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The Philadelphia Eagles play in the National Football League’s (NFL) National Football Conference (NFC) East division and have won three NFL championships and played in two Super Bowls. They are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and play their home games at Lincoln Financial Field whilst having their headquarters at the Novacare Training Complex.
Established in 1933 to replace the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, the Eagles’ long history has seen them develop one of the NFL’s most loyal fan bases, consistently ranking in the top three for attendance and selling out every game since 1999. They’re passionate too, with a Sports Illustrated poll of leading NFL players voting them as the most intimidating fans in the NFL.
- Full Name: Philadelphia Eagles
- Conference: National Football Conference
- Division: East
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Stadium Name: Lincoln Financial Field
- Year Established: 1933
- Owner: Jeff Lurie
- Head Coach: Doug Pederson
- Manager: Howie Roseman
- Nickname: The Birds, Gang Green
- Mascot: Swoop
- Team Colours: Midnight Green, Silver, Black, White
Former Quarterback, Donovan McNabb
(Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com)
The history of the Philadelphia Eagles begins in 1933 when a syndicate of Philadelphia based businessmen took over what was left of the now defunct Frankford Yellow Jackets. Like many new teams, its early years were not successful, winning either one or two victories in seven out of their first ten seasons. However, this was to change after Earle Neale was hired as coach in 1941, gradually turning the team around. Now with star running back, Steve Van Buren, the Eagles made an appearance in the NFL Championship game in 1947 and won NFL titles in 1948 and 1949. Unfortunately, this success was not to last and by the middle of the 1950s, they were regular finishers in the bottom half of the league. There was a brief renaissance in 1960 when the Eagles, featuring flanker, Tommy McDonald, linebacker, Chuck Bednarik and quarterback, Norm Van Brocklin, won the NFL championship – the third in the franchise’s history.
Unfortunately, this success was short-lived as it saw the team enter into 18 years of never reaching the playoffs, this period being a particular low point for the Eagles. It was not until the Eagles hired Dick Vermeil as head coach that things started to change. His passionate coaching style injected an energy into both the team and the fans and it resulted in the Eagles reaching the playoffs every year from 1978-1981, reaching the Super Bowl in 198. However, they unfortunately lost 27-10 in the Super Bowl to the Oakland Raiders.
The eighties saw the Eagles sign some NFL superstars, including Randall Cunningham, star quarterback, and Reggie White, the defensive end who would retire as the all-time sack leader in the NFL. Unfortunately, these individuals never really gelled as a team and between 1988 and 1992, they only won one of their five playoff games.
1999 saw the Eagles hire Andy Reid as head coach who made a very savvy move by drafting quarterback Donovan McNabb who was able to guide the Eagles to eight playoff berths in ten years including five appearances in the NFL Championship game and an unsuccessful appearance at the Super Bowl in 2005. Unfortunately, the relationship between McNabb and Reid was not great and eventually McNabb was traded away to another team.
Since 2005, the Eagles have won three more division championships and made five more appearances in the playoffs and fans are hopeful that this form will continue into the future.
Super Bowl Appearances
2004 Super Bowl XXXIX New England Patriots 24 – Philadelphia Eagles 21
Played at the Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on February 6 2005, Super Bowl XXXIX saw the Philadelphia Eagles play the New England Patriots. The game was close throughout and the teams were at 14-14 by the end of the third quarter with everything to play for. The Patriots then managed to score 10 points in the fourth quarter with the Eagles replying with Donovan McNabb’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis, but unfortunately, could not sustain the comeback and they lost the game 24-21.
The game was watched by 78,125 fans at the Alltel Stadium and by over 86 million viewers at home. The national anthem at the game was a particularly patriotic affair being sung by the combined choirs of the US Military Academy, the US Air Force Academy, the US Naval Academy and the US Coast Guard Academy. The halftime show was performed by the ever popular, Sir Paul McCartney.
1980 Super Bowl XV Oakland Raiders 27 – Philadelphia Eagles 10
Super Bowl XV was the Philadelphia Eagles’ first ever Super Bowl and one that saw them play the Oakland Raiders at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on January 25, 1981. The Eagles had reached the Super Bowl thanks to them becoming the National Football Conference champions, whereas the Raiders were a wildcard team.
Thanks to the game being held just five days after the Iran hostage crisis, the game was full of patriotic pride and it saw the end of the crisis being honoured at the end of the game. The game itself was a particularly one-sided affair with the Eagles being down 14-0 in the first quarter. They never really recovered from this and the game ended with the Raiders winning 27-10. Watched by over 76,000 in the stadium, it was watched by a total television audience of nearly 78 million.
Lincoln Financial Field (Ffooter / Shutterstock.com)
The Philadelphia Eagles have had a number of home fields during their history. They played at the Baker Bowl 1933-1935, the Philadelphia Municipal Stadium 1936-1939 and 1941, the Connie Mack Stadium in 1940 and between 1942-1957. Franklin Field was their home between 1958-1970, and the Veterans Stadium between 1971 and 2002.
The Eagles now play at the Lincoln Financial Field which they share with the Temple Owls football team of Temple University. The stadium has a capacity of 69,176 and is located in South Philadelphia as part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex and is referred to as “The Linc”.
The stadium opened in 2003 and is one of the most modern stadiums in the NFL and its naming rights were sold to the Lincoln Financial Group in 2002 for nearly $140 million. As well as being home to the Eagles and the Temple Owls football teams, the stadium has been home to a number of big soccer games and other events. These include a match between Manchester United and FC Barcelona in 2003 and the US men’s soccer team’s match against Turkey in 2010. Gigs at the stadium include U2, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, and comedian, Kevin Hart, who became the first ever comedian to sell out a football stadium for a comedy show.
Undoubtedly, the best player to ever play for the Philadelphia Eagles is Chuck Bednarik. Critical of the game today, talking of Deion Sanders he said, “Deion couldn’t tackle my wife”. He played the game when it was tougher, rougher, but sadly, not as well paid. One of the toughest players in the history of the fame, he played as both center and linebacker.
The greatest quarterback in Eagles history, Donovan McNabb was originally an unpopular draft but he soon won over the doubters leading the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and Superbowl XXXIX. A strong, powerful and intelligent player, he remains a fan favourite to this day.
Steve Van Buren
Two time NFL Champion and with 5860 career rushing yards and 69 rushing touchdowns, Steve Van Buren is one of the all-time greats. His number 15 jersey was retired by the club and despite his career being over 50 years ago, he is still fondly remembered by fans young and old alike.
Reggie White is the all-time leader in sacks for the Eagles with 124. Known as the Minister of Defence, he was one of the game’s all time greats. Sadly, he passed away at just 43 years of age due to a fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
Did You Know?
- In 1996, the official green colour of the Philadelphia Eagles was changed from Kelly Green to Midnight Green.
- Steve Van Buren, the Eagles running back, was the first NFL player ever to record back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 yards from scrimmage.
- Eagles offensive lineman/linebacker, Chuck Bednarik, was the last player in the NFL to play both offense and defense for his team.
- Famous fans of the Philadelphia Eagles include: NASCAR driver, Martin Truex Jr, the NBA’s Kobe Bryant, American Pie’s Tara Reid, 30 Rock’s Tina Fey, and Carl Lewis who is one of the greatest Olympians of all time.