Dick Vermeil led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl, defeating Dallas in a memorable, NFC Championship Game thrashing in January 1981.
The Eagles lost that Super Bowl, 27-10, to the Oakland Raiders. The loss stung but the Eagles had at least made a Super Bowl. That was a big step.
Vermeil went a step further in his next NFL job. His “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams won the 2000 Super Bowl over Tennessee, 23-16.
When Vermeil was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February, no Eagles fan would be disappointed if he went into the Hall as a Ram.
Well, one Eagles fan would be disappointed: Richard Albert Vermeil.
‘PHILADELPHIA IS MY HOME TEAM’
Vermeil told NBC-10’s John Clark that when he is inducted this summer, he will go into the Hall as an Eagle. “I’m going in as an Eagle,” Vermeil told Clark. “Philadelphia is my home team. It’s where I live and deeply identify with the community.”
Vermeil has lived in the Philly suburbs since he arrived to coach the Eagles in 1976.
Vermeil coached the Eagles until 1982. He retired from the game, citing “burnout.”
After 15 years away from coaching, Vermeil returned in 1997 with the Rams. Three years later, he had his Super Bowl championship. Vermeil retired again, for a year, then returned to coach Kansas City for five years before retiring again.
In 1992, I covered the Army-Navy game at Veterans Stadium. The day before the game, while mingling on the field watching one of the teams warming up, I chatted with Vermeil, who was the analyst for the ABC broadcast.
I was a little intimidated, to be honest. This was *Coach* Vermeil. I told Vermeil that Philadelphians will never forget him because of that 20-7 victory over the Cowboys in the NFC title game.
A broad smile came over Vermeil’s face. He thanked me for the kind words. We stood on about the 40-yard-line. He walked quickly and with a purpose about 15 yards, bringing me along.
“It was right there,” Vermeil said, standing on the 42-yard line. “Boom, [Jerry] Sisemore opened the hole and Wilbert [Montgomery] ran through it. Nobody touched him. He could have run all day.”
Montgomery scored on a 42-yard run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead in their 20-7 win.
Eagles fans of a certain age still haven’t forgotten it.