It's hard to believe that two major cities with sports franchises who have been around a really long time, like Philly and Chicago have rarely ever faced each other in the post-season. Here are some of the highlights from over the years:
Steve Van Buren scores only TD in title game (Source: The New York Times)
1. Eagles-Cardinals 1948 NFL championship game. This was when the Cardinals were the Chicago Cardinals. And then they pretty much sucked from that point up until 60 years later. Yeah, paybacks were a bitch for the Eagles in 2008 NFC title game. But this day the Eagles brought home their franchise's first title with 7-0 victory, courtesy of Steve Van Buren's 4th Quarter TD run in blizzard-like conditions at Shibe Park.
Rocky and Clubber Lang look longingly into each other's eyes before the fight (Source: MGM)
2. Rocky Balboa vs Clubber Lang. Chicago's own Clubber Lang won the first fight and the war of words, but Rocky kicked it old school and went back to basics to regain the "Eye of the Tiger" and was victorious in the end. "You ain't so bad…" This movie also adhered to the Rocky movie rule that punches are only permitted to be blocked with your face.
"It's good!", I think (Source: Sports Illustrated)
3. The Fog Bowl – December 1988. The Bears jumped out to an early lead thanks to some blown coverages by the Eagles and were fortunate to be leading 17-6 when the fog rolled into Soldier Field. Keith Jackson dropped a sure TD right in his hands early on, showing he was definitely not the "quarterback's best friend". The Eagles had to settle for 4 field goals in a 20-12 loss. That game just had the feel of a high-scoring game that would have favored the Eagles in the long run, if the fog never appeared. And Randall Cunningham still finished with a franchise playoff record 407 passing yards in a losing effort. If they had been able to win that game, it would have altered the course of history for that era, as Buddy Ryan likely would not have been fired 2 years later and replaced with Rich Kotite and perhaps some of the players who departed as free agents in the early 90's would have stayed.
McNabb on the move (Source: Sports Illustrated)
4. Eagles-Bears – January 2002. This game wasn't really that memorable as the Eagles crushed the Bears 33-14. The only play I remember is Hugh Douglas separating the throwing shoulder of Bears QB Jim Miller early on. But what fun times when the Eagles were still on the rise during the McNabb/Reid era before we got bored with them just making the playoffs. But this win in Chicago sort of launched them into a legit SB contender over the next several years.
Bulls and Sixers doing battle in 1991 playoffs (Source dipity.com)
5. Sixers-Bulls early 90's. In the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons the Bulls eliminated the Sixers in 5 games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Those Sixers teams overachieved and didn't match up well with the Bulls. Nothing memorable about either of those series. I just vaguely remember Jordan not even playing that well (by his standards) in either series and scrubs like Stacey King, BJ Armstrong, and "Easy" Ed Nealy stepping up and having good games.
Other notable matchups:
– 1970-71 NHL quarterfinals. The Blackhawks swept the Flyers 4-0. That's about all I can tell you. Good luck finding clips of that series on the internets. If you do it will probably be lower quality than the original Zapruder film.
– The "Shootout in Chicago"in May of 1979. Phils won 23-22, with the teams totaling 45 runs, the 2nd most in MLB history. The wind was blowing out in Wrigley and each starting pitcher only lasted 1/3 of an inning. And the Phils blew a 21-9 lead after the Cubs tied it up at 22. But then Mike Schmidt won it with a solo blast in the 10th. The box score is here. It's amazing that in spite of surrendering 45 total runs and having the starters not even complete an inning, the two teams combined to only use 11 pitchers.
– Lee Elia's tirade. This really has nothing to do with Philly-Chicago matchups, except for Elia having managed both the Cubs and Phillies within a span of about 5 years. Yeah, I know, both cities got the short end of that stick. It's really just an excuse for me to link to his infamous tirade after a home loss as Cubs manager in April of 1983. Hereit is and it's definitely NSFW. You know almost every thin-skinned professional coach who has ever gotten booed has probably thought this about the fans at one time or another. But they had the common sense not to go off on a rant about it for 5 minutes after a game. Maybe Elia was really talking about these d-bags. I mean really how annoying is that?