Gibbs vs. Buddy
While Joe Gibbs vs. Buddy Ryan, the Eagles' coach from 1986 through 1990, never had quite the zip to it as Parcells or Landry facing off against Gibbs, it was an interesting if short-lived rivalry nonetheless.
While he rarely talked about it, Gibbs was not a fan of Ryan's style. Buddy's modus operandi included antics such as calling a timeout so that his team could throw a touchdown pass on the last play of a game that the Eagles were winning handily and putting a bounty out on opposing players, promising cash to his players if they put some guys on the other team out of the game. When asked about Ryan, the usually gracious Gibbs would quickly change the subject, saying volumes about his feelings about Ryan with his silence.
Occasionally, however, Gibbs true opinion of Ryan came out. Before the two teams met in a playoff game following the 1990 season, a reporter happened upon Gibbs in the hallways of Redskins Park. The coach had not left the complex for at least a few days and he was in an unguarded state. He talked about Ryan and the more he talked the madder he got. "I live to play a game like this one. I live to play this guy." Gibbs said, turning red faced with rage.
Gibbs didn't get mad like that often, but when he did he usually knew how to channel his fury it into a productive direction. His Redskins were as focused and as motivated as anyone had ever seen them and they beat the Eagles in Philly 20-6. The win ran Gibbs' record against Ryan to 8-3.
It wasn't just the end of the Eagles' season, it was the end of the road for Buddy Ryan. He was fired the day after the game. You have to think that Joe Gibbs allowed himself a chuckle when he heard that news.
Sonny vs. Norm
It was a deal that never would happen today. Two division rivals exchanged quarterbacks in 1964 when the Redskins sent Norm Snead and defensive back Claude Crabb to the Eagles in exchange for Sonny Jurgensen.
Jurgensen was at first unbelieving and then stunned when he heard the news. He had just met with Eagles coach Joe Kuharich. "It was April Fools' Day and I thought that they were just kidding me," said Jurgensen. "But that wasn't the case. I was in shock."
It didn't take long for him to make the Eagles pay. In their first meeting of the '64 season at DC Stadium, Jurgensen came out firing away at his former teammates. In the early going his prime target was Bobby Mitchell, who caught eight passes on the day, two of them for touchdowns. The second one came as Crabb futilely tried to catch up with Mitchell in the end zone as the Redskins flanker hauled in Jurgensen's pass in the end zone in the closing seconds of the first half.
Jurgensen kept on pitching it in the second half, turning his attention to Charley Taylor. Twice the pair hooked up from long distance, once from 66 yards and again on a 74-yard bomb.
Amidst the scoring passes to the future Hall of Famers in Taylor and Mitchell, Jurgensen also got off a TD toss to John Lockett, giving him five for the game. The Eagles certainly regretted making the quarterback swap by halftime and their lament would continue for years to come as Jurgensen went on to enshrinement in Canton while Snead's best seasons were decidedly mediocre.
Rich Tandler blogs about the Skins at RealRedskins.com and he is the author of the upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle. You can reach Rich by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Flashback Friday: Gibbs-Buddy, Sonny-Norm
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