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Philadelphia Eagles

From Academic Kids

Template:NFL team The Philadelphia Eagles are a National Football League team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The team was founded in 1933 by co-owners Bert Bell and Lud Wray.

Home field: Lincoln Financial Field (2003-),
Previous home fields:
Baker Bowl (1933-1935)
Municipal (later renamed John F. Kennedy Stadium) (1936-1939)
Connie Mack Stadium (1940-1957)
Franklin Field (1958-1970)
Veterans Stadium (1971-2002)
Team colors: Midnight green (jade green), black, silver and white.
Helmet design: a white wing on a green helmet.
Conference championships won: 1980, 2004
League championships won: 1948, 1949, 1960
Super Bowl appearances (2): XV (lost), XXXIX (lost)
Mascot: Swoop.


Contents

Franchise history

Bert Bell and Lud Wray, co-owners of the Frankford Yellow Jackets, an inactive NFL franchise since midway through the 1931 season, were granted permission to reactivate the club on July 9, 1933, under a new name, the Philadelphia Eagles. Neither the Eagles nor the NFL officially regards the two franchises as the same, citing the aforementioned period of dormancy; however, some observers believe the two teams should be treated as one.

The Eagles struggled mightily at first, not even so much as managing a single winning season until 1943, when they temporarily merged with the Pittsburgh Steelers to form a team known as "the Phil-Pitt Steagles" (this unusual arrangement being due to World War II). But then things quickly turned around: Led by running back Steve Van Buren, the Eagles reached the NFL title game in each of the last three years of the 1940s, winning two of the contests. Their next appearance in a league championship game would take place in 1960, with quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and linebacker Chuck Bednarik leading the offense and defense, respectively (Bednarik was also the last NFL player to play both offense and defense, lining up at center when the offense had the ball). The Eagles won this game, 17-13 over the Green Bay Packers, which was played at Franklin Field on December 26, 1960.

The following year the Eagles finished just a half-game behind the New York Giants for first place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 10-4 record, but would not seriously contend again until soon after Dick Vermeil became the head coach in 1976. Starting in 1978, the Eagles qualified for the postseason four consecutive times, including making their first Super Bowl appearance ever following the 1980 season, but they lost, 27-10, to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV, played on January 25, 1981. In a bizarre coincidence, former Eagles head coach Joe Kuharich died on the same day as the above game. Kuharich was the team's head coach from 1964 through 1968; in the latter year he became the target of demands by fans that he be fired, who used the slogan "Joe Must Go" as their ralling cry (the 1968 Eagles lost their first eleven games and finished 2-12). He had signed a "lifetime contract" with Jerry Wolman, who had owned the club at the time he was hired; on May 1, 1969, Wolman sold the team to Leonard Tose, whose first official act as owner was to fire Kuharich, who continued to draw a salary under the contract until his death.

A period of decline set in after this, which ended in 1988 when they made the first of three straight playoff appearances under coach Buddy Ryan, but did not win a postseason game in any of those years. In 1991, the Eagles became the first NFL team since 1975 to rank first in the league in both rushing and passing yardage allowed, but neglected to reach the playoffs despite a 10-6 final record.

Their next period of prominence, which is still current, has come under the tutelage of head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was the first player ever drafted by Reid, in 1999. With this duo leading the way, the Eagles won the NFC's Eastern Division for four straight years beginning in 2001, also reaching the conference title game each year, but lost this game on the first three occasions.

The 2003 team lost its first two games, both at home — but then proceeded to become the first team ever to make the playoffs after doing this in a non-strike year. In their opening game of the 2003 season the Eagles were shut out 17-0 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first regular-season game ever played at Lincoln Financial Field; by reaching the conference championship game in the same year as this defeat, they became the first team in modern history to get that far in the postseason after having been shut out at home in its first game. They achieved both of the above despite getting only five touchdown catches all year from their wide receivers, which tied the league low since the regular-season schedule was lengthened to its present 16 games in 1978 (this record would be broken in 2004 when the New York Giants' wide receivers caught only two touchdown passes). The Eagle receivers even went through both September and October without a TD catch — the last time an NFL team had done that was in 1945.

No doubt with the latter two facts in mind, the Eagles actively pursued — and ultimately got to trade for — premier wide receiver Terrell Owens, whom the team acquired in a controversial three-way deal involving themselves, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, on March 16, 2004.

The 2004 season began with a bang as Owens caught three touchdown passes from McNabb in their season opener against the New York Giants. Owens would end up with exactly 1,200 receiving yards and 14 touchdown receptions, although his season ended prematurely with an ankle injury on December 19,2004 against the Dallas Cowboys. Their 12-7 victory in this game gave them homefield advantage throughout the playoffs (exclusive of the Super Bowl) for the third year in a row, the team having previously clinched their fourth straight NFC East division title, their fifth consecutive postseason appearance, and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Their final two regular-season games thus rendered meaningless, the Eagles sat out most of their first-string players in these games and lost them both, yet still finished with a 13-3 record, their best 16-game season ever. McNabb had his finest season to date, passing for 3,875 yards and 31 touchdowns, throwing only eight interceptions. This made him the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 or more TD passes and fewer than 10 INTs in a given season.

By this time the Eagles were well known for their futility in National Football Conference Championship games since the 2001 season. In 2001, the Eagles fell to the Rams 29-24 in St. Louis in the NFC Championship Game. The next season, the Eagles hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Veteran's Stadium and were substantial favorites, but lost 27-10. The year after that, the Eagles hosted the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field, but the Panthers advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII by the score of 14-3.

But the Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 on January 23, 2005 in the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia, to advance to the Super Bowl XXXIX, where they were defeated by the New England Patriots, 24-21.

Fans

Perhaps the most famous (many would say infamous) example of the legend of Eagles' fans is the Santa Claus Incident, during which a few angry fans booed and threw snowballs at a man dressed as Santa at a game in 1968. The background story is that the original Santa was drunk and unable to perform. A skinny, 20 year old Frank Olivo who was in the stands came to the rescue. As Olivo recounts, a few fans threw snowballs at him after he reached the endzone. He laughed it off and pointed to the few culprits saying "You're not getting anything for Christmas".

Another example of what Philadelphia fans have to offer is the drafting of star quarterback Donovan McNabb. A minority of Eagles fans wanted Ricky Williams and when the Eagles announced that McNabb was drafted, 30 or so fans present at the New York City draft booed the decision. These fans were put together from the radio station WIP and did not represent the general opinion of Philadelphia fans.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie actually investigated buying the New England Patriots in the early 1990's. He chose Philadelphia since New England was having difficulties selling out games and avoiding local blackouts. The Eagle fans had no trouble filling the Vet and providing sellout after sellout, with over 60,000 on the waiting list for season tickets. The fans have since been rewarded with the winningest NFL team in the past five years, the team also been ranked as one of the top teams in the league in sales of merchandise. The Patriots, the team Lurie could have bought, have been successful in their own right, winning three championships in the past four seasons.

Fight Song

Eagles logo (1973-1995)
Eagles logo (1973-1995)

The Eagles are well known for their famous fight song, Fly, Eagles Fly:

Fly, Eagles Fly, on the road to victory!

Fight, Eagles Fight, score a touchdown 1, 2, 3!

Hit'em low, hit'em high, and watch our Eagles fly!

Fly, Eagles Fly, on the road to victory!

E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!

Players of note

Eagles logo (1974-1995)
Eagles logo (1974-1995)

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Current players

Retired numbers

Note: Although Reggie White's 92 has not been worn since Reggie had it, the number will not be officially retired until a ceremony during the 2005 season.

Not to be forgotten

Coaches (since 1958)

External link

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