Tag Archives: philadelphia

God, I’m old

July 4, 1776 was not the birth of the U.S.A. It was the day that the colonists said, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.” After that, grab your guns ’cause war is a-comin’.

July 12, 1776 – The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were underway, approved for ratification in 1777, and formally ratified March 1, 1781. THIS could be an official birthday of the United States of America, which, before this date, were a loose collection of 13 colonies.

September 3, 1783 – Nine years later, the Revolutionary War officially ended, the Treaty of Paris was signed, and England recognized the 13 colonies as independent. THIS would be the birthday of the United States, in my opinion. Now we were an independent entity, as recognized by the world.

June 21, 1788 – New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and formalized the central federal government of the Republic. This would be the birthday for the U.S. federal government, I suppose.

Dec. 15, 1791 – The first 10 amendments to the Constitution (collectively “the Bill of Rights”) was ratified, 15 years after a bunch of old fogies in Philadelphia decided to get uppity.

Ever since, it seems, the United States has been at war with one country, group, or other entity (primarily Native American tribes) over its entire lifetime, right up to the Korean War, which ended in 1953. For a brief time, we were at peace.

June, 1954 – I was born.

I have lived for more than a quarter of this country’s existence.

I have lived under 11 of the 44 presidents, soon 12 out of 45. I was named after the 34th president, in whose term I was born. Dwight Eisenhower, the first Pennsylvania Dutch president (look it up), had a long list of accomplishments, many impressive – from establishing the national system of highways to the creation of NASA. His vice president was Richard Nixon, and his nephew David would eventually marry Nixon’s daughter Julie. But I digress.

JFK, RFK, MLK, LBJ, Richard M. Nixon and Spiro Agnew… these are not historical figures to me; they were “current events” when I was in school. We researched the Cuban Missile Crisis in real time for class, using Time, Newsweek, and other magazines and newspapers printed on paper. The riots around the 1968 Democratic Convention, hippies, Viet Nam War protests, Kent State, Woodstock, the Cold War, all headlines in newspapers and network news of my youth.

Mine was the generation taught to cower underneath our school desks, in preparation for the day when a nuclear blast would vaporize us in about a tenth of a second. I remember exploring the fallout shelter in the basement of my junior high school, marvelling at all of the sealed drums of saltines and walls of toilet paper. (No, it would not have kept us safe from a nuclear strike OR fallout, but at least we could wipe our…uh…crackers.)

Although born in the 50s, I’ve always considered myself a “child of the 60s” (ages 6-16). These were formative years and an interesting time to be growing up in America. (White suburban America, I should point out.)

Television & Movies

The earliest movie I remember seeing was Babes in Toyland at the Lansdowne movie theater. Don’t remember anything about the movie, but IMDB tells me that it came out in 1961 (I was 7) and starred Annette Funicello, Ray Bolger, and somebody named Tommy Sands. Ed Wynn, great character actor, was the Toymaker, and a very young Ann Jillian (would have been 11 or so) played Bo Peep. I don’t remember any of the movie, the plot, or the actors that were in it, I only remember that it’s the first movie I went to see.

Lansdowne Movie Theater

Movies you see when you’re young and impressionable have a far greater impact than movies you see later in life. (“Get ’em while they’re young.”) Great movies of the 1960s include (in no particular order)
Psycho
2001: a space odyssey
Lawrence of Arabia
The Graduate
Rosemary’s Baby
The Sound of Music
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Birds
Cool Hand Luke
To Kill a Mockingbird
Mary Poppins
The Manchurian Candidate
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Planet of the Apes
The Dirty Dozen
Dr. No / Goldfinger / Thunderball / From Russia With Love
Cleopatra
The Village of the Damned
The Jungle Book
Easy Rider
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Original episodes of I Love Lucy aired during my lifetime, but I was two, almost three when the series ended and went into reruns. The Ed Sullivan Show owned Sunday nights, was the leading source of entertainment, and something we waited all week for. This was the show that introduced The Beatles to the U.S., showed Elvis Presley from the hips UP, and toward the end rocked the house with a 12 year old blind kid, Stevie Wonder. It would feature acrobats, spinning dishes on poles, dancers, and a haunting little sockpuppet, Topo Gigio.

