Gather around the campfire boys and girls! We have a story to tell. It's October 2nd... The year is 1994... The San Francisco 49ers are the best team in the football universe. They're also hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 5 game. EVERYONE expects the Niners to win Super Bowl XXIX, and they did. They did so handily. They ran roughshod over what was then the San Diego Chargers by a 49-26 margin.
Raise your hand if you STILL want to call the Chargers 'San Diego' sometimes. We sure as heck do.
What does this have to do with the anguish you're feeling over the recent 42-19 massacre you ask? Well, the immediate answer is 'nothing'. It doesn't have anything to do with it. We still feel like telling our story though.
So, let's take it from the top... It's October 2nd of the 1994 NFL season, and the underdog Eagles walked into Candlestick Park to battle a seemingly unstoppable 49ers squad. It's hard to remember a more impressive Birds win than this one.
The Eagles once galvanized the 49ers and San Fran propelled itself to a Super Bowl win. Might Philly use Week 13's loss to fuel their fire?
Take a look at the 1994 49ers, and you'll find Pro Football Hall of Famers (Steve Young, Deion Sanders, and Jerry Rice). You'll find a Super Bowl MVP (Richard Dent). You'll even find former Eagles players (the aforementioned Dent, Ricky Watters) and a former Eagles head coach, Ray Rhodes. He was San Fran's defensive coordinator at the time.
The Eagles were a talented bunch as well. They had Randall Cunningham on the roster along with guys like Charlie Garner, Calvin Williams, Fred Barnett, and current Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist Eric Allen. They weren't better than the 49ers. Heck, they were led by Rich Kotite and finished with a 7-9 record which was good for a last-place finish in the NFC East, but they were better than San Fran on that day.
Philly dominated the eventual Super Bowl champions to the tune of a 40-8 final score. That galvanized the Niners, and they wouldn't lose a game they tried to win after that. Their 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in their regular-season finale came with the starters resting as San Francisco prepared for a playoff push.
Fast forward to the present. We're about to learn a lot about our Philadelphia Eagles. We're going to learn how driven they are. We're going to learn a lot about Nick Sirianni. We're going to learn if a champion lies within them.
Week 13's loss was gut-wrenching. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it, but the 1994 San Francisco 49ers felt the same way.
Fans wanted George Seifert fired after that 40-8 loss. Heck, Randall Cunningham threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns. He also stacked a 117.9 quarterback rating. Everything worked out for that Niners team. Everything will work out for this Eagles team too.