The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the oldest franchise in Pro Football history, having been around since 1899, first as the Frankford Yellow Jackets as an independent team, then as the Eagles from 1924-1931 in the NFL. But since 1933, they’ve been the Eagles as we know them now, with the exception of the 1943 season when they were the Phil-Pitt Steagles when they had to merge with the Steelers because both teams lost players to fight in World War II.
So you see, they’ve been around for a while. That is why they’re 6th in NFL history in regular season victories (548), won 3 NFL Championships (1948, 1949, 1960) before the AFL-NFL Merger, 13 Division titles with 24 playoff appearances.
With such an extensive history, you can imagine there have been several greats that have worn the green and white, which makes it harder to narrow it down to four players who are the most significant in Eagles history. But, that’s why these exercises are fun.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.
Reggie White (1985-1992) 124 sacks with the Green and White rank first in team history, and his 794 tackles with the team are still good for 4th on the team’s all-time list. The “Minister of Defense” gained some serious consideration for being on the Green Bay Packers Mount Rushmore as well, the franchise he won Super Bowl XXXI with. White was a 7-time 1st-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, 1987 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 1987 & 1991 NFC Defensive Player of the Year, and twice led the NFL in sacks (1987,1988) while playing in the “City of Brotherly Love.” The 2005 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee is also a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, as well as its 1990’s and 1980’s All-Decade Teams. The team in his honor retired his Jersey number 92. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 7th on their “100 Greatest Players” list.
Donovan McNabb (1999-2009) was booed by the Philly fans on draft day after being selected second overall in the 1999 NFL Draft, and all he did was become the most accomplished QB in franchise history, and led the team to its second only Super Bowl (XXXIX), five NFC East titles (4 consecutive 2001-2004) and five NFC Championship game appearances while becoming the team’s all-time leader in passing yards (32,873), touchdown passes (216), completions (2,801) and game winning drives (23). McNabb still holds 16 Eagles records, and was the first QB in NFL history to ever throw for more than 30 touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in a season (2004). The 6-time Pro Bowler is a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame, its 75th Anniversary Team and has his number jersey, number 5, retired.
Chuck Bednarik (1949-1962) has an award named after him, therefore like a couple of other players on in my Mount Rushmore’s series for each team, it’s a given he’s on the list. He played both center and linebacker during his time with the Eagles, while leading the team to two NFL Championships (1949, 1960) and earning 10 All-Pro and 8 Pro Bowl selections. Bednarik is a member of the NFL’s 50th and 75th Anniversary All-Time Team’s, as well as its 1950’s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and The Eagles inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1987. His jersey, number 60, is retired by the organization. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 35th on their “100 Greatest Players” list.
Brian Dawkins (1996-2008) was the leader of the Eagles defense that became NFC Champions in 2004 and won 4 consecutive NFC East titles, while playing in five NFC Championship games. Dawkins is the first player in NFL history to have 30 interceptions and 30 sacks in a career, and to record a sack, forced fumble, interception and catch a touchdown pass in the same game. He made 5 All-Pro (4 1st-Team) teams and 7 Pro Bowls as an Eagle. He’s a member of the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team and the Eagles 75th Anniversary team. The team retired his jersey, number 20, and he’s eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
What you think Philly fans? I know how tough you guys can be. Would this be your Mount Rushmore, or is there a name missing you’d put on here? And if so, you would you replace?