One of my early TV favorites was (The Many Loves of) Dobie Gillis (1959-1963). (C’mon – Tuesday Weld was Dobie’s love interest.) My youth was a great time to be a young TV watcher – The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the original Star Trek, and a very young Robert Loggia in T.H.E. Cat (a series very few remember). Along with Star Trek, my other favorite series was I Spy, starring Robert Culp and Bill (before he was famous) Cosby. I loved Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Avengers (when I could see it – Diana Rigg), My Favorite Martian, The Green Hornet, a very bad Batman (not a fan of the Adam West series, in hindsight). The 1960s was prime television time.

Comedies:
Bewitched
The Dick van Dyke Show
The Beverly Hillbillies
Gilligan’s Island
The Addams Family
Green Acres
Hogan’s Heroes (yes, Nazis were funny in the 60s)
The Munsters
Petticoat Junction
Leave It to Beaver
Get Smart
Mister Ed
I Dream of Jeannie
Make Room for Daddy
Father Knows Best
My Three Sons
McHale’s Navy
My Favorite Martian
That Girl
Dennis the Menace
The Monkees
Car 54 Where Are You?
Family Affair
Bachelor Father
Courtship of Eddie’s Father
The Patty Duke Show
The Flying Nun
Hazel
The Real McCoys
The Jackie Gleason Show
Gidget
My Mother the Car

Dramas:
Lost in Space (ick)
Perry Mason
Adam-12
The Twilight Zone
Dark Shadows
The Fugitive
Daniel Boone
Columbo (1968)
Ben Casey
Ironside
Burke’s Law
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
77 Sunset Strip
The Mod Squad (1968)
The Defenders

Westerns were big in the 60s:
Bonanza (No. 1 with a bullet)
Marshal Dillon
Maverick
The Rifleman
Rawhide
Cheyenne
The Virginian
Have Gun Will Travel
Sugarfoot
Death Valley Days
and, of course, The Wild Wild West
For laughs, let us not forget F Troop

In animation, we had Tobor, the 8th Man after school, Popeye, Mr. Magoo, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Yogi Bear, Astro Boy, Jonny Quest, Underdog, Space Ghost & Dino Boy, The Road Runner, Spiderman, the original Jetsons and Flintstones (before they got cheap and cheesy) in the evenings, and a whole host of other cartoon shows beneath mention.

The very first Law & Order episode was still decades away.

Jean points out that television broke out of the studio in the 1970s in favor of the great outdoors – Streets of San Francisco, Kojak, Baretta, Cannon (large man in a Lincoln, a Quinn Martin production), and the great Rockford Files.

We had four channels – NBC, CBS, ABC, and then WHYY (1963). I remember when networks would “sign off” at midnight, playing the Star Spangled Banner, before turning into a test pattern. Only Johnny Carson went a bit later. (Carson succeeded Jack Paar in 1962, so he was the first late show host I would remember.) When UHF was eventually added (along with circular antennae to augment the standard rabbit ears), we had several more channels (17, 29, 48, and later 57), even if reception was spotty at times. UHF was nothing more than reruns of broadcast series and old movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s; very little original programming. Still, two of these channels would grow up to be Fox and the CW. Although most broadcast stations would continue to sign off for the night (or go to infomercials), it was soon possible to stay up all night watching old movies, and I did. I think I saw every film ever made by John Wayne, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Glenn Ford (my favorite), etc. Yes, of course, I had a crush on Doris Day and I thought that Hedy Lamarr had to be the most incredibly beautiful woman ever on the face of this earth. (Okay… Grace Kelly, the exquisite Elizabeth Taylor, and the woman who personified SEX to a lot of young teenagers, Marilyn Monroe. Let us not forget them.) I spent many a late night watching old movies. All in black and white on a 17″ television screen in the kitchen.

I did not see The Wizard of Oz in color until well into my teen years. Before then, I had no idea what all the fuss was about when Dorothy first opened the door and looked out on Oz.

