1960 champion Eagles receive a hero's welcome at Linc

Chuck Bednarik, flanked by his teammates from the 1960 championship team, waves to fans during halftime ceremony.
Chuck Bednarik, flanked by his teammates from the 1960 championship team, waves to fans during halftime ceremony.
Posted: September 13, 2010

Fifty years later, they got their "parade." It was not down Broad Street and there was no confetti swirling in the air. But for the elderly men in kelly-green jerseys who waved to their fans from two trolley cars, the journey from the NovaCare Complex to Lincoln Financial Field reminded them again what it is like to be a champion in Philadelphia.

Gray clouds hung over South Philadelphia yesterday. But once the procession started, not a drop of rain spilled on these former Eagles, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of their 1960 NFL championship victory over the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers. In a poignant ceremony at halftime of the season opener between another generation of Eagles and Packers, the old '60 champs were introduced one by one to the appreciative crowd.

Timmy Brown.

Tommy McDonald.

Pete Retzlaff.

Maxie Baughan.

Chuck Bednarik.

And on and on: On hand were 20 of them, some of whom had not seen each other in years. Fourteen of the players who were on that team have died, including legendary quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and popular defensive back Tom Brookshier.

Coached by the gentlemanly Buck Shaw, who is also deceased, the 1960 Eagles beat the Packers, 17-13, at Franklin Field on Dec. 26, 1960, a game that ended unforgettably with Bednarik pinning running back Jim Taylor to the ground as the clock expired. But there was no celebratory parade for that team, only a dinner held that evening at the Warwick Hotel.

And Baughan did not even attend that.

"I had flight reservations back to Alabama," said Baughan, an All-Pro rookie linebacker that season. "I had to get back because I had an offseason job selling industrial lubricants. Everybody had a job then."

From across the country, the Eagles arrived in Philadelphia Friday evening, checked into their hotel and convened for a cocktail party. On Saturday, they had brunch at the NovaCare Complex, watched practice, held an autograph session at Franklin Field and attended a dinner in their honor at Lincoln Financial Field. Yesterday, they again had brunch, donned the old jerseys and boarded the trolley with their family members.

Fans in the Wells Fargo Center parking lot shouted:

"Hey, Tommy!"

McDonald exclaimed, "Hello, Eagles fans!"

Eddie Khayat reached down through the open window in the trolley and exchanged handshakes with the fans, some of whom saluted him with cups of beers.

"Thank you," one of them said.

"Thank you," he replied.

A tear welled in his eye as the trolley arrived at the stadium.

"Everyone who has ever played says their fans were the best ever," Khayat said. "But no one is better than these fans. The old-timers always say, 'We would have played the game for free.' Well, we would have. Some say we did. But we loved it."

Retzlaff added that the "whole weekend was wonderful."

"We had a strong social bond," he said. "No one picked us to do anything that year. But we won nine straight, and eight of them we came from behind to do it. Just seeing everyone again was fun. The memories flowed."

McDonald said of the weekend, "It was absolutely amazing."

And he and the others could not have been more grateful that the Eagles honored them.

"Everything was first class," Khayat said.

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