Nick Sirianni is receiving his first taste of a bitter NFC East rivalry — relishing to the first-year Philadelphia Eagles head coach.
Who showed up to his Thursday press conference clad in a “Beat Dallas” shirt, four days before the teams do battle on Monday Night Football at AT&T Stadium on September 27.
Bulletin board be damned.
“I really love the fact that I’m able to partake in this rivalry and it means a lot to the city, to our team; it means a lot to this building,” Sirianni proclaimed to reporters, via Tim McManus of ESPN.com.
“I’ll be wearing this all week. My kids got it, my wife has one. And, yeah, we’ll be wearing them.”
He added of the Cowboys: “I’m sure they’re going to have the picture of this shirt on there. And that’s fine. With the rivalry and it being a division game, I don’t know if anyone needs — our side, their side — needs any more bulletin board material or if it’s even going to help, because we know how big the rivalry is and how much it means to both sides.”
Monday’s matchup will mark the 125th meeting between the Eagles (1-1) and Cowboys (1-1), who lead the all-time series, 70-54. The sides split last season, with Dallas trouncing Philadelphia in the penultimate 2020 contest.
The Cowboys are 3.5-point home favorites as of this writing.
Get your popcorn ready.
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Zeke Speaks Out on Eagles Dislike
Holding court with the media Thursday, September 23, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was made aware of Sirianni’s attempt at stoking the fires of his nemesis. Elliott would not respond in kind — “we stay in our lane” — but admitted he has a little extra juice for Week 3.
“It means a lot. I mean definitely probably our biggest rival, especially since I’ve been here,” Elliott said, via ESPN.com. “Probably the team I don’t like the most. But Philly week is always fun. I know AT&T is going to be electric Monday night … I think we’re ready to go.”
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Parsons, Cox Trade QB Barbs
It isn’t just Sirianni who’s engaging in verbal gamesmanship. In fact, it was Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons (a.k.a. “The Terminator”) who first stoked the fires Wednesday, putting Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on his “hit list” — a vow to sack the sophomore signal-caller.
“Every quarterback that’s on the season is on the hit list. I want all of them,” Parsons said, via USA Today’s Jori Epstein. “[Justin] Herbert was just the guy I had that week. But Hurts, he’s on the hit list now too. You got to look at it like you’re trying to be the Terminator out there.”
Not to be outdone, and perhaps reflexively, Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox explained in great detail the delight he feels “getting after” Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, his former college teammate.
“Dak’s my guy. We were at Mississippi State at the same time,” Cox said on the Tiki and Tierney show on September 22. “We communicate and we’re good friends. But he plays quarterback and I play D-tackle. It’s always fun getting after him… I’ve got a job to do. As long as it’s a good hit, you want to affect his throws. If he’s still holding the ball, you want him to feel you, because when quarterbacks get hit, they feel that pressure, they see you coming.
“And when you’ve got a good, clean shot on him, obviously, you want to take it. You don’t want to hurt anybody. But if you’ve got a good, clean shot, you want to take it and get the sack or the strip fumble — even just be disruptive and get the pressure on the edge. … He wants to win and I want to win, so it’s going to come down to our defense versus their offense on Monday night.”