By any color, Lurie's true blue to Birds

Posted: August 08, 2007

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Jeffrey Lurie knew he would get some strange looks when he adopted a blue-and-yellow color scheme for the celebration of the Eagles' 75th season.

But yesterday, during his state- of-the-team address, the team's owner said the choice was about honoring the city of Philadelphia for its generational support of the franchise.

"There aren't a lot of NFL teams that are based in an urban setting," Lurie said. "In a way, Philadelphia doesn't get the credit it deserves. This is Philadelphia's team. Yes, it's the region's team, but we work in Philly, we train in Philly, our stadium is in Philly.

"Why not adopt the city's colors? That's how the team started, with the city. It got altered and [the Eagles] became a green team. That's great, and we love that, but this is how it started."

Lurie said he believes it is important for the image of Philadelphia that the Eagles not back away from their heritage.

"Philadelphia in a way has a negative image sometimes across the country," he said. " 'Murder Capital' of the USA now, and things like that.

"So if they can feel a bond, which I think we all do, with the football team, the most popular sport by far, I think we should give that partnership a boost.

"It'll be a new look, but I think it is symbolic of partnering with this city."

In their first season in 1933, the Eagles wore blue and yellow. They will wear throwbacks for their Sept. 23 home game against Detroit.

Other Lurie highlights included his saying he still believes quarterback Donovan McNabb is the man to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship.

"To me, [McNabb] is in the prime of his career," Lurie said of the quarterback who is returning from a serious knee injury. "He's had these injuries, but as you know, the average age of a Super Bowl-winning quarterback is about 30 or 31.

"[McNabb] is right in the prime. He's, in my opinion, one of the top three quarterbacks in football when healthy."

So why did the Eagles use their first pick in the draft on University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb?

"We do, as a philosophy, prioritize around this position," Lurie said. "It's the hardest to find, the most important yet scarcest position to find in the sport.

"[Kolb] is only a hope at this point. I think philosophy and the team's was that if ever there were a quarterback that fit everything we were looking for, we would pull the trigger regardless of anything else.

"You have to solidify the hardest positions to fill, the most important positions, and if you have a surplus for a while, that's a great thing to have."

With the demise of NFL Europe, Lurie said he would be in favor of adding a 17th regular-season game to be played overseas if it would "grow the business."

He said that taking NFL games being played at their highest level overseas is the only way to grow the sport internationally.

"The rest of the world is dominated by soccer," Lurie said. "It's unbelievable. I've been in the streets [in China], and they are lined up watching a game between Manchester United and Chelsea.

"The NFL is almost dormant there, or in its infancy."

As popular as the NFL is in America, Lurie said it is remarkably untapped outside North America.

"I don't think you can find another industry that is so popular in the United States that is not exported. People don't understand NFL football, and that's a huge challenge for us.

"It's going to take a lot of work, and it's going to showcase our real games, not what we had in NFL Europe. That wasn't showing McNabb and [Brian] Westbrook." *

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