SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 20: Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 20, 2009 in San Diego, California. The Ravens defeated the Chargers 31-26. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
With 48 hours and change remaining until the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys clash at Lincoln Financial in a battle for the division lead, some bulletin board material has emerged, from all places, out of Baltimore.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who coached under the Eagles' Andy Reid from 1998 to 2007, was quoted in Game Changers: The 50 Greatest Plays in Philadelphia Eagles Football History, a new book by Reuben Frank and Mark Eckel, delivering a gloves-off king-hell screed against the practices of the Jerry Jones' led Dallas Cowboys.
According to ESPN's Matt Mosley, asked why the Eagles have had success over the last ten years while Dallas has struggled, Harbaugh had this to offer:
"Why is that? Because what Andy Reid and his program stand for is the opposite of what the Cowboys stand for. The Cowboys are a star system. It's all about building around individuals first and collecting talent, collecting great players. Andy has always been about building a team. And over the long haul, it's a team sport, and one of the greatest examples of that is what's happened with the Eagles and the Cowboys over the last 10 years. The Cowboys stand for everything that's wrong with the NFL."
Ho ho, stinging, indeed. Refraining from a windy dissection of each remark, arguing, for example, that "collecting great players," and "building a team" are quite often one in the same, a quick review of recent history is in order. Granted, the Eagles have had a summarily better past decade than have the Cowboys.
The Eagles, between 1999 and 2008, made an impressive seven playoff appearances, going to five conference championships and a Super Bowl. This is arguably the best decade of football in Philadelphia Eagles history. This span also represents, arguably, the worst decade in Dallas Cowboys history, with exactly zero playoff wins. And yet, in this time, in the only statistical category that really matters--Super Bowl wins--the two teams are tied.
Delving a bit deeper in the teams' respective histories will tell you that Dallas has won five Super Bowls, but for our purposes here, we'll discount those won before Jerry Jones bought the team. That leaves us with three, exactly three more Lombardi trophies than the Eagles have won in their 76 year history.
If, over the past decade, the difference between Philadelphia and Dallas can be attributed to one team doing the "right things" and one doing the "wrong things"--and not something more organic, like a lull in talent or an admittedly ugly and drawn-out period of transition--then Harbaugh might be dead on; he certainly has ample evidence to support this claim in the teams' respective records.
The only question is, without the rings to show for this, the most wonderful Eagles decade, does anyone give a damn?