Dallas Cowboys

Great Moments In Cowboys-Eagles History: Bounty Bowl I & II

Back in 1989, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson’s first foray into NFL action was a memorable and awful experience that ultimately helped shape a team that would win three Super Bowls in a four year span.

During the ’89 season, Johnson’s Cowboys ran into Buddy Ryan’s Eagles on Thanksgiving Day in Texas Stadium.

The Eagles released Luis Zendejas after eight games in ’89 because of his inconsistent play. After only hitting 9 of 15 field goals for Philly, he signed with Dallas just in time for Thanksgiving.

According to Johnson, the Eagles placed a $200 bounty on Zendejas and a $500 price tag on Aikman prior to their Thanksgiving game. Any Eagles player that eliminated them from the game would be financially compensated for their effort.

Eagles linebacker Jessie Small presumably cashed in after knocking Zendejas silly once the Dallas kicker dove at his knees.

This sequence led to the classic postgame presser from Johnson where he said Ryan took his “big-fat rear end” to the dressing room.

The attached clip is from an NFL Today feature in ’89 featuring Johnson, Ryan’s awesome response, and then as a bonus, Mike Ditka’s comments regarding the incident.

Then Chicago’s head coach, Ditka addressed rumors regarding a bounty placed on his head by Philadelphia during an Eagles/Bears Monday night meeting from earlier in the season. In typical Iron Mike fashion, he stated no Eagle (or coach) was tough enough to cash in on the bounty.

The Bounty Bowl rematch took place a quick two weeks later in Philadelphia. Eagles fans greeted the Cowboys with boos – and snowballs.

Also feeling the wrath of Philadelphia were CBS broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw, who were there to handle announcing duties for the telecast.

Obviously, Lundquist, the former radio voice of the Cowboys, was none too pleased.

The Eagles won their two meetings versus Dallas in ’89 by the combined score of 47-10.

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