PHILADELPHIA – Nick Sirianni dipped once again into his seemingly endless T-shirt drawer and pulled out yet another beauty.
Last week, it was quarterback Jalen Hurts wearing sunglasses printed on the front.
On Thursday, the Eagles head coach wore one emblazoned with “Beat Dallas.”
The Eagles and Cowboys will go at it once again, and once again it will be in primetime. It seems that every year these two teams play at least one of their two matchups each season in primetime.
This one will be on Monday Night Football, the first time this one has been on a Monday since 2008 when the Eagles went to Dallas and lost a high-scoring affair, 41-37, in Week 2.
“I just know how heated the rivalry is,” said Sirianni. "It’s the rivalry that feels to me like, since I’ve been in the NFL the past 14 years, this is the one that feels most like the college rivalries, and that’s pretty special.”
Sirianni said that he still has a T-shirt from the turn of the century with his college rivalry scrawled on the front.
“I still have my Mount Union-John Carroll shirts from 2003,” he said, referring to his playing days at Mount Union and the big Division III rivalry with John Carroll.
“I love wearing those around. This feels the same way, so yeah, I’ll be wearing this all week. My kid’s got it, my wife has one, so yeah, we’ll be wearing them.”
T-shirts aside, the coach added that he is fully aware that clips of whatever happens in these games will be shown repeatedly as the years pass.
Sirianni has only been in Philadelphia for a few months after being hired in January, but he has made his rounds within the city, its suburbs, and the Jersey Shore.
“I can’t tell you how many times since I’ve been here when I’ve had an interaction with a fan where it’s, ‘Hey, beat Dallas,’” he said. “I think that’s really cool. I think that’s awesome. Really love the fact that I’m able to partake in this rivalry. It means a lot to the city, it means a lot to our team, and it means a lot to this building.”
Both teams are 1-1 in the early going of a 17-game season, with the Eagles are coming off a 17-11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and the Cowboys coming off a 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. 20-17, winning on a 56-yard field goal as time expired.
It will be Dallas’ home opener after starting the season with two straight road games, in L.A. and the season-opener at Tampa Bay.
So, this is a big game for many reasons, with one team that will move to 2-1, barring a tie, and the other falling to 1-2.
For the Eagles, a 1-2 record with the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs due into Philadelphia on a short week, would not be ideal.
As for the potential to give Dallas any kind of bulletin board material by wearing a shirt that promotes the rivalry, Sirianni isn’t worried.
“I’m sure they’ll have this shirt up, and that’s fine,” he said. “This is about a great rivalry that means a lot to this city, that means a lot to our building.
"It’s a division game, so with the rivalry and it being a division game I don’t know if anyone needs - our side, their side - needs any more bulletin board material or if it’s even going to help because we know how big the rivalry is and how much it means to both sides.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.