Music

When I was still very young (I want to say age 6), I appeared on a local WCAU-TV show as a pianist. The host would talk about classical music, and then I would play a short example. There was a script with the text and musical snippets, but it must be long gone by now. For my troubles, the station gave me a Sunoco-branded transistor radio, which was built to look like a miniature gas pump. No doubt, the TV station got them for free (promotional purposes), but I didn’t know or care. Loved it. (In retrospect, I’ve felt cheated ever since. Where’s the $$$? Shoulda joined the musician’s union.)

Since I was a classically-trained pianist until age 16, I was late coming to the popular music of the day. Missed the British Invasion by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but leaned toward more complex music, rather than the 3-minute, one-idea radio tunes. For a variety show in high school, I performed my own piano solo version of Mason Williams’ Classical Gas. (YouTube) Someone tried to indoctrinate me into the masterworks of a young Bob Dylan, but it didn’t take (did not care for his voice). Not long after, I was heavily into Genesis (with peter gabriel), Loggins & Messina, The Doobie Brothers. Late 60s to mid 70s was a glorious time of growth in rock, but it’s all just tailed off since then (in my not humble opinion).

I was about 16 when I first heard music in STEREO. It was Emerson, Lake, and Palmer on an 8-track player in my brother’s old VW bug. The rotating drums at the end of Lucky Man was a revelation. The original Sony Walkman wouldn’t arrive until I was well into my 20s. My first car had an 8-track player (1972 Ford Pinto). Subsequent cars had cassette tape decks, and I made myself a million “driving mixes.” My son was born the same year the Compact Disc became widely available.

An older friend took me to the bar at the local Holiday Inn to hear a three-piece jazz combo. Like many a classically trained musician, I marvelled at how they could take a theme and then go off to heights unknown, without sheet music, without script, and then somehow manage to bring it all back to the beginning theme again. Ever since, I have made it my mission to be able to improvise freely, to “make it up as I played it.” Classical Gas may well have been the last piece of sheet music I ever used.

Pre-Tech


Needless to say, we did not have smartphones, CDs, VHS, or even computers. We had rotary phones (stick your finger in and rotate the dial). At the summer cottage in Maine, we had a party line – you could pick up the phone and hear your neighbor’s conversation.

Rotary Phone

For entertainment, we would actually “go outside and play.” This was unscheduled, uncoordinated, unstructured playtime with no parental or adult supervision or oversight, believe it or not. Two-hand-touch football was a standard. Roof ball (bouncing a tennis ball off of the eaves of the house) was a constant. My favorite toy was a stick – it could be anything, from a sword to a rifle. I climbed trees a lot and basically just roamed around.

For a time in the mid-60s, I would take the old Pennsylvania Railroad into Philadelphia each week for piano lessons. Noisy, windy old rail cars in an ugly dark red color, occasionally an equally ugly dark green. We lived about equidistant from both the Overbrook and Wynnewood stations on the old Main Line (now Paoli-Thorndale route), so I would walk to one or the other. Wynnewood had the stores, but Overbrook was a better walk.

Pennsylvania Railroad

When I first became aware of cars, most families had only one, and we would laugh today at what was considered a traffic jam back then. There was no trouble at all finding an open road, and “the country” started much closer to town than it does today. I was 10 years old when I was first captivated by the all-new Ford Mustang. The Mustang just celebrated its 50th anniversary year. (I think I learned about a new “rock ‘n’ roll” group called The Beatles in that same year.)

Cars in the early 1960s reflected the country as a whole – wide open spaces. There was plenty of sheet metal, with plenty of gaps. Plenty of wasted space under the hood and within the cabin. Aerodynamics and wind drag wouldn’t come into play until the late 1970s. Vinyl-covered bench seats up front (without seat belts) let you slide from side to side in the turns. This is when you could squeeze four across, with extra bodies in laps, if necessary. Safety was not a concern, and it’s a wonder that the species survived this era. More and more attention was paid to power and acceleration, while the technology of stopping would lag behind.

