The New York Giants will play the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend at MetLife Stadium and will face them again in Week 18 on the road.
It’s not unusual for division rivals to face one another twice over such a short span. Just look at the Giants-Commanders games this season which pits them against one another twice in three weeks.
Today, we travel back to 1978 to the Giants and Eagles’ second matchup, which took place in the final week of the season at Veterans Stadium. Few will remember this game. When you mention 1978, most will recall the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” aka the “fumble’ game that happened a month before.
The Giants came into the game at 6-9, having won the week before against the Cardinals to snap a six-game losing streak. Philly was 8-7 and needed to win and then get some help in order to secure a wildcard berth.
Passing the football was not the wisest of moves that day with 30 mph gusts blowing through the stadium. Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski only threw the ball 13 times, completing four for just 72 yards.
But he didn’t need to do a whole lot other than hand off. The Eagles rushed for 238 yards behind Wilbert Montgomery and Mike Hogan and held the Giants’ pop-gun offense to 48 yards on the ground.
The Giants started Randy Dean at quarterback, who was yanked for Joe Pisarcik after he proved to be ineffective. Pisarcik was the culprit of the “fumble” fiasco in the first meeting and was nursing a sprained knee. He was not ready to play. Things got so ugly, Dean had to be reinserted into the game.
The Eagles won, 20-3, ending perhaps the most frustrating season in Giants’ history. Head coach John McVay, who was under fire from the fans after the ‘fumble’ game, was fired three days later.
McVay was the scapegoat for a front office that had done just about everything wrong for a decade. The Giants had no clue how to manage in the post-merger NFL. They ran the team like they had always run it and that model was no longer viable.
Owner Wellington Mara had hired Andy Robustelli to run the front office but retained the final word on personnel decisions. Many of those decisions were just godawful.
“John really bore the brunt of the 12 years that went before him,” said Mara. “He came into a situation where people were already tired of losing. When he wasn’t the knight on the white charger, there wasn’t as much patience with him.”
Soon after, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle intervened to save the Giants from themselves with the hiring of George Young as general manager.