What are the best moments for each NFL franchise? Yahoo Sports provides our opinion, which you are free to disagree with (and we’re sure you will).
5. Norman Braman buys the Eagles
This is a pivotal point in the history of the franchise that, had it gone the other way, would put this among the organization’s worst moments. Yes, in 1984 then-owner Leonard Tose had a handshake agreement to sell to a Phoenix-area real estate developer who would have then uprooted Philly’s beloved Eagles. It was only after some last-minute dealmaking between the team, the league office and the city that the lease terms of Veterans Stadium were altered and an arrangement made for Tose to sell to a buyer who would promise to keep the team in Philadelphia. That buyer was auto dealer Norman Braman, a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, who indeed kept the team in town and sold it to Jeffrey Lurie in 1994.
4. Winning the 1980 NFC championship game
Whether it happens in September or January, beating the Dallas Cowboys always feels good. Even when it’s 12 degrees. The intra-divisional gamesmanship started before the 1980 NFC championship game, as the Eagles took the field at the Vet clad in white, forcing the Cowboys to wear the dreaded bad-luck blue duds. Dick Vermeil and Marion Campbell’s defense relentlessly harassed Danny White and bottled up Tony Dorsett, allowing the latter to rush for just 41 yards while the Eagles got 194 rushing yards from Wilbert Montgomery alone. Between 1961-77, the Eagles never made the playoffs. Between 1978 and 1981, they made it to the postseason four times, including 1980 and the organization’s first-ever Super Bowl berth.
3. Andy Reid finally wins the NFC championship game
This was a reckoning. After three straight losses in the NFC title game, the Eagles finally got over. “Gimme some respect right now!” Brian Dawkins screamed into Terry Bradshaw’s microphone after Philadelphia upended the Falcons and Michael Vick in the 2004 NFC championship. It’s a moment seared into the memory of every Eagles fan worth his or her salt, as were the hits that Dawkins dished out – to Vick and Alge Crumpler in particular. The high-water mark of the Andy Reid era marked the end of a four-year odyssey in which the team, despite top-flight talent, had fallen just short of the Super Bowl three years running. But not in 2004. It was on to Jacksonville to face the New England Patriots.
2. The 1999 offseason
It’s hard to believe looking back that when Andy Reid was hired away from the Green Bay Packers in early January of 1999, he was the second-youngest head coach in the NFL – only Jon Gruden was younger. The gamble in bringing a 40-year-old quarterbacks coach to turn around a 3-13 outfit paid off and then some. Reid installed Jim Johnson as his defensive coordinator and quickly assembled a staff that featured seven – seven – future NFL head coaches from that season alone. Four months after Reid was hired, he and his staff passed on selecting Heisman Trophy winning running back Ricky Williams in favor of the man who finished fifth on the ballot, Donovan McNabb, at No. 2 overall. The Eagles then embarked on the longest sustained run of success in franchise history, making the playoffs nine of the next 12 years, winning six NFC East titles and one conference crown.
1. Winning the 1960 NFL championship game
The Eagles won Philadelphia’s most recent NFL championship on home turf at Franklin Field over the up-and-coming Green Bay Packers under second-year coach Vince Lombardi. You know how each of the respective teams’ fortunes turned out afterward. The game marked the end of Norm Van Brocklin’s Hall of Fame career. Van Brocklin started ahead of 26-year-old Sonny Jurgensen, and he shared the field that day with 10 more men who would go on to be enshrined in Canton.