From 1999-2012, coach Andy Reid was one of the greatest villains for the Dallas Cowboys. As head coach of the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, his team faced the Cowboys at least twice a year and one time in the playoffs. Now, with the Cowboys trying to stay alive in 2017 and keep pace with his old team, Reid returns to Dallas as coach of the Kansas City Chiefs for a critical Week 9 game.
So many of those Cowboys-Eagles games during Reid's tenure were critical to Dallas' overall fate that year. This Sunday's game against the Chiefs isn't that different. At 4-3, Dallas is trying to stay on the right side of .500 and repair their season after three early losses. They're also staring up at a 7-1 Eagles team and needing to stay within reach to hopefully still win the NFC East.
Irony; having to go through another Andy Reid team to try to keep up with Philadelphia.
Cowboys Lost a Legend in First Meeting with Andy Reid
The history between the Cowboys and Andy Reid goes back to one of the worst moments in the rivalry between Dallas and Philadelphia. It was 1999, Reid's first season as Eagles head coach, and his first time meeting the Cowboys. Michael Irvin was driven head-first into the cheap, concrete-like turf of Veterans Stadium and suffered a career-ending neck injury.
Any of us who remember that game remember the cheers of Eagles fans at the sight of The Playmaker's misfortune. For me, it's why the Eagles will always be a notch above the Giants or Washington as my most-hated NFC East rival. That was the start of the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia, and the animosity never wavered.
Including that game, Andy Reid would win seven of his first eight meetings against the Cowboys. It was a bad time all around for Dallas, the last gasps of the 90s team and the struggles to transition to the next generation. It's easier to feel better about that in retrospect, but at the time it felt like Reid and the Eagles were almost personally responsible for keeping Dallas from getting off the ground.
Those early wins helped Reid's overall record against the Cowboys, which turned out to be just 17-12 during his time with the Eagles. He tacked on one more win in 2013, the last time the Chiefs played the Cowboys on their usual four-year rotation.
It's Been 4 Years Since the Cowboys and Chiefs Last Tangled
The Chiefs still have Alex Smith at QB, and he's having the best season of his life, but most of their offense has otherwise changed. The Cowboys have had even more changes, with only a handful players remaining from that team. Obviously, the key change is that these are now Dak Prescott's Cowboys.
Unfortunately, another of the Cowboys' newest faces likely won't be available. Ezekiel Elliott has lost his legal protection against his six-game suspension and currently stands to miss this game. His lawyers are trying to get an emergency hearing before the end of the week, but barring that, Zeke will not be part of the welcoming party for Andy Reid and the Chiefs.
This Matchup with Kansas City was Always Going to be Tough
They looked like one of the best teams in the NFL coming into this season and have validated that with a 6-2 start. Thankfully, the Cowboys will get them at home and on a short week as the Chiefs just played on Monday night.
Both teams have adversity to deal with, and both teams have head coaches who've proven capable of leading their teams over those hurdles. Andy Reid and Jason Garrett have gone back-and-forth as opposing head coaches, with Reid having the slight edge at 4-3 in their meetings.
Will Jason tie things up this Sunday? Will the Cowboys pick up a big win against a quality opponent, perhaps even without Ezekiel Elliott, or will this be another time that an Andy Reid team leaves Dallas fans depressed?