The Philadelphia Suburbs

King of Prussia Mall opened in 1963 in the middle of nowhere. This was only what we call the Plaza today, more of an open-air shopping center, but understand that the Plaza has since been expanded, itself. There was a J.C.Penney anchoring one end, a cheapo department store E.J. Korvette, and an Acme. Later, Gimbel’s and Wanamaker’s would come in, and the mall would be enclosed. For Philly-area folks, there was no Blue Route. The best way to get to King of Prussia was to drive out Route 352 and then take King of Prussia Road (the back way). Or take Montgomery Avenue/Gulph Road all the way out.

Exton Square Mall would open ten years later in 1973, Springfield and Granite Run Malls shortly thereafter. Malls would become THE place to be, for everything, and then fall out of fashion, all since the 1960s. Times change.

Granite Run Mall 1974-2015, R.I.P.
Granite Run Mall 1974-2015, R.I.P.

Pre-dating the King of Prussia Mall was the Bazaar of All Nations in Clifton Heights (Baltimore Pike). This was an early attempt at a mall – a collection of shops all under one roof. The shops were ultra-quirky, but so were the customers. You could get a custom t-shirt imprinted or find those special frames for wall mountings. Didn’t much like the place, but there were times when I HAD to go there, for something you couldn’t find anywhere else.

The local Blue Laws were in effect for all of my childhood. This meant that almost nothing was open on a Sunday. This grew out of misguided christian thinking, which assumed that everyone was christian and/or all christians kept the Sabbath holy. (For instance, even still, Pennsylvania car dealerships are closed on Sundays.)

One of the very few stores open on a Sunday was Wawa Food Markets (“Mama, I want my Wawa.”). Back when my weekly allowance was a quarter (that’s right, 25 cents), I would go to Wawa on Sunday and pick up the latest comic book (12¢) and a TastyKake (10¢) and three pretzel rods out of the container on the counter (1¢ each). When I was 18, I was working at that Wawa, still the only thing open on Sundays. We were busy with a constant line of customers, all buying their Sunday papers*, milk and eggs, and sliced deli. For sure, the staff had to kick it up a notch on Sundays, but it was actually fun. The only game in town.

* By papers, I mean newspapers. These were oddly shaped, folded, thin paper reading materials that we bought to find out what was happening locally and around the world (“news”). Philadelphia had two major papers – The Philadelphia Inquirer (morning) and The Philadelphia Bulletin (evening). This was before the internet, before 24-hour cable news networks. The news in these newspapers could be as much as a full day old, but this is how we consumed our “news media.” In particular, the Sunday edition (which always came out on Saturday) would be three to five times as thick as usual, crammed with articles of local interest, sections on entertainment, style, living, and all of the advertising circulars and the all-important Sunday comics in color.

The Route 104 Red Arrow line ran on tracks from 69th Street all the way out to West Chester. (Think: day trip.) The trollies were replaced by buses in the year I was born. Still, Route 3 has seen a LOT of construction over the past 60 years. But I remember when there was NOTHING between Newtown Square and West Chester, except the Dairy Queen in Edgemont. Civilization is slowly creeping westward out of Newtown Square, but it may be rethought. It seems that the young generation is rediscovering city life, leaving the suburbs/mortgages/yardwork/cummuting/cars behind.

The more things change…

No. 5 Will Always Love You

Donovan McNabb has just been nominated for induction into the National Football League Hall of Fame.

As a fan of a certain age, I can break down Eagles history into three parts: pre-Andy Reid, Andy Reid, and post-Andy Reid.

Pre-Andy Reid

Jeffrey Lurie bought the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994, just in time for nobody’s favorite head coach Rich Kotite to decide it was time to negotiate a contract extension. Kotite had the bad luck of following Buddy Ryan, who WAS a fan favorite (although he never won squat), and his four seasons were lackluster at best. After the Eagles started the 1994 season at 7-2, Lurie said he wouldn’t renew Kotite’s contract, Kotite declared his intention to “explore his options,” and the team fell apart, losing all of the remaining seven games to finish 7-9. The chemistry between Kotite and the new owner (let alone the fans) was never good, and Lurie wasted no time in firing Kotite the day after the final game of 1994. It was Kotite’s only losing season.

