KEI’S TO… Learning The History Of The Philadelphia Eagles

Posted on November 3, 2022

The Philadelphia Eagles are 6-0, and it’s a tremendous time to be a Philly sports fan. You may be a person who root for the Eagles in the past but never fully embraced them.

There’s no time like the present, as the ceiling is high with this current team and 2022 Eagles roster. The whole city is excited, so why not join in? We’re about to blast through some decades of Eagles football, the true KEI’S TO learning the history of the Eagles.

The Beginning, And Early Championships (1933-1960)

The Philadelphia Eagles were founded in 1933. They were the Frankford Yellow Jackets prior. Their first year as an expansion team was forgettable, with losing records and blowout losses. In the mid-1940s, the Eagles turned the tide and began to win.

  • They reached the NFL championship in 1947, losing to the Chicago Cardinals 28-21.
  • They’d return in 1948, defeating the Chicago Cardinals 7-0 in the snow.
  • They’d collect another title in 1949, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 14-0.
  • They’d return once more in 1960, being the only team in history to defeat Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers in a game they won 17-13.

The NFL phased into the Super Bowl era in 1967, and NFL championships were no more.

Dick Vermeil, And The First Super Bowl Appearance (1976-1982)

The Eagles hired Dick Vermeil in 1976 from UCLA, one of the more memorable coaches in Eagles history. His first season resulted in a losing record and the Eagles trading for quarterback Ron Jaworski. The 1978 and 1979 Eagles boasted winning records and made the postseason.

The 1980 Eagles were one of the most dominant teams in history and advanced to Super Bowl 15 against the Oakland Raiders. They defeated the rival Dallas Cowboys to get there and were favored. Unfortunately, the Eagles would lose 27-10, as Jaworski threw three interceptions. After a winning record in 1981 and a losing record in 1982, Vermeil quit.

Buddy’s Eagles, Then Jeffrey Lurie (1986-1994)

Head coach Buddy Ryan may not have won playoff games, but many fans still love him for what he did when he was here. This era consisted of tough games against divisional opponents while boasting some of the best defenses in Eagles’ history.

Memorable games in this era are known as the “fog bowl” (a foggy game where the field was barely visible) and the “bounty bowls” (games that aided the Philly fan narrative about snowballs). Buddy Ryan was fired in 1991 and replaced by Rich Kotite. Despite a losing era,

Eagles fans enjoyed great players like defensive end Reggie White, safety Eric Allen, and quarterback Randall Cunningham. In 1994, current Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie arrived. With this era came the midnight green jerseys the Eagles are known for.

A Golden Era, Andy, McNabb, Vick, and More (1999-2010)

The Eagles hired quarterback coach Andy Reid in 1999 and drafted quarterback Donovan McNabb out of Syracuse. This era made the Eagles relevant again and jumpstarted two decades of consistently winning football.

A game that sticks out early in this game is the “pickle juice game,” the hottest game in NFL history. Eagles players drank pickle juice to fight cramps and dehydration.

The Eagles reached the playoffs in 2001, 2002, and 2003. They would lose three straight title games to the Rams, Buccaneers, and Panthers, respectively. After an aggressive free agency that included trading for pro bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens, the Eagles would finish 13-3, defeated the Falcons in the championship game, but fell short to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Criticism of McNabb followed, and his relationship with Owens deteriorated. The 2005 Eagles season was an injury-riddled disaster. The Eagles would boast winning records in 2006 and 2008, reaching a title game in 2008 but falling short to the Cardinals. In 2009 quarterback Michael Vick was signed, and in 2010 McNabb was traded to the rival Redskins.

The Michael Vick era was short but sweet, one of the most memorable games being a 21-point comeback against the New York Giants. The Eagles failed to pass the wild card round.

Andy’s Exit and Chip Kelly’s Tenure (2012-2015)

After a 4-12 season in 2012, Andy Reid was fired. Chip Kelly was hired out of the University Of Oregon. The Chip Kelly era initially showed promise with its high-speed offense, and the Eagles would finish 10-6 in 2013 and 2014. The 2013 Eagles lost in the wild-card round, and the 2014 Eagles missed the playoffs due to lost tiebreakers. The 2015 Eagles season ended with a 7-9 record, and Chip Kelly was fired before the season was even complete.

The Chip Kelly era may have caused frustration with fans, but many key players acquired proved to be huge in the Doug Pederson era. Key names included Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Malcolm Jenkins, Jordan Hicks, and yes, Nelson Agholor. Chip Kelly also hired offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who is still here in the Nick Sirianni era.

Doug Pederson And The First Lombardi (2016-2020)

Doug Pederson arrived to coach the Eagles in 2016, former Eagles quarterback and Kansas City Chiefs coordinator. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was a rookie, and a promising 3 games resulted in a 3-0 record to start the season. Unfortunately, they fell apart and were swept by the entire division. They’d finish 7-9. After an offseason of key signings, the 2017 Eagles dominated the league, going 13-3 and securing the number 1 seed in the conference.

Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in week 14 against the Rams, which people assumed to be the end of their season. Luckily, quarterback Nick Foles had experience in the Eagles system, and combined with a top 5 overall defense and rushing offense, the Eagles would secure home-field advantage and the bye.

They beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the divisional round, then the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the championship game.

They went on to defeat the defending champion New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 41-33, avenging the 2004 Eagles team that lost Brady and Belichick.

The 2018 and 2019 Eagles would make the playoffs despite suffering major injuries but didn’t advance further than the divisional and wild card rounds, respectively. The Eagles drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts in 2020, which sparked controversy. The 2020 Eagles season was riddled with disaster and injuries, and when it was all said and done, Carson Wentz was traded and Doug Pederson was fired.

The Nick Sirianni Era (2021-Present)

The Nick Sirianni has been short thus far but full of magic. He was hired from the Indianapolis Colts staff and brought life to a team with a questionable future. His first season in 2021 resulted in a first-round playoff exit, but the Eagles made the playoffs after starting the season 2-5. The 2022 Eagles are miles ahead, capitalizing on great moves by general manager Howie Roseman, and are off to a 6-0 start.

They appear positioned to be the #1 seed in their conference as long as they don’t become their own worst enemy. Sirianni’s player-focused and fiery coaching mindset fit this team and city perfectly. The sky is the limit.

You’re now armed with historical knowledge and legendary Eagles stats and have a general grasp on Philadelphia Eagles’ history. Go birds.

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Keiana Williams

Call me Kei! I’m a Philadelphia sports fan, mother of two, and a partnered streamer on Twitch! I’ve been a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles for over 20 years and also enjoy reading, writing, and gaming in my spare time!

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