November 20, 2010 |
The 59-point explosion that Michael Vick ignited against the Washington Redskins on Monday night was so eye-popping that it was surprising to learn another Eagles team once had done better. The 1934 Eagles scored 64 points in what remains the biggest regular-season blowout in NFL history, a lopsided shutout of the Cincinnati Reds. But don't be too impressed. That 10-touchdown romp came against a doomed and dispirited opponent, one whose surrender was so blatant that its defenders, according to Inquirer sportswriter Stan Baumgartner, played as if the Eagles "had recently contracted smallpox.
September 9, 2010
THE EAGLES have not won a championship in 50 years. Fifty! Five-ohhhh. Half a century. Four owners, 11 coaches, a covey of quarterbacks, three ball yards, two Super Bowl appearances and a mascot that looks like a partridge in a pear tree. Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road . . . take it!" Is that what the Eagles have done for the last 50 years, come to a fork in the road, picked it up and jabbed it into an eye? Or simply zigged right when they should have zagged left.
December 22, 2009
BERT BELL talked out of the side of his mouth, like a guy spitting out a silver spoon. Had a raspy, buzz-saw voice that could peel the paper off the Vesper Club dining room walls. Back in the day, when the National Football League needed a hands-on commissioner, Bert Bell had his fingerprints on everything, including the broadcasters' throats. "I found the minutes of one owners' meeting," Bob Lyons chuckled. "Bell proposed a motion. It said that all home teams had to provide a blackboard and chalk for every visiting team.
February 9, 2008 |
The first NFL draft was, in many ways, a grand success for Bert Bell. The Eagles' patrician owner had devised the idea nine months earlier, selling it to his colleagues as a way to maintain a competitive balance and, not insignificantly, hold down salaries. It eventually would be successful and was a major step on Bell's journey to the NFL commissioner's post, a job he assumed a decade later. And, if all that weren't nice enough for Bell, that inaugural event took place at the old Ritz-Carlton on South Broad Street, a hotel that he happened to co-own.
October 2, 2005 |
Mike Paschall of Havertown said his 10-year-old son, Nick, would "tear up the furniture" at home. Now, with the new Haverford Youth Football program, Nick "can go nuts" outside, his father said as he watched him practice one recent evening. Nick Paschall, a fifth grader at Chatham Park Elementary School, was among the mass of boys, in huddles, then lines, then piles of red jerseys with bulky shoulder pads, running, pushing, then tumbling, one on top of another. Aaah, football.
September 20, 2005 |
About the only things missing are tailgating recipes. Other than that, The Eagles Encyclopedia (Temple University Press, $35) is as thorough as an Andy Reid game plan. The 324-page "Eaglepedia," which the publisher describes as the first comprehensive history of the team, has everything a Bird-watcher could want to know - and maybe even a little more - from pro football's local beginnings as a stepchild of the Phillies and the Athletics to the Eagles' Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
February 3, 2005 |
If his father's failing heart had held out just a few days more, Upton Bell might be viewing Super Bowl XXXIX from the Eagles owner's box instead of his Massachusetts living room. The week after NFL commissioner Bert Bell died during an Eagles game at Franklin Field in October 1959, Upton Bell's older brother got a phone call from an official at Philadelphia National Bank. The banker said Bell, the Eagles' first coach and long-time owner, had been planning to relinquish his commissioner's duties and had reached an agreement to buy back the franchise from Jim Clark for $900,000.
November 25, 2004 |
"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game, and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams. " - Jacques Barzun, God's Country and Mine, 1954 "Are you ready for some football?" - Hank Williams Jr., 1989 Today, Mr. Williams has the floor. Today, families across the country will gather in living rooms and dining rooms, pretend to like one another, consume too much turkey (igniting the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is what makes you sleepy)
November 3, 2003 |
If Bob Carpenter could have foreseen in 1959 the dreary decades that lay ahead for the Eagles, the history of pro football in Philadelphia might have been entirely different. Carpenter might have followed through on his flirtation with a tantalizing new venture, the American Football League. He might have obtained an AFL franchise. And the Eagles, who did not have the hold on their fans then that they have now, might not have survived the competition. In the end, though, the patrician owner of the Philadelphia Phillies chose not to confront the National Football League.
September 8, 2003 |
As they straggled into Ebbets Field late on the cloudy morning of Oct. 22, 1939, the Eagles were unlikely candidates for NFL history. Since joining the young professional football league in 1933, they had won just 17 of 70 games. In 1936, for example, Philadelphia went 1-11, was shut out six times, and was outscored by 206-51. Seeking help, owner/general manager/coach Bert Bell persuaded fellow owners to institute a draft in 1936. Then he failed to sign his own top pick, Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger.