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Philadelphia Eagles History


1933 Frankford Yellowjackets' franchise in the NFL awarded to syndicate headed by Bert Bell and Lud Wray for $2,500. Club named "Eagles in honor of the symbol of the New Deal's National Recovery Act. Eagles and Chicago Bears play in Philadelphia's first game on November 12 at Baker Bowl.
1935 General Manager Bert Bell proposes an annual college draft to equalize talent in the league. Proposal is adopted on May 19 for the 1936 season.
1936 Eagles have first choice in the inaugural college draft and select Jay Berwanger from University of Chicago. He was never signed. Bell becomes sole owner of the Eagles with $4,00 bid. Playing site is changed from Baker Bowl to Municipal Stadium.
1939 Davey O'Brien, from Texas Christian, signs with the Eagles for a reported $12,000 per year salary and a percentage of the gate.
1940 Eagles moved to Shibe Park (later known as Connie Mack Stadium) for home games. Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Art Rooney, buys half interest in the Eagles after selling the Steelers franchise to Alexis Thompson, heir to a six million dollar fortune in steel stocks.
1941 Bell and Rooney swap franchises with Thompson. The new owner hires Earl (Greasy) Neale as the new head coach of the Eagles.
1943 Eagles merge with he Steelers to form the "Stealges" because of shortage of players due to World War II. Merger ends at completion of season. Team ends with record of 5 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie for a third place finish.
1944 Steve Van Buren, Eagles top pick in the draft, debuts as halfback. Team finishes with a 7-1-2 record for second place finish.
1945 Team finishes season with 7-3 record, but leads the league in offense. Van Buran was the leading rusher in the NFL with 838 yards. He finishes with 110 points as the NFL leading scorer.
1946 Once again, the team finishes with 6-5 record for third straight season.
1947 Philadelphia Eagles go to the NFL Championship Game, but lose to the Chicago Cardinals. It mark their first time in the Championship game.
1948 Eagles win their first NFL Championship, by beating the Chicago Cardinals, 7-0 in a blinding snowstorm.
1949 Thompson sells the team to 100 buyers, each of whom paid $3,000 for one of the 100 shares. They are called the "Happy Hundred" or the "100 Brothers". Their leader was James P. Clark, a Philadelphia sportsman and business executive, and the 100 investors included Leonard Tose. Vince McNally is named general manager. University of Pennsylvania All-American center-linebacker Chuck Bednarik is first round draft choice of the Eagles.
1950 Eagles win third straight Eastern Division title and defend their NFL championship with a 14-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. This was the first time a team won back-to-back championship with shutouts (and the only time to date). Team finishes with overall record of 12-1.
1951 Alvin (Bo) McMillan replaces Greasy Neale as head coach after a 6-6 season. McMillan becomes ill the night before the season opener and is replaced by Wayne Milner. End-placekicker Bobby Watson is named rookie of the year.
1952 Jim Trimble replaces Wayne Milner as head coach. Team rides strong defense to 7-5 record and second place finish.
1953 Bobby Thompson and Adrian Burk combine to pass for a league-high 3,089 yards. Pete Pihos catches 63 passes for 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead the league. Eagles finish in second place and snap Cleveland's 11-game winning streak with 42-27 win in season finale.
1954 Bobby Walston leads league in scoring with 114 points. Eagles finish with 7-4-1 record and another second place finish.
1955 Pihos again leads all NFL receivers with 62 catches for 864 yards. Joseph A. Donoghue, Eagles' vice president/secretary, is elected assistant treasurer of the NFL.
1956 Hugh Devore replaces Jim Trimble as head coach of the Eagles.
1957 Rookie quarterback Sonny Jurgensen highlights a 4-8 season by passing Eagles to a 17-7 upset of the NFL Eastern Division champion Cleveland Browns.
1958 Buck Shaw signs as head coach replacing Hugh Devore. Eagles acquire quarterback Norm Van Brocklin in trade with Los Angeles. Team moves home games from Connie Mack Stadium to University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field and attendance almost doubles.
