If you have been following along, you know that Green Bay is hailed as “Title Town” due to the 13 NFL Championships. So, I got to thinking. Why isn’t Philadelphia known as the “City of Champions”? Thus far, I have profiled the Athletics, the Phillies, and the Frankford Yellow Jackets and closed the gap to 13-5. Staying in the Philadelphia football realm, the Green Bay lead will begin to shrink.
After the Yellow Jackets ceased operations, there was a void in Philadelphia football. The void was filled on July 8, 1933, when Bert Bell and Lud Wray ponied up $3,500 ($42,500 in current money) and were granted one of three “Expansion” teams. The Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Steelers, or the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia took the Eagles name with President Roosevelt as their inspiration with his “New Deal”. The team used the pale blue and yellow colors as their uniform colors. The color scheme was inspired by the Philadelphia flag.
The Inaugural Game
On October 15, 1933, The fledgling Eagles made their debut in New York’s Polo Grounds against long-time rivals, the Giants. Most likely the impetus of the rivalry stemmed from the 56-0 thrashing New York handed out.
Instead of Eagles the team could have been called, The Nomads. A host of locations were employed starting with Baker Bowl (1933- 1935), Municipal Stadium (JFK) 1936- 1939, and again for the 1941 season. Connie Mack Stadium with two tours, 1940 then back from 1942 thru 1957. Franklin Field served as home for 12 seasons, (1958-1970). Veterans Stadium has a long run, 1971-2002. Now their current home, Lincoln Financial Field is where fans cheer on their home team.
After struggling many years, the team finally found a winning charm and appeared in the Championship game in 1947 in which the Chicago Cardinals bested them 28-21 in Comiskey Park. 1948 featured Philly hosting the same Cardinals in a major snowstorm. Hall of Famer, Steve Van Buren posted a 5-yard touchdown for Championship 1, in the 7-0 victory. 1949 saw Title 2 with Van Buren picking up 196 yards on 31 carries. This was the Eagles first notch to earn the title, “City of Champions.
Speaking of Green Bay
One of the most famous games in the 88 years of the Eagles was the 1960 Championship when Philadelphia became the only team to ever defeat Vince Lombardi in a Title game.
More “bet you didn’t know” info. In 1969, Franklin Field installed AstroTurf, making it the first NFL facility to do so. Things have a way of repeating and the franchise would fall on bad times for about 16 years but start adding the needed pieces. 1980 saw a Super Bowl appearance that was less than stellar and the first Wild Card team to win it all, the Oakland Raiders pulled off the upset.
From that point on, the Eagles were among the upper echelon but couldn’t get it done. Finally, the long-suffering fan base got the fourth Championship in 2017 with a thrilling game that ended on a trick play.
More team history. Bert Bell, in 1935, became a groundbreaker when he proposed a college draft. This is the stuff for a movie. A series of owners with interesting tidbits.
January 15, 1949, a group of one hundred investors called the Happy Hundred, bought the team for $250,000 with each partner forking over $3000. Big deal right? One of the Happy Hundreds was the infamous, Leonard Tose! Fast forward to 1969 with Tose buying the team from Jerry Wolman for the sum of $16.15 million ($114, 008,562 in today’s money.)
Tose, a legendary gambler, owed Casino’s $25 million, ($160,156,250) and sold the team to Ed Leibowitz and Norman Braman for a tidy price of $65 million ($156,406,250).
One final player in the deck…Jeffrey Lurie, who purchased the team for $185 million with Forbes Magazine appraising the value at 2.65 billion as of 2017!
Chipping away at Green Bay and its 13 Titles. The Birds, four, we stand at 13-9. On their way to be called the City of Champions!
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.