The NFC East is home to 12 Super Bowl victories among the four story-rich franchises. Five for the Cowboys in Dallas. Four for the G-Men in the Big Apple. Three for the Redskins at our nation’s capital. And zero for the Philadelphia Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love. Yes, the Eagles remain the underperformer of such a competitive division, but their history still holds some astronomical highs and of course some devastating lows.
Philadelphia is a sports haven and should be celebrated for it, despite a reputation for intense and sometimes obnoxious fans. Here are the 10 greatest moments in Philadelphia Eagles history.
10. Fourth Down and 26 Yards To Go
One of the greatest games in Eagles history, Donovan McNabb and company faced a one-and-done situation while trailing Favre’s Cheeseheads. After claiming the top seed in the NFC in 2003 and watching Green Bay squeak out a win during Wildcard Weekend in overtime, it took a miracle play in order for momentum to finally be on Philly’s side.
Green Bay led for the entire time, up 14-0 and later up 17-14 with the two-minute warning looming. A false start penalty and a sack put them in the perilous situation of 4th and 26. With 72 ticks left in the game, McNabb threw a perfect dart to Freddie Mitchell in stride giving them 28 yards. It was all they needed to finally take over.
Akers would kick a game-tying and eventual game-winning field goal after a Brian Dawkins‘ interception in overtime. The Eagles would later get ousted by the Panthers in the NFC title game, but their time would come the following season.
9. Miracle in the Meadowlands: Part II
Despite the Giants having a slight edge in the rivalry with an 84-80 record against the Eagles, Philly has pulled off some miraculous victories. During Michael Vick‘s renaissance, one of the brightest victories of the season came as a 21-point comeback.
Down 31-10 against Eli and company, the high-flying Eagles scored 28 unanswered points in the final eight minutes of play. The game’s frantic finish came to a conclusion with the game to be decided by a punt return.
DeSean Jackson fumbled the ball, picked it back up and took it to the house in one of the greatest comebacks the NFL has ever seen.
8. Michael Vick wins Comeback Player of the Year
In his second year back from his prison sentence, he became the starter for the Eagles and gave them a season to remember. He went 8-3 in 11 starts and led them to the playoffs after Kolb’s disappointing 2-3 start to the season.
Memorable games piled up with the best statistical season of Vick’s career. Vick’s first game back was a 28-3 win over the Jags. He lit up the Redskins on Monday night 59-28. Vick was under center for Miracle of the Meadowlands Part II.
Whether or not we can forgive Vick for his actions, he had an amazing campaign and won Comeback Player of the Year. His torrid season even earned him MVP consideration before Brady won by a unanimous decision.
7. The Fog Bowl
Randall Cunningham stormed into Soldier Field but was surrounded by the daunting ’80’s Bears defense and an even more intimidating thick fog. Audiences couldn’t witness the action. Players couldn’t see beyond 15 yards.
The Bears in 1988 still ranked as the second best defense in the league and had one of the most daunting home-field advantages. But that didn’t stop the greatest playoff performance by an Eagles quarterback in franchise history.
Randall Cunningham finished the game 27-for-54 for 407 yards. His pass attempts and yards were franchise records in the playoffs that still have not been surpassed almost thirty years later. It wasn’t the best performance but it still is one to remember against the 12-4 Bears.
6. Miracle at the Meadowlands
Kneeling the ball is football 101. It is mandatory to do so to secure a win. And the Miracle at the Meadowlands is a strong reminder of basic football.
The Giants were up 17-12 and ready to win to finalize a great upset. But when Joe Pisarcik decided to run the ball instead of kneeling it, he fumbled it on the handoff to Larry Csonka. Herm Edwards for the Eagles picked it up and won the game for them 26 yards later 19-17.
One of the greatest moments in Eagles lore.
5. Harold Carmichael Creates the Back-shoulder Fade
Wide receiver Carmichael was a Goliath on the turf. Standing at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, he dominated defenses when healthy. During his four Pro Bowl campaigns and his 1973 campaign where he led the league in yards, his back shoulder fade was increasingly deadly. Once the Eagles perfected the move, it was nearly unstoppable.
A play that fills every team’s playbook in the red zone today is indebted to the giant himself, Carmichael.
4. Reggie White‘s 1987 Torrid Run
In just his third season in the league, White had one of the greatest defensive seasons of all time. In just twelve games he tallied 21 sacks. In comparison, Michael Strahan racked up 22.5 sacks in 16 games. They only went 7-8 in the shortened season.
Ranked as the seventh greatest player to hit the gridiron, he is famous for his three sacks in Super Bowl 31 to give the Packers the championship. But he will always be an Eagle at heart with eight memorable seasons. Ranking second in all-time sacks, his 1987 campaign for the Eagles goes down as the best individual seasons in franchise history.
3. 1981 Super Bowl Appearance
It was the last ring for the Raiders, and it came at the expense of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Super Bowl was all Oakland, winning 27-10 with terrific performances from quarterback Jim Plunkett and linebacker Rod Martin.
But for Philadelphia, it was a terrific season that developed into their first Super Bowl appearance. They boasted a 12-4 record, the most wins in franchise history. For the first time since 1949, they ranked first in overall point differential. Not to mention their number one defensive rank in the league and it truly was a team to remember.
Ron Jaworski and Harold Carmichael formed a dynamic duo to balance their defense that came up just a game short of eternal glory.
2. The McNabb-Reid Era
Truly the greatest era in Eagles history, this 11-year duo showcased the strongest run for the franchise. The worst part for the loyal fans, they couldn’t climb the mountain top. Reid and McNabb guided the team to five NFC Championship games including four straight appearances.
Their lone NFC title win came in 2004 when they eventually lost to the Brady-Belichick dynasty.
This dynasty remained as one of the best teams of the 2000’s with all-time franchise greats in Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens (briefly), and a flurry of mediocre receivers.
This era hurts fans’ hearts for how close they came, but it should be celebrated for their decade of dominance.
1. Philadelphia Eagles 1960 Championship
It was their last title in franchise history coming just six seasons before the Super Bowl was born. Of the Eagles three championships, this one was their crown jewel. Giving Vince Lombardi his only postseason blemish was the icing on the cake.
The Packers were favored despite an inferior record and ultimately fell to the Eagles 17-13. Quarterback Norm Van Brocklin led the team with an All-Pro season alongside great defensive players in cornerback Tom Brookshier, linebacker Maxie Baughan, lineman Tommy McDonald, defensive end Pete Retzlaff and of course arguably the Eagles’ greatest player of all time in Chuck Bednarik.
Truly their defining moment and their greatest team.