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EXCERPT | Jan. 11, 1981
Champs At Last
Exorcising 20 years of demons, Philly crushed Dallas
Playing for their first championship in more than 20 years—since quarterback Norm Van Brocklin led them to victory over the Packers in the 1960 NFL title game—the long-suffering Eagles ran roughshod over the Cowboys when the two teams met for the NFC crown on Jan. 11, 1981. Steve Wulf reported from Philadelphia.
The Eagles won because they reintroduced to football what nostalgia freaks may remember as "the ground game"—the same type of offense that the Oakland Raiders would use to down San Diego's Chargers later in the day—and then put a defense on the field that Dallas quarterback Danny White called "a brick wall."
They won because Wilbert Montgomery, who was supposed to play this game in a wheelchair, ran for 194 yards, only two short of the NFL playoff record set in 1949 by the Eagles' own Steve Van Buren, who dropped by the locker room to congratulate Montgomery on his effort. On the Eagles' second play from scrimmage, Montgomery cut back off right tackle and went 42 yards untouched for a touchdown. He broke another one for 55 yards in the fourth quarter; he could have gone farther, but he had to pull up because he had a sore knee. All week long Montgomery was hardly able to work out with his teammates because of a bruised left leg, and without him the Eagles are, well, no yards and no cloud of dust. Without Montgomery, Philly would be on vacation right now, not packing for New Orleans.
The Eagles did not fare so well against the Raiders in Super Bowl XV, falling behind early and rushing for just 69 yards in a 27--10 loss.
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