Eagles and Cowboys.
Those words trigger only violent thoughts in the minds of football fans. It incites hatred and disgust between not just two teams, but two cities as well.
One of the things that makes sports rivalries intense is more than just the big plays or bone crushing hits – it’s the matchup between both teams’ quarterbacks.
Bradshaw vs Staubach, Montana vs Elway, Brady vs Manning.
These are just some of the quarterback names that have lit the fire under some of the best rivalries in football history.
In terms of the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry, we’ve seen the matchups of Cunningham vs Aikman, the brief encounters of Sanchez vs Romo and McNabb vs anybody the Cowboys could find to play behind center in the 2000s.
But this Sunday, the first matchup between rookie signal callers Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott takes place, and from the way both guys are playing, it looks like this could be the first of many matchups between these two signal callers for years to come.
Wentz and Prescott are off to similar starts in their rookie campaigns.
Both had more than 100 pass attempts without throwing their first career interceptions. Both have had veteran-like numbers through the first six games of the season, and both have led their respective teams to the top of what looks to be like a competitive division in the NFC East, a complete turnaround from what the division was last year.
But this matchup holds more weight than just a battle for first place in the division. It will be the tone setter for what the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry will look like over the next decade, if both players stay healthy and keep up their performance.
Now what happens if both guys go out and play like rookies? What if it’s a slop fest where both players fail to find any rhythm? It could make both fan bases dread the twice-a-year matchup.
What if both players go back and forth in classic 1990s shootout style? Think Bobby Hoying’s game vs Cincinnati in 1997. It could set the bar high enough that every Eagles-Cowboys game would have to be in the primetime slot.
But unless the unprecedented happens: the dreaded tie, which isn’t all that unprecedented after the 6-6 debacle of a tie between Seattle and Arizona, either Wentz or Prescott are going to have to lose. One is going to outdo the other. One will come away with a win in the first of many contests.
Carson Wentz is the franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. Dak Prescott looks to be playing Tony Romo out of town and on his way to being the new franchise quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.
Every sports rivalry has chapters. This one has plenty of them. This Sunday night will be a historic night in the story of the Eagles vs Cowboys rivalry.
The beginning of a new chapter.