People are coming to your house, trying to break into your house, probably sodomize your wife and kids and you don’t do anything about it. –Ray Rhodes

After interviewing several top-level prospects (including the possible return to the NFL of Dick Vermeil), Lurie chose the defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers, Ray Rhodes, to reconstruct the Eagles team. A large portion of Kotite’s team was cut and replaced with journeymen free agents, and Rhodes, with his bluster and bravado about rapists breaking into the house and sodomizing the players’ wives, would put together a pair of 10-6 seasons, taking the team back to the playoffs each time. Rhodes was hailed as a savior, NFL Coach of the Year, and could have successfully run for mayor of Philadelphia after his first season. His second season ended with a loss in the Wild Card playoff game, and the following two seasons continued a downward trend (6-9-1, then 3-13), and Rhodes soon wore out his own welcome.

Andy Reid

After the meteoric rise and just-as-meteoric fall of coach Rhodes, Lurie began again the search for a new coach to lead the Philadelphia Eagles. He had a chance this time to truly pick “his man” to finally take the team to the Promised Land. To everyone’s surprise, he chose the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers, Andy Reid, who was on no one’s radar as a possibility. Reid had apparently created a buzz within the NFL as “someone to watch,” but he was a virtual unknown outside the biz.

Eagles fans were stunned, not knowing what to think. In the end, we decided that we’d be patient with the new coach, just happy that Rhodes was gone. Patient, at least, until the NFL Draft in April.

Because of the 3-13 record in 1998, new coach Reid found himself holding the 2nd pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Having worked so well with Brett Favre, Reid knew that the best foundation of an NFL team was a solid and talented quarterback, and he had several top picks in front of him. 1999 was supposedly extra deep in great young quarterbacks coming out of college. Reid decided on Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb. Tim Couch (KY) was chosen first by the Browns, Akili Smith (Oregon – remember him?) went as the 3rd pick to the Bengals. Daunte Culpepper and Cade McNown followed at picks 11 and 12 to Minnesota and Chicago, respectively, for a total of five quarterbacks taken in just the first round of the draft. Of all five, McNabb unquestionably had the longest and best career in the NFL.

Picked No. 2 overall, McNabb was infamously booed by Philly rowdies. They were not booing McNabb, per se, but rather the pick. These fans had fallen in love with the flash and sizzle of running back Ricky Williams and fully expected the Eagles to swoop him up. Coach Reid instead went for the meat and potatoes of a promising rookie quarterback, dashing those dreams. McNabb was not booed, the lack of Ricky Williams was. Still, the booing of McNabb is all that anyone would remember, especially Donovan McNabb.

Coach Reid also knew that a quarterback is only as good as the offensive line in front of him, and so spent two more high draft picks there: Doug Brzezinski (G) and John Welbourn (T).

At the Lehigh training camp that year, I remember watching the quarterbacks warming up. Doug Pederson was the named starter, brought out from Green Bay by new head coach Andy Reid. He was competent, threw a nice ball, certainly on target (given the lack of any defensive pass rush). Then the backup Ty Detmer warmed up, and was singularly unimpressive. Finally, it was the rookie’s turn. ZIP. He threw a bullet so fast that if you blinked, you missed it. As I watched him, I believed that I was watching a thoroughbred among the plodders, someone who was born to be an NFL quarterback. (I don’t overstate – I was amazed.)

The 1999 season saw Doug Pederson start out 0-4, with the rookie McNabb seeing limited action in the second half of the second game. After 0-4 became a 2-7 record, Coach Reid, deciding that the season was lost anyway, finally threw McNabb in as a starting quarterback in game 10 against the Washington Redskins. Even with a poor passing performance, McNabb would win the game 35-28, and the legend of Donovan McNabb was born.