1959 With Pete Retzlaff and Tommy McDonald his chief targets, Norm Van Brocklin passes Eagles to 7-5 record and second place tie with the Cleveland Browns.
1960 QB Norm Van Brocklin and Chuck Bednarik, who plays 60 minutes at center and linebacker, pace the Eagles to their first Eastern Division title in 11 years. The Birds then win their third NFL Championship wit a come-from-behind 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Franklin Field. Van Brocklin, the league's MVP, and head coach Buck Shaw both announce their retirements at the end of the season.
1961 Nick Skorich replaces Buck Shaw as head coach and Sonny Jurgensen takes over at quarterback. Despite Jurgensen's record-setting season as a passer and a 10-4 record, the Eagles fail to repeat as division champions.
1962 Injuries in unprecedented numbers hit the Eagles as the team wins only three games and falls to last place.
1963 RB Timmy Brown sets a then NFL record for total offense (2, 436 yards; 841 rushing; 487 receiving, 11 passing, 945 kickoff returns, and 152 punt returns) in a season. With the club's outstanding shares now held by 65 stockholders, club president Frank L. McNamee said it would be put up for sale with an asking price of $4,500,000. Jerry Wolman, a 36-year old builder and self-made millionaire from Washington outbid Philadelphia businessman Jack Wolgin and became the new owner. The sale price was $5,505,000.
1964 Former Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins coach Joe Kuharich signs as head coach and begins a series of major trades to rebuild the club.
1966 After extensive roster changes, the Eagles finish 9-5 for their first winning season in five years.
1967 Quarterback Norm Snead and flanker Ben Hawkins set team passing and receiving records, respectively, but injuries to other key players contribute to a disappointing 6-7-1 record and a second place finish.
1969 After Wolman's empire fell into serious financial trouble, a bankruptcy referee in U.S. District Court in Baltimore oversees the team's sale to Leonard Tose, a millionaire trucking executive. The price was a reported $16.1 million, at the time a record price for a professional sports team. Tose names former Eagles' receiving great Pete Retzlaff as general manager and Jerry Williams as head coach.
1971 The Eagles leave Franklin Field for a new home at Veterans Stadium. After three consecutive losses at the beginning of the season, assistant Ed Khayat replaces Jerry Williams (who had led the club to only a 3-20-1 mark in 1970) as head coach.
1972 After a stormy 2-11-1 season, Tose accepts general manager Retzlaff's resignation and releases the entire coaching staff. A bright spot, however, is Harold jackson who leads the NFL in receptions and receiving yards (62-1,048).
1973 Under new coach Mike McCormick and new quarterback Roman Gabriel, the Eagles have an exciting offensive season but can muster only a 5-8-1 record. In his first year as a full-time receiver, Harold Carmichael becomes the second consecutive Eagle to lead the NFL in receptions (67).
1974 Under newly appointed general manager Jim Murray, the Eagles trade with Cincinnati and acquire LB Bill Bergey. Bergey bolsters the defense and wins Pro Bowl honors along with Charlie Young, who becomes the third consecutive Eagle to lead the league in pass receptions (63).
1976 After a 4-10 season in 1975, Tose appoints 39-year old Dick Vermeil of UCLA as head coach but the Birds again earn a 4-10 mark. Bergey wins All--NFC and Pro Bowl recognition.
1977 QB Ron Jaworski is obtained from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for the rights to TE Charlie Young. Bill Bergey, keying the newly-installed 3-4 defense of coordinator Marion Campbell, wins all-pro and all-conference honors and is selected to play in his third Pro Bowl. The Birds show improvement on the field but earn only one more victory than the previous season.
1978 The Eagles post a 9-7 record, their first winning season since 1966, and make the playoffs for the first time since 1960. They lose the NFC Wild Card playoff game in Atlanta, however, 14-13 as the Falcons score two 4th quarter TDs and Eagles Mike Michel misses a 34-yard FG try with 1:34 to play. Wilbert Montgomery, in his first starting season, rushes for 1,220 yards to become the first Eagle since Steve Van Buren to surpass 1,000 in a season. CB Herman Edwards provided the "Miracle of the Meadowlands" when he scooped up a fumbled handoff from Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka and raced 26 yards for the winning touchdown with 20 seconds left to play before a stunned Giants Stadium crowd of 70,318.
