The city has won a scrimmage with the Eagles on a hotly debated $8 million tab that the city has been trying to collect from the team.

Yesterday, a Common Pleas Court judge ruled that the Eagles do owe the city $8 million for the share of skybox revenue they had promised to the city in exchange for a break the city gave the team, which, in 1985, was struggling financially.

(Today, the team is worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.)

But the 2001 deadline for the payment came and went, and the Eagles didn't pay. They in turn claimed the city owed them money for canceling an exhibition game, and that made them essentially even.

All this became a hot topic again in the fall, on the heels of Mayor Nutter's proposed closing of 11 libraries to save $8 million.

Yesterday's court decision doesn't end the game; next week, a judge is to rule on how much the city owes the Eagles for the canceled game.

Whatever the outcome, separate decisions is the right way to go.

The sooner this mess gets resolved, the better. We're sure the Eagles and their fans agree. *