After his rookie season, McNabb and the Eagles would put together a string of amazing years. In 2000, the Eagles went 11-5, won a Wild Card playoff game, then lost in the Divisional round. In 2001, another 11-5 record, and then all the way to the NFC Championship Game. They lost, but the fans didn’t really expect a win that year. 2002, 12-4, and another trip to the NFC Championship. This time, we fully expected the Eagles to go on to the Super Bowl, but the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who “never win in cold weather”) would surprise everyone. Okay, then in 2003 another 12-4 record, and another NFC Championship Game. This time, for sure. But no, the stinkin’ Carolina Panthers – the PANTHERS – would beat the Eagles and end their season. Great. Finally in 2004, the Eagles ran up a 13-3* record, FINALLY got over the NFC Championship Game by beating the Atlanta Falcons (with Michael Vick), and went on to a Super Bowl appearance. Of course, the AFC was represented by the New England Patriots, and although the Eagles were in the game the whole way, they could not steal a win. (*The Eagles could actually have gone 15-1 that year, but for resting starters in their final two games, once home field advantage had been sewn up. See “The Myth of Terrell Owens.”)

Super Bowl XXXIX

That five-year stretch, as historically amazing as it was, defined McNabb’s tenure in Philadelphia. The four NFC Championship appearances should have been joyful, but were actually very frustrating and defeating for the fans. It seemed we would never “get over the hump,” and then when we did, we couldn’t “seal the deal.” As Philadelphia fans, we could make fun of the Buffalo Bills fans – their team was in FOUR STRAIGHT Super Bowls, but could never win one of them. We would have traded places with them gladly, but that was until we tasted consecutive defeats, ourselves. The fans soured on McNabb.

Donovan McNabb would go on to break almost every record (if not every record) by Eagles quarterbacks. His four straight appearances at the NFC Championship Game was an historic achievement for the Eagles, however frustrating, and his trip to one Super Bowl put him in the pantheon with Ron “Jaws” Jaworski (both lost). His head coach, Andy Reid, should have been as beloved in Philadelphia as the previous coach to take an Eagles team to the Super Bowl, Dick Vermeil. (Both coaches have an “ei” combination in their last names. Coincidence? I don’t think so.)

For Eagles fans who hadn’t seen a championship team since the pre-merged-NFL 1960 game at Franklin Field (so long ago that Lambeau Field was still called City Stadium), just “getting to” a Super Bowl was legend. Ron Jaworski lost a Super Bowl, but probably still can’t buy a drink in Philly with his own money. Dick Vermeil burned out and left coaching to broadcast college football games for 15 years, before finally getting back into coaching with the St. Louis Rams (won a Super Bowl) and Kansas City Chiefs. Even so, he is beloved by Eagles fans and will always be known as an Eagles coach.

One wonders what McNabb’s legacy would have been, had he retired after the 2004 season.

2005 was the Year of the Terrible Terrell, in which wide receiver Terrell Owens threw a hissy fit and destroyed the chemistry of the team. In 2005 through 2007, McNabb suffered a series of injuries that put him on the sidelines for long stretches. During this time, his backup, Jeff Garcia, became a Philly folk hero, A.J. Feeley became the Next Great Hope, and even the upcoming rookie Kevin Kolb (NOT the “quarterback of the future”) saw some playing time. After three subpar seasons, McNabb returned to form in 2008, and the Eagles once again made it to an NFC Championship game. But that would prove to be the denouement to McNabb’s career in Philadelphia, and he would ultimately be traded to the Washington Redskins in 2010.

Andy Reid would play merry-go-round with quarterbacks Jeff Garcia, A.J. Feeley, Kevin Kolb, and then finally settle on a reconstituted Michael Vick going forward. But he could never recapture the gold of the early years, and the Eagles would suffer diminishing returns from 2009 through Reid’s last year 2012.

Hanging over McNabb always was the hurt of having been booed and the constant fan appraisal that he “didn’t have the fire,” didn’t burn to win. He was a more cerebral quarterback than we were used to, less emotional. Like his coach, McNabb’s press conferences were almost always a flat monotone, with hesitant, considered answers, and we related this to his style of play. Even though McNabb and the West Coast style of offense kept winning and winning, it was, in the final sum, boring. This was dry, technical football, devoid of the highs and lows, by comparison, of the Buddy Ryan teams that Philly loved. And when the team could no longer put together a drive toward the Super Bowl, the love affair was over.

Football is, after all, entertainment. If it’s not fun to watch, it stops being entertaining.

