With all of the excitement this year surrounding the Eagles 2023 NFC Championship, Jalen Hurts’ contract extension, and the anniversary of the Eagles 2018 Super Bowl victory, Eagles fans have had little time celebrate the team’s 90th anniversary.
But before we commit one of our most sacred franchise to the retirement community with Salmon Saturday’s, Woodshop Wednesday’s, and daily Bingo Bonanza’s, let’s take a look at how we arrived here.
Is this really an opportunity for a short romp through the Eagles history? (that is a trick question, of course it is!)
The Eagles early years were well, not always so spectacular.
After all, we are the team who booed Santa Claus, packed AAA batteries into snowballs to adjust Jimmy Johnson’s hairpiece, and rented a plane to fly over Franklin Field with a banner urging the firing of Coach Joe Kuharich.
And merging with Pittsburgh to become the Steagles in 1943? Really?
Contrary to popular belief, the Eagles did not replace the Frankford Yellowjackets, but rather filled a vacancy when they left and Philadelphia was granted an expansion team.
It would be a decade before the Eagles would actually have a winning season. Their first franchise quarterback would take an FBI Field Agent job for $3,500.00 per year rather than take an extension with the team. After the Second World War, the Eagles with Tommy Thompson, Steve Van Buren, and Coach Earl “Grease” Neil would narrowly miss becoming a dynasty.
From 1950–1977, the Eagles almost singular bright spot was the 1960 World Championship at Franklin Field, defeating Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers in their only ever playoff loss.
When a young coach from UCLA came to the Eagles in 1976, everything changed. Vermeil would lead the Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl in 1981.
The Eagles would take us on a tremendous, wild ride.
In the 1980s, we saw bounty bowls, body-bag games, and houses of pain. We saw a ferocious Buddy-built Eagles defense that pulverized opposing offenses.
We saw Randall make five incredible, acrobatic plays per game.
We saw Leonard Tose attempt to sell and move our precious birds to Arizona.
We saw another great defense and a franchise quarterback named Donovan McNabb lead the Eagles to NFC Championship Game after NFC Championship Game in the mid-2000s.
We saw the Eagles almost win that championship in 2005, and McNabb get sick on the field. And then TO letting us know that McNabb got sick on the field.
We saw Chip Kelly’s incredible speed offense that not only exhausted NFL defenses but also his own.
And a Philly-Special that helped propel the Eagles to win their first ever Super Bowl over Tom Brady and the Patriots. We even have Nick Foles and Doug Pederson in a bronze statue in South Philly outside of Lincoln Financial Field.
Really it’s there.
There are a couple of honorable mentions that need to be included while making this trip through Eagles history. The man who created the first vision for the Eagles was Bert Bell. Through nearly a decade of hard times, Bell never game up on his vision of an Eagles franchise that was loved by not just for Frankford but by all of Philadelphia as well as the Philadelphia region.
We should have put him on Shark Tank.
In the beginning he answered the phone and sold tickets for the team. But he never gave up on his dream or his vision.
And then we have perhaps one of the most disliked men in Philadelphia right now, former Coach Andy Reid. He took an Eagles franchise down in the dumps and brought it back to prominence. For nearly a decade under his leadership, the Eagles were consistently at the top of the NFC.
What is the best part of our 90-year Eagles?
That is easy, it’s right now.
This generation of Eagles fans is witnessing one of the best times in Philadelphia Eagles history. They’ve seen the Eagles win the NFC last season with one of the best quarterbacks in the league who hasn’t even begun to reach his full potential yet. And they’ve seen a dream that every generation has had before us, watching an Eagles Championship Parade down Broad Street.
The next great telling of the history of the Philadelphia Eagles will come from this young generation of Eagles fans who no doubt doesn’t know how good they have it.
Bert Bell would be proud. Somewhere, he definitely is.