The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional football team in the National Football League (the NFL). The Philadelphia Eagles play in the National Football Conference (NFC) East Division with three other teams: the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles have won 3 NFL Championships. Lincoln Financial Field, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hosts all Philadelphia Eagles home games.
The Philadelphia Eagles joined the ranks of professional football in 1933 as an “expansion” team (Philadelphia’s former NFL franchise, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, went bankrupt midway through the 1931 season). The “Eagle” – the symbol of the New Deal’s National Recovery Act – became the symbol of Philadelphia’s newest addition to the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles struggled for much of the early part of their existence, recording losing seasons in each of its first 10 seasons from 1933-1942. In 1943, during World War II player shortages, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers merged to field one team – the Steagles. The Steagles recorded a respectable 5-4-1 record and that “first winning season” seemed to instill a winning attitude in the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. From 1944 through 1946, the Philadelphia Eagles recorded 3 consecutive winning seasons but never qualified for post-season play. In 1947, the Philadelphia Eagles finally finished in a first place tie in the NFL East with the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 8-4 record. In the NFL East Divisional playoffs to determine which team would play in the NFL Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-0 to advance to the franchise’s first ever NFL Championship Game. In the 1947 Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Chicago Cardinals 28-21, but the Philadelphia Eagles franchise was heading in the right direction. The 1948 and 1949 seasons were much kinder to the Philadelphia Eagles as the team won back-to-back NFL Championships under the tutelage of legendary coach Earle “Greasy” Neele. In 1948, the Philadelphia Eagles finished atop the NFL East with a 9-2-1 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Chicago Cardinals 7-0 to claim its first ever NFL Championship. In 1949, the Philadelphia Eagles finished atop the NFL East with an 11-1 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Los Angeles Rams 14-0 to claim its 2nd consecutive NFL Championship.
It would be another 11 long years before the Philadelphia Eagles won their 3rd NFL Championship in 1960 behind the expertise of Norm Van Brocklin and Chuck Bednarik, both future Hall of Famers. That season, the Philadelphia Eagles finished atop the NFL East with a 10-2 record. In the NFL Championship Game, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Green Bay Packers 17-13 to claim the franchise’s 3rd NFL Championship. Little did the team know that that 3rd NFL Championship would be the franchise’s final NFL Championship to date.
From 1961 through 1977, the Philadelphia Eagles recorded only 2 winning seasons and never made the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles briefly turned things around from 1978 through 1981 when the Philadelphia Eagles made 4 straight playoff appearances. The 1980 NFL season was the best season for the Philadelphia Eagles during that stretch as the team finished atop the NFC East for the first time since the AFL-NFL merger with a 12-4 record. In the Divisional round of the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles trailed the Minnesota Vikings 14-7 at halftime. But the Philadelphia Eagles forced eight turnovers in the 2nd half and outscored the Minnesota Vikings 24-2 en route to a 31-16 playoff victory. The following week, the Philadelphia Eagles used another solid 2nd half performance by the defense to give the Philadelphia Eagles a 20-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. The Philadelphia Eagles defense held the Dallas Cowboys scoreless in the 2nd half forcing numerous turnovers and the Philadelphia Eagles offense road the shoulders of Running Back Wilbert Montgomery who rushed for 194 yards and a touchdown. That NFC Championship victory gave the Philadelphia Eagles their first ever berth in a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles hot playoff streak came to a quick end as the Philadelphia Eagles fell behind the Oakland Raiders 14-0 in the first quarter of Super Bowl XV. The Philadelphia Eagles could never recover from the early deficit and the Philadelphia Eagles lost 27-10. Oakland Raiders Quarterback Jim Plunkett won the Super Bowl MVP award by throwing for over 250 yards and 3 touchdown passes. The Philadelphia Eagles endured another rough stretch from 1982 through 1999. The Philadelphia Eagles recorded losing seasons from 1982 through 1987. And although the Philadelphia Eagles finished atop the NFC East with a 10-6 record in 1988, the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Chicago Bears 20-12 in the Divisional round of the playoffs. That game was known as the “Fog Bowl” due to the dense fog that covered the entire football field at Soldier Field for much of the game. Although Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Randall Cunningham threw for over 400 passing yards, he threw 3 costly interceptions and did not throw a single touchdown pass. The Philadelphia Eagles made it to the playoffs 5 more times during this stretch but could never advance past the Divisional round of the playoffs.