1979 With an 11-5 regular season record--their best since 1961--the Eagles tie Dallas for first place in the NFC East and go to the playoffs as a wild card team. After beating Chicago, 27-27, in the Wild Card Game, the Birds are upset at Tampa Bay, 24-17 in a divisional playoff round. Wilbert Montgomery sets a club record with 1,512 rushing yards, and Harold Carmichael sets a then NFL record on Nov. 4, catching a pass in his 106th consecutive game. Rookie barefoot kicker Tony Franklin boots the second longest FG in NFL history--59 yards--in a 31-21 win at Dallas. Dick Vermeil is voted NFL Coach of the Year.
1980 The Eagles win 11 of their first 12 games and go on to a 12-4 mark and the NFC East championship. The Birds trounce Minnesota 31-16, in the divisional playoff round and then upend Dallas, 20-7 at Veterans Stadium, to win the NFC title and a berth in Super Bowl XV. The Oakland Raiders prevail in that game, however, 27-10. Ron Jaworski leads the NFC with a 90.9 passing rating while throwing for 3,527 yards and 27 touchdowns. His is named NFL Player of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club and NFC Player of the Year by UPI. Harold Carmichael's then-record NFL receiving streak is snapped at 127 games when he fails to catch a pass in the regular season finale at Dallas after sustaining a back injury in the first half.
1981 After building a 6-0 record early in the season, the Birds struggle in their final eight games, post a 10-6 record and appear in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, but are upset at home in the NFC Wild Card Game by the NY Giants, 27-21. The Birds' defense ranks first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed (4,447) and fewest points allowed (221). On offense, Harold Carmichael enjoys the third 1,000-yard receiving year of his career and Wilbert Montgomery rushes for 1,402 yards.
1982 An NFL players' strike takes place after two games and stops play for eight weeks. When play resumes on November 21, the long layoff hurts the Eagles. After splitting the first two games of the season, the Birds come back from the strike to lose four in a row and miss the playoff for the first time since 1977. A 24-20 Eagles victory at Dallas on December 26 is the last victory in the Philadelphia career of head coach Dick Vermeil, who resigns shortly following the season after sompiling a 56-51-0 overall record.
1983 Marion Campbell replaces Dick Vermeil as head coach after six seasons as the defensive coordinator. Owner and president Leonard Tose announces in January that his daughter, Susan Fletcher, the Eagles vice president and legal counsel, would eventually succeed him as primary owner of the Eagles. After winning four of their first 6 games, the Eagles become mired in a seven-game losing streak and finish with a 5-11 record. The Birds' offense is highlighted by first-team all-pro and AFC-NFC Pro Bowl selection Mike Quick, who leads the league and sets club records with 1,409 yards receiving on 69 catches.
1984 After a 1-4 start, the Eagles post a 5-5-1 record of their final 11 games. Philadelphia's swarming defense sets a then club record of 60 quarterback sacks and is the catalyst for the team's improved play. Wilbert Montgomery establishes the Eagles' career rushing record for yards (6,538) and attempts (1,465) surpassing Steve Van Buren from 1944-1951. Kicker Paul McFadden establishes an Eagles' season scoring record with 116 points (tops among rookies), surpassing Bobby Walston's 30-year mark of 114, and is named NFC Rookie of the Year. Ron Jaworski suffers a broken leg at St. Louis in week 13, snapping his streak of 116 consecutive starts (believed to be an all-time record for NFL quarterbacks). Mike Quick is selected to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl for the second straight year.
