The Greatest Philadelphia Eagles of All Time
This blog post outlines the vision behind Jordan's The Road to Victory piece.
The road to victory. A journey 89 years and counting for the Philadelphia Eagles.
A journey made up of the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Championship triumph….and heart-breaking defeat.
A journey of 8 owners, 15 general managers, and 24 head coaches. Greasey Neale setting a championship standard.
Dick Vermeil reviving that standard from the depths of dysfunction four decades later. Buddy Ryan building all-time great defenses.
Andy Reid establishing a near two decade-long norm of contention to kickoff the 21st century. Doug Pederson achieving what no other coach could in 57 years….a Super Bowl victory.
An Eagles Story
The story of the Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t be properly told without them.
But this story belongs on the field. It belongs to the players.
Hall of Fame pioneers. Steve Van Buren, Chuck “Concrete Charlie” Bednarik, Norm Van Brocklin, and Tommy McDonald. Pioneers part of championship repeats and handing legendary coaches their first and only postseason loss.
Revolutionary players. A 6’8 wide receiver in Harold Carmichael who from 1971 to 1984 showed he was far ahead of his time. A combination of size and speed rarely seen before.
Carmichael, fellow WR Mike Quick, and running back Wilbert Montgomery made life a whole lot easier for quarterback Ron Jaworski who provided Philadelphia with their first real stability at the most important position in the 1970s and 80s.
Legends and perhaps the greatest of all time at their position. Reggie White. The minister of defense.
The man who broke the all-time sack record, holding it until 2003. White led what was a historic defensive core in the late 80s and early 90s, complimented by the likes of Jerome Brown and Clyde Simmons up front.
But don’t forget about the second and third level where Seth Joyner and Eric Allen made turnovers par for the course.
Legends were featured on the other side of the ball as well in the final Kelly Green era. Randall Cunningham. The Ultimate Weapon.
A founding father of dual-threat quarterbacks that held the record for most rushing yards for a QB ever until 2011. A signal-caller with physical gifts that had never been seen before.
Then there is Weapon X. Brian Dawkins.
The player that embodies the DNA of Philadelphia more than any other. A leader whose intensity, passion, and connection with the city both on and off the field will never be matched.
Dawkins, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Jeremiah Trotter, Troy Vincent, David Akers, and John Runyan. The first midnight green core.
A core that made deep playoff runs an expectation, rather than a rare treat.
A New Era
Following up with a new era started by two of the most entertaining weapons in NFL history. RB LeSean McCoy and WR DeSean Jackson. All-time great open-field threats.
Ankle breakers. Deep threats. Nightmares for defenses and dreams for highlight reels.
2017 Eagles Super Bowl Champions!
And then there is 2017. The Super Bowl champions.
The team that overcame loss most couldn’t handle. Loss in the form of their franchise QB in Carson Wentz, a HOF left tackle in Jason Peters, and so many more.
These underdogs went on to beat the #1 ranked defense, and the greatest dynasty of all time to win their first ever Lombardi Trophy.
It couldn’t have been done without Wentz’s MVP-caliber regular season that helped the Eagles get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It couldn’t have been done without an elite offensive line led by Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson.
It couldn’t have been done without the historic playoff run of Nick Foles. Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Graham.
It couldn’t have been done without a single one of these players. You might not find a championship team that relied more on being just that: a team.
Kelly green and midnight green. Pocket passers and scramblers.
Electrifying skill position players. Lineman in the trenches. Aggressive play-callers and defense-first philosophies on the sidelines. The Eagles have seen it all.
The Unifying Thread
But one thing remains constant. The bond.
The connection formed with the city of Philadelphia and its fans. A mutual identity and love for one's team that leads to life-long relationships.
Friendships. Family traditions. Memories. Unity.
A love that turns strangers to family. A love that turns passion into a career. A love that inspires.
That is the true victory of the Philadelphia Eagles. The road continues.