McNabb would move on, and Andy Reid would hang around a few more years too long.

Post-Andy Reid

Jeffrey Lurie always found one reason or another to keep Reid around for one more year, but eventually had to cut ties with him after the 2012 season.

That year, all of the talk was about the Greatest College Coach of All Time, Chip Kelly. Lurie entered the lottery of teams trying to sign him and eventually did. Unfortunately, over the course of three seasons, Kelly would completely dismantle and lay waste to the Eagles football team. His act wore thin quickly, and three years was enough for Lurie. The personnel moves and coaching style were far too questionable for the owner and the fans, and so Kelly had to go.

So now we return to the Andy Reid school, and his offensive coordinator (and former Eagles quarterback) Doug Pederson is now strolling the sidelines in Philadelphia. In a bit of deja vu, Pederson maneuvered his way to the 2nd pick overall in the draft and chose his own quarterback, Carson Wentz. The pick made Eagles fandom say “huh?” as Wentz comes out of a Division I (FCS) school, not even the FBS level division, but I don’t think it was booed. Luckily, Wentz starts out with a fairly good offensive line in front of him. He played so unexpectedly well in his first game that his No. 11 jersey became the best-selling NFL jersey over the following week and the Monday Night Football crew in Game 2 couldn’t stop praising his name to the heavens. (Thankfully, he played just as well on MNF!)

Time will tell whether Pederson and Wentz can come close to duplicating what Reid and McNabb accomplished in Philadelphia, but they’re off to a good start. Mighty big shoes to fill.

Donovan McNabb compiled 16 playoff games, including (5) NFC East division titles, the (5) NFC Championship appearances (1 win), and a Super Bowl appearance. His career stats and achievements, including Eagles records held, are at Wikipedia.

McNabb was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame and his No. 5 jersey was officially retired.

New England’s Tom Brady, no matter what he may or may not have done, will go into the Hall of Fame the day after he finally hangs up his cleats. He is arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game. A case can be made either way as to whether Donovan McNabb, without a Super Bowl win, deserves to be inducted. But I keep saying that McNabb had better make it into the Hall of Fame, because if he doesn’t, then Tony Romo, the greatest quarterback to never win a damn thing, has NO shot.

(I should also point out that another nominee for the Hall this year is our old friend, No. 12 Randall Cunningham. I’d like to see him in there, as he defined the “entertainment” of football.)

The Eagles players nominated for induction into the Hall in 2017 include 1st-time nominees Brian Dawkins (a shoe-in) and Donovan McNabb. Also includes previously nominated and instantly recognizable players Terrell Owens (finalist in 2016), Eric Allen, Seth Joyner, Ricky Watters, Troy Vincent, Sean Landeta, and Brian Mitchell.

Year Record Result   Division Winner
1999 5-11   McNabb named starter Game 10 Redskins
2000 11-5 Playoffs Wild Card
Divisional (L, Giants)
Giants
2001 11-5 NFC East Wild Card
Divisional
NFC Championship (L, St. Louis)
Eagles
2002 12-4 NFC East Divisional
NFC Championship (L, Tampa Bay)
Eagles
2003 12-4 NFC East Divisional
NFC Championship (L, Carolina)
Eagles
2004 13-3 NFC East Divisional
NFC Championship (W, Atlanta)
Super Bowl (L, New England)
Eagles
2005 6-10     Giants
2006 10-6 NFC East Wild Card
Divisional (L, New Orleans)
Eagles
2007 8-8     Giants
2008 9-6-1 Playoffs Wild Card
Divisional
NFC Championship (L, Arizona)
Giants
2009 11-5 Playoffs Wild Card (L, Dallas)
Goodbye, Donovan
Cowboys
2010 10-6 NFC East Wild Card (L, Green Bay) Eagles
2011 8-8     Giants
2012 4-12   Goodbye, Andy Reid.
Hello, Chip Kelly
Redskins
2013 10-6 NFC East Wild Card (L, New Orleans) Eagles
2014 10-6     Cowboys
2015 7-9   Goodbye Chip Kelly.
Hello, Doug Pederson
Redskins