1985 On March 12, Leonard Tose, the Eagles owner since 1969, announces an agreement to sell the team to Norman Braman and Ed Leibowitz, highly successful automobile dealers from Florida for a reported $65 million. After obtaining the approval of the other NFL owners and fulfilling the terms of the transaction, Braham officially becomes the Eagles' new owner on April 29. That same day, Braham elevates Harry Gamble, general manager since February 4, to vice president-general manager overseeing day-to-day operations of the club. All-time Eagles rushing leader Wilbert Montgomery does not report to camp and is traded to Detriot for LB Garry Cobb in the preseason. The Eagles again overcome a 1-4 start, but falloff the pace and finish 7-9. Head coach Marion Campbell is released on December 16, and Fred Bruney takes over as interim head coach for the final game at Minnesota. Mike Quick, who catches 71 passes to break his own club season record, and Wes Hopkins represent Philadelphia in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.
1986 Buddy Ryan, defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears' Super Bowl XX Champions, is named the 17th head coach in Eagles history on January 29. On July 16, Norman Braham becomes the sole owner of the team, purchasing the remaining 35 percent from his brother-in-law Ed Leibowitz. Harry Gamble is promoted to president-chief operating officer. Ryan makes sweeping changes in the Eagles; roster, keeping young players and releasing several veterans. The youthful Birds struggle to a 5-10-1 record against the toughest schedule in the league. The Birds place two players on the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl roster: WR Mike Quick and DE Reggie White. White ties a Pro Bowl record with 4 sacks and is named MVP of the game.
1987 In March, Ron Jaworski, who set nearly every club passing record </FONT>from 1977-1986, is put on waivers after the club decides not to guarantee his contract. The Eagles split their first two games of the season before the NFL was beset by a players strike. After all games of Week 3 were cancelled, the NFL resumed play with replacement teams for the next three weeks. The Birds' replacement team goes 0-3 and sets the stage for a surge by the regular players when they return to work. Philadelphia's regulars proceed to win three straight after the strike and move into a tie for 2nd place in the NFC East. They go on to finish 7-8 overall (7-5 in non-strike games) and due to a tie-breaking system, rank 4th in the NFC East behind Dallas and St. Louis who also posted 7-8 marks. Offensively, WR Mike Quick earns his fifth consecutive trip to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl while QB Randall Cunningham (Pro Bowl 1st alternate) emerges as a rising talent. Cunningham threw 23 TD passes and became the first QB to lead his team in rushing (505 yards) since the Bears' Bobby Douglas did so in 1972. The defense was led by DE Reggie White, who was named the NFL's defensive player of the year. White's 21 sacks set an NFC record and fall one shy of the NFL mark.
1988 The Eagles' 1988 highlight film was appropriately titled "Living on the Edge," as the Birds took a number of games down to the wire en route to a 10-6 record and the NFC Eastern division title. Under third-year head coach Buddy Ryan, the Eagles post the NFL's best mark (6-1) over the final seven weeks of the regular season. But their playoff fate is not sealed until moments after the conclusion of their 23-7 victory at Dallas in week 16. It is then that N.Y. Jets' QB Ken O'Brien throws a TD pass to Al Toon to defeat the Giants and ensure the division title for the Eagles. Philadelphia then travels to Chicago for an NFC divisional playoff game against the Bears and a place in NFL history. The game, which begins in sunny, 29 degree weather, would later be dubbed "The Fog Bowl," after a thick fog rolls off Lake Michigan late in the 2nd quarter. Due to the fog, visibility on the playing field was extremely difficult and the Bears prevail, 20-12. The shining season included the selection of QB Randall Cunningham, DE Reggie White and TE Keith Jackson as starters in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl. Cunningham, who sets a number of Eagles' single-season passing records and leads the club in rushing for the second straight season, earns Pro Bowl MVP honors. He also wins the Maxwell Football Club's Bert Bell Award as the NFL's top player. White leads the NFL in sacks for the second consecutive year and Jackson sets an Eagles' receiving record with 81 catches en route to earning rookie of the year honors from The Sporting News.
