Well last weekend the Philadelphia Eagles were given the brass ring for becoming world champions.. their Super Bowl rings. This commemorates a great 2017 campaign concluding with a 41-33 win in LII to take home the Lombardi. To the chagrin of Dallas Cowboy fans everywhere the Eagles do have a rich tradition of championships although there was a 59 year drought between the years they won it all.
As for the ring itself: The top of the Super Bowl ring has an Eagles logo on top of a Lombardi Trophy. There are 52 pavé-diamonds within the Eagle head to signify Super Bowl 52. The base of the trophy has 52 diamonds for each of their 13 regular-season victories. The top has three diamonds for the number of postseason victory. This concludes the 2017 odyssey which landed the Philadelphia Eagles their 4th NFL championship.
Here is a quick question: Who was the NFL’s Commissioner and where was the league’s headquarters before Pete Rozelle?? You guessed it…Philadelphia where team owner/founder Bert Bell established the team in 1933. He became league commissioner in 1946 and remained serving both roles until he passed in October 1959. Much of what is the NFL was shaped during his tenure as owner of the Eagles before he became commissioner. Notable achievements during his years
- In 1934 it was Bell who lobbied the NFL on a common draft where lesser teams receive higher draft status. The league adopted this rule in 1935 and been in place since.
- Bell also came up with the NFL’s 1st championship Trophy. The Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy. A rotating trophy which went from champion to champion from 1934-1965. Just before the advent of the Super Bowl Trophy given out every year.
The Eagles have a rich heritage filled with famous coaches, players and some of the NFL’s landmark games. Especially in the days of the postwar era after WWII. In fact one of the lost treasures when talking about NFL history is the merging of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers in 1943 to form the “Steagles”. Each team had lost so many players to WWII service this was a way to remain solvent. Both teams from the Quaker state are still in existence yet hold a respectful rivalry that is mild in comparison to others. It could be due to the respect each organization has for the other coming from this shared history.
However lost on a generation of Steeler fans, since many bandwagon fans jumped on once the Steelers started winning Super Bowls in the 70’s, it was the Eagles that kept them in that 42 year championship drought ending in 1974. Back in the pre-merger NFL both the Eagles and Steelers finished with 8-4 records. Led by NFL rushing champion Steve Van Buren the Eagles buried the Steelers 21-0 in a playoff and Pittsburgh struggled for the next 3 decades.
As for the Eagles? Head Coach Greasy Neale had a ground game that chewed up opponents as few had done before. During the years 1947-1949 not only did Van Buren lead the league in rushing all 3 years. He became the Eagles 1st 1,000 yard rusher (’47) with a league record 1,008 only to break it in ’49 when he pushed the record to 1,146 yards. They lost the ’47 NFL Championship to the Chicago Cardinals 28-21. However they powered their way to a 7-0 win in the ’48 Championship Game in a blizzard then beat the Rams 14-0 out in LA for their 2nd straight NFL title.
Yes you heard that correctly… The Philadelphia Eagles played in 3 straight NFL championship games and became only the 2nd team to win it back to back once a championship game was instituted beginning in 1933.
The late Steve Van Buren finished as the NFL’s leading rusher with 5,860 yards 69 touchdowns, 4 rushing titles and a member of the PFHOF since 1965.
In one of the more ironic twists between the Eagles and their cross state rival Steelers, Bert Bell had coached and co-owned both teams over the years. His life came to an end when he collapsed October 11, 1959 while his Eagles hosted the Steelers after a Tommy McDonald touchdown. The league than moved it’s headquarters to New York to do battle with the new American Football League, hired Pete Rozelle as Bell’s predecessor to compete in the modern age.
However the 1960 Eagles paid the absolute tribute to a fallen Bell by storming to the 1960 NFL championship. Having acquired former Ram quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, who had been a part of the “point a minute” offense earlier in the 50s had a renaissance year. In his final season he passed for 153 of 284 for 2,471 yards and a career best 24 TD passes in only a 12 game season.
The signature game came in midseason when the 6-1 Eagles went to New York to play the 5-1-1 Giants who had won the Eastern Conference 3 of the last 4 years. This is the game where Hall of Famer “Concrete” Charlie Bednarik flattened HOFer Frank Gifford, knocking him out of action for nearly 2 years. Philadelphia won 17-14 to take command and rode a 10-2 record to the NFL Championship Game.
In what would go down as the only postseason defeat in Vince Lombardi’s career, a more veteran laden ball club pulled out a 17-13 win. One of the enduring images of that game was the last play when Bart Starr hit Jim Taylor with a short pass and Bednarik saved the day with a tackle on the 9 yard line as time ran out. Having made the last tackle, “Concrete Charlie” bookended the day where he became the last full time two way player in NFL history. He played the entire game at Center and Middle Linebacker. Not a CB coming in as a WR as a gimmick for 5 plays in a game. Hitting on every play as a 35 yr old.
Bednarik would play on for 2 more seasons, however “The Dutchman” or Norm Van Brocklin for the history impaired retired after the title game. He became the 1st starting QB to lead two different teams to championships in NFL history. A feat that took another 55 years to be duplicated. Unlike Peyton Manning’s 9 TD 17 interception performance in 2015, Van Brocklin left a champion after his greatest statistical season.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it generation ESPN/NFL Network newbies.
A history lesson from the desk of The Chancellor of Football. Congratulations Philadelphia Eagles we await to see what your encore will be after a magnificent Super Bowl win.
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