The Eagles have been a Philadelphia institution since
their beginning in 1933 when a syndicate headed by
the late Bert Bell and Lud Wray purchased the former
Frankford Yellowjackets franchise for $2,500. In 1941,
a unique swap took place between Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh that saw the clubs trade home cities with
Alexis Thompson becoming the Eagles owner.
Philadelphia Eagles, professional football team and
one of four teams in the Eastern Division of the National
Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football
League (NFL). The Eagles played at Veterans Stadium
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for years, but in 2003
opened their new stadium Lincoln Financial Field.
They wear uniforms of green, silver, black, and white.
The team began play in 1924 as the Frankford (Pennsylvania)
Yellow Jackets. Owners Bert Bell and Lud Wray moved
the team to Philadelphia in 1933 and changed its name
to the Eagles after the symbol of the National Recovery
Administration, which had been created as part of
the New Deal.
The Eagles captured three NFL titles from 1948 to
1960, earning consecutive crowns in 1948 and 1949
under head coach Earle “Greasy” Neale.
His potent offensive squad starred future Hall of
Fame members end Pete Pihos, halfback Steve Van Buren,
and center Chuck Bednarik, who also played linebacker
for the defensive unit.
Led by wide receiver Harold Carmichael and quarterback
Ron Jaworski, Philadelphia played in Super Bowl XV
in 1981 but lost to the Oakland Raiders. The club
qualified for the playoffs six times from 1988 to
1996, with lineups starring wide receiver Fred Barnett,
quarterback Randall Cunningham, running backs Herschel
Walker and Ricky Watters, and defensive end Reggie
In 1933 Bert Bell and Lud Wray bought the NFL’s
Frankford Yellow Jackets and moved the team to Philadelphia.
Renamed the Eagles, the club struggled, posting losing
records in each of its first ten seasons.
By the mid-1940s, however, the Eagles had improved.
From 1947 to 1949, Greasy Neale piloted the club to
three consecutive Eastern Division crowns and two
league titles. Steve Van Buren, a mainstay of these
teams, captured three of his four NFL rushing titles
from 1947 to 1949. Pete Pihos led the league in receptions
three times during his career and in receiving yards
twice. Chuck Bednarik missed just three games in 14
seasons in Philadelphia.
After posting five losing records in the 1950s, the
Eagles won their third NFL crown in 1960. Quarterback
Norm Van Brocklin, playing his final season, was named
the league’s most valuable player (MVP) after
passing for nearly 2500 yards. Van Brocklin’s
favorite targets, wide receivers Tommy McDonald and
Pete Retzlaff, helped Philadelphia rally to defeat
the Green Bay Packers in the championship game.
In 1961 Van Brocklin was replaced at quarterback
by another eventual Hall of Fame member, Sonny Jurgensen.
In his first full season Jurgensen threw for a league-record
3723 yards, breaking the previous mark by more than
600 yards. (The record is now held by Dan Marino of
the Miami Dolphins, who threw for 5084 yards in 1984.)
Nearly a third of Jurgensen’s yards went to
McDonald, who led the league in yardage (1144) and
From 1962 through 1977 Philadelphia employed six
different head coaches, but the team could not remain
an NFL force. Although the Eagles boasted individual
stars in running back Timmy Brown, wide receiver Harold
Jackson, quarterback Roman Gabriel, and linebacker
Bill Bergey, the Eagles did not reach the playoffs
until 1978, Dick Vermeil’s second year as head
From 1978 to 1981 Vermeil guided the Eagles to four
consecutive playoff appearances. In 1981 the team
advanced to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the
Oakland Raiders 27-10.
After a six-year playoff drought, Philadelphia qualified
for the postseason four times from 1988 to 1992. Guided
by former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Buddy
Ryan, the Eagles developed a slashing offense centered
around Randall Cunningham, who became a skilled passer
and also emerged as one of the greatest running quarterbacks
in NFL history. Cunningham was the Eagles’ top
rusher each year from 1987 to 1990; in 1990 he threw
for 30 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1000 yards.
Under head coach Ray Rhodes, Philadelphia earned Wild
Card berths in the playoffs in 1995 and 1996.
1981 Super Bowl XV Lost to Oakland Raiders, 27-10.
2005 Super Bowl Lost to New England Patriots
Club Records >>
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