1989 The Eagles used an aggressive, ball-hungry defense -- which led the NFL in takeaways (56) and interceptions (30), and set a team record with 62 QB sacks -- to improve their regular season record to 11-5. Philadelphia, however, finished second to the Giants in the NFC East (despite two victories in head-to-head competition) and faced the LA Rams in the Wild Card playoff. Although playing a post-season game at Veterans Stadium for the first time since 1981, the Birds fell 21-7. QB Randall Cunningham posted similar numbers to his superb '88 campaign despite missing receivers Mike Quick and Keith Jackson for most of the season due to injuries. A deeper loss came on December 9, when quarterback coach Doug Scovil passed away. The second alternate to the Pro Bowl, Cunningham started for the NFC squad when injuries kept the other QBs from participating. He was joined by Reggie White, Eric Allen (who led the NFC in interceptions with 8), and Jackson.
1990 In February, Buddy Ryan hired Rich Kotite as offensive coordinator to improve the Eagles' sluggish attack. At season's end, the offense led the NFL in rushing (2,556) and time of possession (33:19) and the NFC in scoring (396) and TD passes (34). On the other side of the ball the defense led the NFL in stopping the run (1, 169), thereby making the Birds the first team to lead the league in both rushing categories since Chicago did so in 1985. A 10-6 record put Philadelphia in the playoffs once again, but the Eagles suffered their third opening round defeat in as many seasons. The 20-6 Wild Card Game loss to Washington signaled an end to the five-year Ryan era. On January 8, 1991, owner Norman Braman announced that Ryan would not be offered a new contract. On the same day, he elevated Kotite to the head coaching position noting that it was time for the Eagles "to reach the next plateau." Under Kotite, QB Randall Cunningham flourished with an NFC-leading 30 TD passes, 942 rushing yards, and a selection to the Pro Bowl while rookie WRs Calvin Williams and Fred Barnett combined to make 17 TD receptions. TE Keith Jackson, DE Reggie White, and DT Jerome Brown also earned Pro Bowl berths but RB Keith Byars, who tied a team record with 81 receptions and also threw 4 TD passes, was overlooked.
1991 On January 8th, team owner Norman Braman opted not to renew the contract of Buddy Ryan, the Eagles' head coach since 1986. On the same day, Braman promoted then-offensive coordinator Rich Kotite to the vacant position, thus making him the 18th had coach in club history. When the Season began, the Eagles opened with a 3-1 mark, their best start since 1981, despite having lost quarterback Randall Cunningham for the year due to a knee injury suffered at Green Bay on opening day. But after coming on to lead the Eagles to their solid start, backup QB Jim McMahon was also injured in game 5. With McMahon sidelined for nearly three straight games, the Birds suffered through a four-game losing streak. By midseason, Philadelphia had used five quarterbacks in eight games and seen its record sink to 3-5. The Eagles regrouped, however, and surged into contention for a playoff spot with a six-game winning streak (the club's longest since the start of '81) that upped their record to 9-5. And while a loss at home to Dallas in game 15 ended Philadelphia's remarkable run for the playoffs, the Birds finished the season with a stirring come-from-behind, 24-22 victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion Redskins. With a record of 10-6, the Eagles finished third in the NFC East behind Washington and Dallas and joined the 49ers as the only NFL clubs to post 10 -or-more wins in each of the last four years. And despite missing the playoffs for the first time in four years, Philadelphia proved to be one of the NFL's hottest clubs, winning seven of its last eight games. Said Braman of Kotite's ability to rally the Birds in the second half of the season despite all the injuries at quarterback, "Richie has been a great leader. He kept the team together when everybody had written us off." Another catalyst during this stretch run was a defensive unit that finished the season ranked number one in the NFL in terms of fewest yards allowed overall, vs. the run, and vs. the pass. As such, the Birds became only the fifth club in NFL history and the first since 1975 to accomplish this rare triple. In addition, the Eagles' defense led the NFL in quarterback sacks and fumble recoveries, and tied New Orleans for the league lead in overall takeaways. Five members of that defensive unit represented the Eagles in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl - DEs Reggie White and Clyde Simmons, DT Jerome Brown, and LB Seth Joyner were selected as starters while CB Eric Allen also made the NFC squad. The selection of White, Simmons, and Brown marked only the sixth time in NFL history that three defensive linemen from one team were elected to the Pro Bowl. The offense was led by WR Fred Barnett (62-948-4TDs receiving), multi-talented RB Keith Byars (62 receptions and 383 rushing yards), and QBs Jim McMahon and Jeff Kemp. McMahon was 8-3 as a starter after taking over for Cunningham; Kemp came on in relief of an injured McMahon three times and twice led the Birds to comeback victories while also compiling a 1-1 mark as a starter in the final two games.
