a big Giants comeback in the fourth quarter. Desean Jackson initially muffed the catch, but would recover while backpedaling. Jackson ran through a group of Giants and dashed along sideline (in the video you see Giants head coach Tom Coughlin throwing his play sheet onto the ground in frustration). Desean danced along the end line, not crossing into the end zone until time expired. The Eagles won 38-31.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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, Wilbert Montgomery's dash to the Super Bowl and Brian Dawkins hit on Michael Vick but for the sake of argument pick between these six. If you want to add to the list of great plays, comment below.