Top 10 Philadelphia Eagles in NFL History
They've had their share of success and misfortune in their history. Today, I rank the top 10 Philadelphia Eagles of all time.
10. Wilbert Montgomery
He is one of the most forgotten running backs in team history.
A sixth round pick in 1977, Wilbert Montgomery worked his way up the depth chart to become one of the most productive running backs in team history. In his eight seasons with Philadelphia, he shattered almost all of the Eagles rushing records and leading the team in rushing six times. Montgomery retired as Philadelphia's all time leading rusher with 6,538 yards. In 1979, Montgomery led the NFL with 2,012 all-purpose yards and helped the team to Super Bowl XV the following season.
Montgomery spent his final season in Detroit before retiring in 1985. He was a two time All-Pro and pro bowler. Over his career, he accumulated 6,789 yards rushing, 2,502 receiving yards, 814 kickoff return yards, and 57 touchdowns.
9. Bob Brown
"The Boomer" was one of the great run blocking tackles in history.
A first round pick in 1964, Bob Brown made in an impact right away on the offense. As a rookie, Brown won the NFC rookie of the year award. He once described himself as being “about as subtle as a sixteen-pound sledgehammer.” Defensive linemen, who almost always came away with their ribs aching from the punishment he delivered, agreed. Brown used his size and strength to neutralize hard-charging pass rushers. He exploded off the ball and into the oncoming defensive player.
Brown spent his final seasons in Oakland and Los Angeles before retiring in 1973. He was a five time All-Pro, six time pro bowler, and a member of the 60's all decade team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
8. Randall Cunningham
He was one of the most electric running quarterbacks in league history.
A second round pick in 1985, Randall Cunningham made a big splash with his uncanny scrambling ability. When Buddy Ryan became the teams head coach, he put Cunningham in as the starter because he believed his scrambling would put the defense on its heels. His best season as a quarterback in Philadelphia came in 1988 when he threw for over 3,800 yards and 24 touchdowns and became the first black quarterback to start in a pro bowl. One of his most famous plays came in a 1990 game against the Bills, where Cunningham throwing from his end zone and was about to be sacked by Bruce Smith from his blind side, but he ducked and threw a pass 60 yards to wide receiver Fred Barnett resulting in a 95-yard touchdown. That same year he finished with 942 rushing yards, third all time by a quarterback.
Cunningham spent his final years in Minnesota, Dallas, and Baltimore before retiring in 2001. He was a four time pro bowler and All-Pro, and the 1992 comeback player of the year.
7. Harold Carmichael
He is one of the tallest receivers in league history.
A seventh round pick in 1971, Harold Carmichael showed significant physical tools to be a great wide receiver. The team moved him from tight end to wide receiver repeatedly early in his career before finding a permanent spot at receiver. In 1973, he led the league in receptions and receiving yards. In 1980, Carmichael set an NFL record at the time by catching passes in 127 consecutive NFL games. In his 13 seasons in Philadelphia, he recorded 590 receptions for nearly 9,000 yards and 79 touchdowns.
Carmichael spent his final season in Dallas before retiring in 1984. He was a four time pro bowler and All-Pro, and a member of the 70's all decade team.
6. Tommy McDonald
He was one of the last players to play without a facemask.
A third round pick 1957, Tommy McDonald made an instant impact on the Eagles passing offense. Although he was just 5-9 and 176 pounds, McDonald was extremely durable and missed only three games in his first 11 seasons. He had elusive speed and used his running skills brilliantly after making his catches, finishing his career with an average of 17 yards per catch and 84 touchdowns. A sure-handed receiver, McDonald had few peers when it came to putting the ball in the end zone. From 1958-1962, he had 56 touchdown receptions in 63 games including a 35 yard touchdown reception from quarterback Norm Van Brocklin in the 1960 NFL Championship Game in which the Eagles defeated the Green Bay Packers. He had a touchdown to reception ratio of one to six.