1992 The Eagles were dealt the cruelest of blows before the '92 season even began when all-pro defensive tackle Jerome Brown was killed in an automobile accident on June 25th in his hometown of Brooksville, FL. The tragedy overshadowed the promise of the upcoming season which included the return of QB Randall Cunningham - out almost the entire '91 season with a knee injury - as well as the addition of RB Herschel Walker whom the Eagles acquired as a free agent just three days before Brown's death. A team that had gone through five different quarterbacks in the first eight games of '91 again began the season facing adversity. The Birds, however, got out of the blocks quickly in their second season under head coach Rich Kotite, as they opened with 4 straight wins. Keys to that success were Walker, who topped the 100-yard rushing mark in each of the first two games and Cunningham, the NFC's offensive player of the month for September. Midway through the season, however, the offense struggled and the defense suffered several key injuries, particularly to starting safeties Andre Waters, who broke his leg in game five, and Wes Hopkins, who was bothered by a recurring knee injury for most of the season's second half. Despite these obstacles, the Birds finished second in the NFC East with an 11-5 regular season record. In addition, the team returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence and earned a Wild Card victory over the Saints in New Orleans before dropping the Divisional Playoff to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. The win over the Saints was the team's first postseason victory since 1981 and its first road playoff conquest since 1949. Offensively, Walker became only the fourth Eagle ever to top 1,000 rushing yards in a season and the first since Earnest Jackson did it in '85. While the defense slipped from its '91 number one ranking across the board, DEs Reggie White and Clyde Simmons and CB Eric Allen each earned Pro Bowl berths as did WR Fred Barnett. Off the field in '93, a September 24th ruling by U.S. District Judge David Doty paved the way for free agency in the NFL by finding the league's "Plan B" policy in violation of federal antitrust laws and provided the four plaintiffs in the suit with an opportunity to sign with another club. Among those four was Eagles TE Keith Jackson, who four days later inked a deal with the Miami Dolphins.
1993 In January, lawyers for the NFL and the Players Association reached agreement on a Collective Bargaining Agreement, a seven-year deal that would institute a form of limited free agency to replace the "Plan B" system. The most prominent NFL player affected by the settlement was the Eagles' all-time sack leader Reggie White, who went on to sign with the Green Bay Packers on April 5th. On the field, the Eagles' injury-riddled, roller-coaster 1993 campaign produced an 8-8 record. Despite injuries to key personnel throughout the season, head coach Rich Kotite kept his troops playing hard right through their overtime victory over the playoff-bound 49ers at San Francisco in the season finale. After a flying start in which the Birds jumped out to a 4-0 record on the strength of three consecutive dramatic come-from-behind wins, season-ending injuries to QB Randall Cunningham, Pro Bowl WR Fred Barnett and others were followed by a six-game losing streak. Despite suffering their worst skid since 1983, the resilient Eagles bounced back behind the fine play of backup QB Bubbly Brisker to win 4 of their final 6 contests -- a stretch that kept them in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season. Despite having been dealt the league's most difficult schedule (in terms of opponent's '92 records), and despite the rash of injuries, the Eagles were in nearly every game, including the three against the Super Bowl XL foes - Dallas twice and Buffalo once - in which they had opportunities to win in the final quarter. The Birds were represented at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii by CB Eric Allen and LB Seth Joyner.