Following a dismal 5-11 record during the 1999 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles hired Andy Reid as its Head Coach in January 1999. The Philadelphia Eagles saw immediate positive results during the 2000 NFL regular when the Philadelphia Eagles finished 2nd in the NFC East with an 11-5 record. Although the Philadelphia Eagles eventually lost to the New York Giants 20-10 in the Divisional round of the playoffs (the New York Giants went on to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XXXV that season), Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles were laying the groundwork for developing a competitive NFL team that would compete for the NFL Championship every single season. In each year, from 2001 through 2004, the Philadelphia Eagles finished in 1st place in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles also advanced to the NFC Championship Game in each such year as well. In 2001, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs and the Chicago Bears 33-19 in the Divisional round of the playoffs to advance to their first NFC Championship Game in 22 years. The Philadelphia Eagles successful playoff run ended with an unexpected 29-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams, as the Philadelphia Eagles gave up more than 17 points in a game for the first time all season long. In 2002, the Philadelphia Eagles finished atop the NFC East with a 12-4 record and easily defeated the Atlanta Falcons 20-6 in the Divisional round of the playoffs to advance to their 2nd consecutive NFC Championship Game. But once again, the Philadelphia Eagles fell one game short of their Super Bowl goal as the team lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the eventual Super Bowl XXXVII Champion) by the score of 27-10. That NFC Championship Game was the last game played in the Vet and marked the first time that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a road playoff game and a playoff game where the temperature was less than freezing temperature. In 2003, the Philadelphia Eagles once again finished atop the NFC East with a 12-4 record. In the Divisional round of the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles trailed by 3 points and faced a 4th and 26 scenario from their own end of the football field with less than 2 minutes to play. Quarterback Donovan McNabb completed a miraculous 28-yard pass to Wide Receiver Freddie Mitchell and the Philadelphia Eagles eventually tied the game in regulation on a 37-yard field goal by Kicker David Akers. Akers then won the game in overtime with a 31–yard field goal to give the Philadelphia Eagles a 20-17 win over the Green Bay Packers. But once again, the Philadelphia Eagles came out on the short end of the stick in the NFC Championship Game, losing to the Carolina Panthers 14-3. The Philadelphia Eagles loyal fan base finally got their wish in 2004. Following a successful 13-3 NFL regular season record and a 4th consecutive NFC East title, the Philadelphia Eagles road the arms and legs of Donovan McNabb to advance to their first Super Bowl title in 22 years. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings 27-14 in the Divisional round of the playoffs behind 2 touchdown passes by Donovan McNabb and then won their first NFC Championship Game in 4 tries by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 behind another 2 touchdown passes by Donovan McNabb. The Philadelphia Eagles would finally represent the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles would not reach the ultimate dream of Super Bowl Champions, as the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21. The New England Patriots won their 2nd consecutive Super Bowl (the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the 1997-1998 Denver Broncos) and 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years, creating a Super Bowl dynasty that was tough to overcome. The New England Patriots forced the Philadelphia Eagles into 4 costly turnovers, and the Philadelphia Eagles did not have an answer for New England Patriots Wide Receiver Deion Branch who caught 11 passes for over 100 receiving yards. Following the game, Deion Branch was named the Super Bowl MVP. The loyal Philadelphia Eagles fan base would have to wait for that elusive first Super Bowl Championship.
During the 2006-2007 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles finished 1st in the NFC East with a 10-6 record. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the division-rival New York Giants 23-20 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, but lost to the New Orleans Saints 27-24 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. During the 2007-2008 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles finished 4th in the NFC East with an 8-8 record and did not qualify for post-season play.
Hall of Famers
Fourteen men associated with the Philadelphia Eagles have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Most notably, one of the NFL’s greatest defensive ends, Reggie White, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006. After being diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a systemic inflammatory disease in 1997, Reggie White suffered many physical ailments until his unexpected death on December 26, 2004. While Reggie White was known as the “Minister of Defense” on the field, he was a well-loved and well-respected man off the field, and he is still sorely missed by the entire NFL community. Mike Ditka was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1988. While he played Tight End for the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears, he is most often remembered for his 11-year tenure as the Head Coach of the Chicago Bears, during which the Chicago Bears won a Super Bowl Championship in 1985. Other inductees include: Linebacker Chuck Bednarik (1967); Co-Owner and Head Coach Bert Bell (1963); Offensive Tackle Bob Brown (2004); Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen (1983); Running Back Ollie Matson (1972); Wide Receiver Tommy McDonald (1998); Head Coach Earle “Greasy” Neele (1969); Wide Receiver Pete Pihos (1970); Center Jim Ringo (1981); Quarterback and Punter Norm Van Brocklin (1971); Running Back Steve Van Buren (1965); and Linebacker Alex Wojciechowicz (1968).