Philadelphia Eagles Team History
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.
In 1943, the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh franchises combined
for one season due to the manpower shortage created by World
War II. The team was called both Phil-Pitt and the Steagles.
Greasy Neale of the Eagles and Walt Kiesling of the Steelers
were co-coaches and the team finished 5-4-1.
Counting the 1943 season, Neale coached the Eagles for 10 seasons
and he led them to their first significant successes in the
NFL. Paced by such future Pro Football Hall of Fame members
as running back Steve Van Buren, center-linebacker Alex Wojciechowicz,
end Pete Pihos and beginning in 1949, center-linebacker Chuck
Bednarik, the Eagles dominated the league for six seasons. They
finished second in the NFL Eastern division in 1944, 1945 and
1946, won the division title in 1947 and then scored successive
shutout victories in the 1948 and 1949 championship games.
A rash of injuries ended Philadelphia's era of domination and,
by 1958, the Eagles had fallen to last place in their division.
That year, however, saw the start of a rebuilding program by
a new coach, Buck Shaw, and the addition of quarterback Norm
Van Brocklin in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams. In just three
years, Shaw gave Philadelphia another championship. Behind Van
Brocklin's expert on-the-field leadership, the Eagles won the
Eastern division with a 10-2 record and then defeated the Green
Bay Packers 17-13 for the NFL championship. Bednarik saved the
day for the Eagles with an open field tackle of Green Bay's
Jimmy Taylor on the game's final play.
The Eagles fell just a half-game short of another NFL Eastern
conference championship in 1961 but didn't reach the playoffs
again for 18 years until 1978, their third season under coach
Dick Vermeil. Vermeil's teams played in four straight post-season
playoffs between 1978 and 1981. In 1980, Philadelphia won a
club-record 12 games, edged out Dallas for the Eastern division
title and then defeated the Cowboys 20-7 for the NFC championship.
However, the Eagles lost to the Oakland Raiders 27-10 in Super
Vermeil's successful tenure was followed by some lean years
until Norman Braman took control of the club in 1985. His rebuilding
program hit its full stride in 1988 when the Eagles won the
NFL Eastern division championship. Starting with that 1988 season,
Philadelphia, which was particularly dominating on defense,
won 10 or more games for five straight years up to 1993. In
four of those years, the Eagles entered the playoffs as a wild-card
team, a feat they repeated in 1995.
The Eagles left the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field
for Veterans Stadium in 1971. In 2003, the team began
play at the new Lincoln Financial Field.