1994 A new chapter in Philadelphia Eagle history began on April 6th as Norman Braman, the Birds' owner since 1985, reached an agreement in principle to sell the franchise to Boston native and Hollywood-based movie producer Jeffrey Lure. Once NFL owners voted to approve the sale on May 6th, Lure officially took over the club on May 17. Not only were there new faces in the front office, there were many new faces on the field as well as the Eagles, particularly the defense, sported many veteran acquisitions such as DEs William Fuller, Burt Grossman, and Greg Townsend, safeties Greg Jackson and Michael Zordich, LB Bill Romanowski, and K Eddie Murray. Despite losing the season opener to the Giants, the new-look Birds bounced back to soar through the first half of the season, winning 7 of their next 8 contests, including a 40-8 thumping of the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. However, the club went on to drop their last 7 games, finishing 7-9 and out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Two days after the season finale, Rich Kotite's 4-year reign as head coach of the Birds ended when he was relieved of his duties. Despite the dismal ending to a one-time promising campaign, several Eagles provided memorable performances throughout the year. RB Herschel Walker etched his name into the NFL record books as he became the first player in the 75-year history of the league to record a 90-plus yard run, reception, and kickoff return in a single season. To appreciate the uniqueness of this feat, note that only one other player - Hall-of-Farmer Bobby Mitchell - had previously recorded that trifecta in a career. With back-to-back 100-plus yd. rushing performances at SF and vs. Wash, rookie RB Charlie Garner became only the 7th back in NFL history to eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark in his first two contests. Fuller, a free agent acquisition from Houston, notched at least one sack in 7 straight games and subsequently broke the club record of 6 consecutive games shared by Reggie White and Clyde Simmons. Fuller and CB Eric Allen represented the Eagles in the Pro Bowl.
1995 Perhaps the biggest personnel move of the year came long before the season ever started. That move came on February 2, 1995, when owner Jeffrey Lurie named Ray Rhodes as the 19th head coach in team history. Eleven months and a playoff victory later, that decision resulted in numerous NFL coach of the year honors for Rhodes. In just his first season at the helm, the former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator battled through major roster turnover, a slew of injuries to key personnel, an early season QB change, and a sluggish 1-3 start to put the Eagles back on the winning track. Following that 1-3 start, Rodney Peete took over at QB for Randall Cunningham and the Birds rode the legs of running backs Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner to 9 wins in their final 12 games. Philadelphia's defense also chipped in with 48 sacks (second best in the league). The result was a 10-6 record and a spot in the playoffs as the NFC's top Wild Card team. Watters, one of the NFL's most prominent free agent acquisitions of the year (he left the 49ers for the Eagles on 3/25/95), combined with Garner to give Philadelphia the league's fourth best rushing attack. Individually, Watters was sixth in the league in rushing with a career-high 1,273 yards and 11 TDs while the lightning quick Garner added 588 yards and 6 TDs. In games 14-15, the Eagles knocked off division rivals Dallas and Arizona to clinch the club's first playoff berth since 1992. In the postseason, the Eagles routed the favored Detroit Lions, 58-37, in a Wild Card game, putting their name firmly in the NFL's postseason record books as they mounted a 51-7 lead and coasted to victory. Philadelphia's season, however, came to a close eight days later as they bowed out to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys, 30-11, at Texas Stadium. At season's end, Watters, DE William Fuller (an NFC-high 13 sacks), and LB William Thomas (whose 7 interceptions were the most by an NFL linebacker since 1983) represented the Eagles in the Pro Bowl. DT Andy Harmon and a pair of rookies, CB Bobby Taylor and punter Tom Hutton, also received numerous honors. Off the field, team owner Jeffrey Lurie and his wife, Christina, oversaw the formation of Eagles Youth Partnership (EYP). The charitable wing of the Eagles, EYP was formed in order to improve the quality of life and enhance opportunities for children in the greater Philadelphia region through education and health partnerships.
