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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What the 49ers are to the 80′s, and the Patriots are to the 00′s in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys were to the 90′s.
The combination of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek on offense, along with a dominant offensive line and playmakers on defense, made for a Cowboys team that made it extra difficult to be an Eagles fan.
Eagles fans can take solace in one thing though, the ’91 Eagles defense was the best Aikman says he ever faced. Aikman answered the question on Twitter, Wednesday morning.
@TroyAikman: ’91 Philadelphia Eagles (#1 v Run; #1 v Pass; #1 Overall) RT @ToddMalcolm23: Who was the toughest defense u ever played against?
Though Aikman was being complimentary, the memory still brings some pain to Eagles fans. The 1991 team didn’t make the playoffs, as Randall Cunningham was injured in the first game of the season, when the Packers’ Bryce Paup landed on his knee. What followed under center for the Eagles included names like Jeff Kemp and Brad Goebel. Though the team didn’t make the playoffs, the fact that they finished with a record of 10-6 is a testament to the defense.
Along with being ranked #1 in standard football stats, the 1991 Eagles are the best in advanced statistics as well. Football Outsiders rank the defense as the best they’ve ever analyzed.
Aside from statistics, the names alone on the 1991 defense read like an All-Pro team. Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons, Eric Allen, and Seth Joyner highlight a list that also includes Willam Thomas, Byron Evans, Wes Hopkins and Andre Waters.