Hall-of-Fame linebacker Harry Carson knows a secret about the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles: The teams don’t hate each other as much as some of their fans may believe.
The division rivals play each other today at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for a spot in the National Football League conference championship. Carson said the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are the more-despised division foes.
“Everybody hates Dallas,” Carson, 55, said in an interview. “You come out of the womb, you have to hate Dallas. And then the Redskins.”
New York’s honorary captain for today’s game said the animosity between the Giants and Eagles is often overstated. The National Football Conference East division is more like a neighborhood, with the Eagles’ and Giants’ stadiums 157.7km apart compared with the more-distant Redskins and Cowboys, he said.
“To be honest with you, there are times when Eagles players and Giants players get together for charity events here in New York City,” said Carson, who was selected to nine Pro Bowls and led the team in tackles in five of his 13 seasons. “It’s sort of a friendly rivalry. You walk off the field, you pat each other on the rear end.”
New York and Philadelphia have met three times in the NFL postseason, with the Giants winning twice.
Among the memorable moments between the two clubs was a November 1978 game in which Joe Pisarcik and running back Larry Csonka fumbled a handoff that led to a last-second Eagles’ victory. The play became known as “The Miracle at the Meadowlands.”
In November 1960, Eagles Hall of Fame linebacker Chuck Bednarik hit Giants running back Frank Gifford in the chest so hard that Gifford didn’t play the next one-and-a-half seasons.
That’s all in the past, said Carson, who played for the Giants from 1976 to 1988. Carson served as team captain for 10 of his 13 years, including the Giants’ Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos after the 1986 regular season.
Giants and Eagles players “sort of associate with one another during the season and sometimes after the season,” he said. “When they get together they don’t have that same kind of heat that you might have when you’re playing against the Cowboys.”