Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Definite history lesson here for the 35-and-under crowd: Did you know that for the entirety of the 1960s, the NFL had something called the "Playoff Bowl," where the second-place teams from each of the conferences would square off, for the grand honors of being the #3 team in the NFL? It sounds a little crazy, almost un-American in nature--that is, until you remember that in our current college football playoff system, dozens of similarly hyped-up games of supposed meaning are played by teams with no hopes of competing for a national title. Considering that, playing for third doesn't seem so anti-climactic after all.

In 1961, the Eagles were a season removed from a national championship, but a late-season loss to the division rival Giants would halt their chances of defender their title, as Big Blue went on to the Championship game, where they would lose 37-0 to the Green Bay Packers on New Years Eve. One week later, on January 6th, 1962, the Eagles played the West's second-place Lions in the Playoff Bowl for the coveted Losers Bracket title.

The Birds fared little better than the G-Men had a week earlier. Offensive stars Sonny Jurgensen (Quarterback) and J.D. Smith (O-Line) suffered injuries early in the game, and Detroit was hungry after losing a close battle to Philadelphia at home in the last week of the season. The Lions took a 24-0 lead into the half, their defense tormented the Eagles' O throught, and Detroit held on to win the game 38-10--the second of three straight Playoff Bowls the Lions would win in the 1960s. (A semi-dubious distinction, considering they haven't won a Championship Game/Super Bowl since.)

 

So what do you think--would it have been kind of cool to see the Eagles and the Ravens square off after their respective losses in the Conference Championship Games of 2008-09? I would've watched it. At the very least, we could've gotten that Most Bad-Ass Bird Championship between the two teams that everyone was sorta hoping for before the Super Bowl last year.