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Joyner: Nothing Quite Like Dallas Week


Welcome to Other View, a perspective from members of the media, celebrity Eagles fans and Eagles alumni on the state of the 2014 Eagles that runs here weekly during the season. Today: former linebacker Seth Joyner, an Eagle from 1986-93. He made two Pro Bowls with the team and was voted by the fans to the franchise's 75th Anniversary Team. Joyner was recognized on Sunday as the team's Honorary Alumni Captain. Follow Seth on Twitter @SethJoyner ...*

Playing in Philadelphia was always a privilege and something I never took for granted. The city just fit my personality. The fans are passionate and aggressive and that's the way I played the game. I loved the intensity and the connection between the fans and the team. It was awesome, and those teams and those times in the locker room and on the field were always special to me.

We won because we had a lot of talented players and we had camaraderie. We loved each other like brothers. We bonded and fought for each other. I see a lot of that in this year's team. I think head coach Chip Kelly has the team headed in the right direction.

There are games that kind of beyond the ordinary and playing the Dallas Cowboys is always one of those games. The rivalry is fierce among the fans and the players. You learn right away that the fans view the Cowboys as the No. 1 rival. They hate the Cowboys more than any team. We obviously felt that way when we played.

Buddy Ryan was our leader and he made it clear how he felt about Dallas. The Cowboys were a division rival and they were a team we needed to beat, so our games had some extra passion and energy, just like the games we played against New York and Washington.

There always seemed like we had something to play for in games against the Cowboys. Dallas was going through a transition, just like we were. We beat them eight straight times (between October 25, 1987 and September 15, 1991), but after that the Cowboys became a powerful team and Buddy was no longer our coach and Dallas took over the rivalry. The Cowboys won the last four games when I played with the Eagles, won the Super Bowl and, believe me, it was very painful.

I know the passion from the team and the fans remain as these teams meet for the second time in three weeks. The way the NFL schedules games now, you have to win at the end of the season in the division, and I like that structure. It was great seeing the Eagles win the NFC East in Dallas last season. It was a strong message to send to Dallas.

A Dallas Week is not the same as every other week in the season. There is something extra special about the rivalry, as the fans know very well. You feel it as a player. It's a very important game and a game where you need to be at your emotional and physical peak. What happened two weeks ago isn't going to have a bearing on Sunday night.

These are the kinds of games I really enjoyed. I'll be watching and cheering for the Eagles feeling the same emotion to beat the Cowboys as I had when I played in Philadelphia. Once you are an Eagle, beating the Cowboys becomes a must-do every time we play.

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