1996 The 1996 season marked the second consecutive year in which the Eagles compiled a 10-6 regular season record and earned a Wild Card playoff berth. As such, Ray Rhodes became the first coach to lead the Eagles into the playoffs in each of his first two seasons at the helm. Philadelphia's playoff dance did not last long, however, as the Eagles fell to the host San Francisco 49ers, 14-0, in rain drenched 3Com Park. For the third time in six seasons, the Eagles lost their starting quarterback to injury early in the regular season. Rodney Peete, who had led Philadelphia to 12 wins in 17 starts as an Eagle (including a 3-1 mark to open the '96 campaign), ruptured a tendon in his right knee vs. Dallas on 9/30. Rhodes then turned to Ty Detmer, the former Green Bay Packers and 1990 Heisman Trophy winner, who had joined the Eagles in the spring as a free agent. Detmer, who subsequently became a starter for the first time since his days at Brigham Young University, immediately led the Birds to four straight victories and went on to rank 4th among NFC passers while teaming with WR Irving Fryar and RB Ricky Watters to fuel the conference's #1 offense (351.7 yds./gm). Fryar, one of the league's best free agent acquisitions in 1996, had the most productive campaign of his 13-year career, recording career highs in TDs (11) and receptions (a team-record 88). Fryar also tied a Birds' single-game record with four TDs vs. Miami on 10/20. Watters earned his fifth consecutive trip to the JPro Bowl - his second as an Eagle - with personal bests in rushing attempts (353), rushing yards (1,411), TDs (13), and total yards from scrimmage (1,855). He finished first in the league in total yards from scrimmage, carries and touches (404 combined carries and receptions) while also ranking 2nd in the NFC/4th in the NFL in rushing yardage. Other Eagles making a big impact on offense included 2nd-year WR Chris T. Jones (70-859-5TDs), rookie TE Jason Dunn (22.1 yds/catch average), and FB Kevin Turner, who rebounded from a 1995 knee injury to grab 43 passes. Philadelphia's defense ranked 3rh in the NFC and 5th in the NFL, allowing an average of only 284.0/yars/game. Thide rankings were accomplished without the services of DT Andy Harmon (11 sacks in 1995), who was sidelined for all but two games due to a knee injury. LDE William Fuller again led the Birds with 13 sacks and earned his 3rd straight trip to the Pro Bowl. Fuller's 13 sacks were the most by an NFC lineman and fourth best in the NFL. Also earning a Pro Bowl berth was RLB William Thomas, who registered 3 interceptins and 5.5 sacks. He was the leader of a young linebacking corp that included MLB James Willis, whose interception in the end zone in the final moments of game nine at Dallas sealed the Birds' first win at Texas Stadium since 1991. Willis theft off Dallas' QB Troy Aikman and subsequent lateral to CB Troy Vincent resulted in a 104-yard TD return, the longest in NFL history. Prior to the season, the Birds had once again been one of the NFL's most aggressive teams in terms of free agency. The signing of Troy Vincent from Miami, along with that of Watters from San Francisco the previous year, made Philadelphia the only team to land another club's "transition" free agent in 1995 and 1996. In addition, the Eagles' solid drafting contirbuted heavily to a starting lineup that boasted seven starters from the last two drafts, including a pair of 1996 first team All-Rookie picks - Dunn and FS Brian Dawkins - as well as RCB Bobby Taylor, who was similarly honored in 1995.
1997 This season has been marred with erratic play, switching of the starting quarterback a few times, and legal troubles for several players on the team. The season started with a 1-3 record, before the Eagles played their best game of the season against the Redskins. The legal troubles started with their 2nd round draft pick, James Darling, who was arrested and tried in court. Mike Mamula added his name to the legal problems during preseason training. Newly acquired free agent C Steve Everett found himself in a bind with a DWI and drug pariphanela charges. One the brighter side of things for the Eagles has been the play of rookie free agent TE Chad Lewis. The highlight of the season for him was the TD pass from Peete that provide the winning score in the game against the Cowboys at Veterans Stadium. During the season, the starting quarterback was changed 3 times. The season opened with Ty Detmer as QB for the first 6 games of the season. He was then replaced for the next 3 games by Peete, and then Detmer was again the starter. Injuries have plagued the Eagles during the season, particularly on the offensive line.
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