McDonald spent his final seasons in Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Cleveland before retiring in 1968. He was a six time pro bowler, two time All-Pro, and NFL champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
5. Brian Dawkins
"Weapon X" was one of the most intense safeties in league history.
A second round pick in 1996, Brian Dawkins was a fixture at free safety for his 13 seasons in Philadelphia. His presence gave the Eagles one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Dawkins gained the reputation as a hard hitting, ball hawk and drew comparisons to the Marvel superhero Wolverine for his relentless aggression. In 2002, he became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, an interception, forced fumble, and touchdown reception in the same game. He finished his career with the Eagles starting a team record 182 of 183 games, recording 898 tackles, 34 interceptions, 32 forced fumbles, and 21 sacks.
Dawkins spent his final three seasons in Denver before retiring in 2011. He was a nine time pro bowler, six time All-Pro, and is the Eagles all time leading interceptor.
4. Donovan McNabb
He proved to be a great running quarterback but was also great throwing the ball.
A first round pick in 1999, Donovan McNabb would go on to become the most productive quarterback in team history. In his first full season as a starter in 2000, he came in second in the MVP voting. From 2001-2004, he led the team to four consecutive division titles and four consecutive NFC Championship game appearances and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX. his most memorable play has become known as "4th and 26", which took place against the Packers in the final minutes of a 2003 NFC Divisional playoff game victory. In 2004, McNabb became the first quarterback in league history to throw for more than 30 touchdowns and fewer than 10 interceptions in a season. He is the Eagles all-time leader in career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
McNabb was traded to Washington before the 2010 season. He retired after 2011 as a six time pro bowler and holds the NFL record for most consecutive pass completions.
3. Reggie White
"The Minister of Defense" was one of the greatest pass rushers in league history.
After spending time in the USFL, Reggie White joined Philadelphia in 1985. During his eight years with the team he picked up 124 sacks becoming the Eagles all-time sack leader. He also set the Eagles regular-season record with 21 sacks in a single season. White also became the only player to ever accumulate 20 or more sacks in just 12 games. He also set an NFL regular season record during 1987 by averaging the most sacks per game with 1.75 sacks per game. Over the course of his tenure with the Eagles, White actually accumulated more sacks than the number of games he played. Counting his time in the USFL, he has 221.5 sacks in top-level professional football making him professional football's all time sack leader.
White spent his final seasons in Green Bay and Carolina. He was a 13 time pro bowler and All-Pro, two time league sacks leader, two time defensive player of the year, and Super Bowl champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame postmortem in 2006.
2. Chuck Bednarik
"Concrete Charlie" was the last player to play on both ways.
The first overall pick in 1949, Chuck Bednarik quickly gained the reputation as one of the most devastating tacklers in the history of football. Playing both middle linebacker and center, he was a force on both sides of the ball. A tough and highly effective tackler, Bednarik is best known for knocking Frank Gifford of the New York Giants out of football for over 18 months with one of the most famous tackles in NFL history. He proved extremely durable missing just three games in his 14 seasons. In the 1960 NFL Championship, he tackled Packers running back Jim Taylor on the final play to preserve the teams victory.
Bednarik retired after the 1962 season as an eight time pro bowler, 10 time All-Pro, and two time NFL Champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.
1. Steve Van Buren
He is everything you would want in a running back.
A first round pick in 1944, Steve Van Buren became the feature player on the Philadelphia offense. In 1949, he became the first running back in history to lead the league in rushing three years in a row. A fast, powerful back, Van Buren's signature game came in 1948 when playing in a blizzard for the NFL Championship against the Chicago Cardinals. Van Buren scored the only touchdown of the game to give the Eagles their first league title. They would win their second crown a year later against the Rams. In that game, Van Buren set a league record with 196 yards rushing. He retired as the NFL record holder for career rushing yards and career rushing touchdowns.
Van Buren retired after 1951 as a five time All-Pro, four time league rushing champion, and two time NFL champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965.