He Is Legend

On Saturday, August 6, 2022, in Canton Oh, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil will be inducted into the pro-Football Hall of Fame. He will join Greasy Neale as the only two to be enshrined for their work as coaches. He is legend.

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Context

I’m 49 years old at the time I am writing this, so if you do the math, that means I was seven years old on that cold January afternoon in 1981. We all remember the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game, punching their ticket to Super Bowl 15.  Prior to that game, if you asked me, I could not have told you who Dick Vermeil was; after that game, I would never forget who he was.  On that day, I became an Eagles fan, and I also became a Dick Vermeil fan.

I would be forever changed by the events of that day and by the sheer joy and celebration that was unleashed on the city after the Birds defeated the Cowboys and found their way to Super Bowl 15.  It was Vermeil who, for me, was the face of all that. He is a legend.

Continued Success

After the events of that day and, of course, the Oakland Raiders losing in Super Bowl 15, my fandom grew every day for both the Eagles and their head Coach.  After the 1982 season, Vermeil decided to retire from coaching, citing emotional burnout as a key factor.  Over the next 15 years, I kept a very keen eye on Vermeil. He was featured on both CBS and ABC as a college announcer. 

In 1994 new Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie inquired about bringing Vermeil back to the Eagles. This did not work out.  In 1997 Vermeil did return to football as the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. The Rams highlighted his time in St. Louis by capturing Super Bowl 34.  The legend factor here is that in Vermeil’s first two seasons as Rams coach, they went 9-23, and prior to the 1999 season, Vermeil turned over the team to former Grocery Store Stock boy and Iowa Barnstormers Quarter Back Kurt Warner.  Following the Ram’s Super Bowl victory, Vermeil retired once again.

Vermeil unretired once again in 2001, this time to lead the Kansas City Chiefs.  Guiding them to a 44-36 record through the 2005 season. After his time in KC, Vermeil retired for a third and final time. He was leaving behind a legacy that touched thousands of players and fans. He is a legend.

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On Saturday, August 6, 2022, Richard Albert Vermeil will take his rightful place among the greatest in pro football.  He will be enshrined with an overall NFL coaching record of 120-109 and a college coaching record of 15-5-3.  He is a Super Bowl-winning coach, architect of the greatest show on turf, and savior of the Eagles. To me bestower of a lifelong passion for the greatest football team in the world.

Saturday will be a day that is long overdue for Vermeil and his family. He will take his rightful place among Pro football giants.  For me, it will be a vindication of lifelong dedication to the man who, on the cold January day back in 1981, lit the spark in me that has burned for a lifetime.  He is a legend.    

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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