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No Love: Steelers Haven’t Beaten Eagles in Philadelphia Since 1965

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The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to do something on Sunday that they haven’t accomplished since the mid-1960s — beat the Eagles in Philadelphia.

You have to go all the way back to Oct. 24, 1965, to the last time the Steelers beat the Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love. It was a 20-14 win for Pittsburgh at Franklin Field. With the Eagles being in the NFC, the Steelers have only played in Philadelphia nine times since 1965, but the losses are usually brutal. Out of all the road destinations in the NFL, Philly has been the most troublesome for the Steelers. It just seems like unusual things happen whenever the Steelers travel to the eastern part of the Commonwealth.

The losses at Lincoln Financial Field in 2016 and 2008 first come to mind. In 2016, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz led the Eagles to a 34-3 win over the Steelers. At the time, the 31-point loss was the largest defeat in the Mike Tomlin era. Wentz completed 23 of 31 passes (74.2%) for 301 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 125.9. In contrast, Roethlisberger had a dreadful performance, completing 24 of 44 passes (54.5%) for 257 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 62.4.

In 2008, Ben Roethlisberger got sacked a career-high nine times in a 15-6 loss to the Eagles. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson masterminded a perfect defensive game plan, as the Eagles held the Steelers to only 14 first downs and 180 total yards of offense. The Steelers were also an abysmal 2 of 13 on third down. The Steelers were out-scored 49-9 in the two games. These were not bad Steelers teams, either. Pittsburgh made it to the AFC Championship Game in 2016 and they won the Super Bowl in 2008.

The defending Super Bowl champion Steelers lost to the Eagles, 17-14, in 1979 at Veterans Stadium. The Steelers finished the regular season with a 12-4 record and won Super Bowl XIV, while the Eagles went 11-5 and lost in the Divisional Round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Eagles went to the Super Bowl in 1980 but lost to the Oakland Raiders.

The most notorious game that displayed the Steelers’ frustrations in Philadelphia came in 1969. It was Joe Greene’s first loss of his career, and he was livid about it. With the Steelers losing by a couple of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, Greene became so frustrated that the officials weren’t calling any holding penalties against Philadelphia that he grabbed the ball before the Eagles’ center could snap it, threw it into the stands, and stomped off the field. At that moment, Dan Rooney, the son of Steelers founder Art Rooney, knew they had something special in Greene.

“I said to my father, ‘This guy is special. If he’s that intense that he’s going to do something like that, we’ve got a guy that we want,'” Rooney said.

Greene regretted throwing the ball into the stands, but Rooney brought it up 13 years later when Greene revealed that he was retiring.

“Flash forward 13 years: I’m back in his office, telling him that I want to retire after so many great seasons with the Steelers. And he sits back and says, ‘Joe, remember that game in your rookie year when you threw the ball into the stands?'” Greene said. “And I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness. Thirteen years have gone by and he never said a word about this.’ And then he said, ‘Joe, I felt the same way you did.'”

The last time the Eagles started a season 6-0 was in 2004. Their first loss came against the Steelers in Week 9, who were led by rookie Ben Roethlisberger. Could history repeat itself on Sunday with Kenny Pickett? The Steelers’ history in Philadelphia suggests that it would be an absolute miracle.

Below are the nine consecutive losses by the Steelers in Philadelphia.

Dec. 4, 1966: 27-23 loss at Franklin Field
Oct. 1, 1967: 34-24 loss at Franklin Field
Sept. 28, 1969: 34-24 loss at Franklin Field
Dec. 20, 1970: 30-20 loss at Franklin Field
Sept. 30, 1979: 17-14 loss at Veterans Stadium
Sept. 22, 1991: 23-14 loss at Veterans Stadium
Nov. 23, 1997: 23-20 loss at Veterans Stadium
Sept. 21, 2008: 15-6 loss at Lincoln Financial Field
Sept. 25, 2016: 34-3 loss at Lincoln Financial Field

The Steelers have won at Lincoln Financial Field, a preseason victory in 2021 after a second-half comeback by Dwayne Haskins.