PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Eagles cornerback Darius Slay spent seven seasons with the Detroit Lions before he was traded to Philadelphia this past offseason. He was very used to NFC North rivalries between the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
Now, he’s discovering there’s something unique about “Dallas Week.”
“We took division games seriously,” Slay said Wednesday. “I feel this week is like a whole other feeling. I feel like it’s like either Super Bowl or die.”
Slay is getting that vibe from fans and teammates alike.
“Even in the locker room, everybody be around here yelling, ‘Cowboys Week. Cowboys Week.’ ”
Fellow defensive back Jalen Mills made sure Slay understood this intense rivalry.
“Me and Rodney (McLeod) kinda looked over to Slay and we like, ‘Hey man, it’s Dallas Week.’ He kinda looking like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I know.’ And we like, ‘Nah, like, it’s Dallas Week,’ ” Mills said.
“So, I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, y’all serious about this,’ ” Slay replied. “ ‘OK, let’s turn up then.’ ”
That has to be music to fans’ ears, who often express the same message to the Eagles ahead of a Cowboys showdown.
“My first day in Philly, I was out eating a cheesesteak and I remember I had a fan tell me my rookie year, ‘Man, I don’t care if y’all lose every game,’ ” Mills recalled, “ ‘as long as y’all beat Dallas twice a year, my year is made.’ ”
“I remember back in ’99 when I played here,” added head coach Doug Pederson, “fans are always like, ‘Hey, there’s two games every year that you really got to win, and it’s the two Dallas games.’ ”
And the 2-4-1 somehow first-place Eagles really need to beat this 2-5 Dallas team Sunday night because the present-day Cowboys are a mess — so much so that Cowboys legend Michael Irvin was brutally honest about them when speaking with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco earlier this week.
“I believe the Cowboys right now may be the worst team in the National League,” Irvin said.
And that’s despite the fact the New York Jets, who are in disarray in their own manner, are winless.
“Would you take the Cowboys over the Jets right now?” Irvin asked. “How can anybody pick the Cowboys at any time when you see what’s happening … especially what’s going on with that defense.”
The Cowboys defense is allowing 34.7 points per game.
“I don’t even know how to explain this,” Irvin continued. “This is just an all-time low for my Dallas Cowboys, and yeah, it hurts.”
Irvin thought “they were ready to be Super Bowl-bound,” but they’ve been “a super bust.”
He even double-downed on his disappointment as a guest of the WIP Morning Show on Thursday.
Merrill Reese, the Voice of the Eagles, shared an interesting perspective on Irvin’s pain.
“My reaction is really two things,” Reese said. “No. 1: Michael Irvin bleeds Cowboy Blue — whatever that is — and is just frustrated by what’s been going on with his former team. And No. 2: Michael Irvin is also clever enough to say something to try to stir up his old team.”
Sunday’s result is still to be determined, which is certain as the game gets closer. Really, there are few things in life quite like Dallas Week.