After 57 Years The Stars Are Perfectly Aligned For The Philadelphia Eagles

I guess it was around 1948 when I became an Eagles fan. I was eight years old. My single parent mother was a big fan of Philly teams, and as we lived in nearby South Jersey we could follow the games on radio.

Then when I was twenty, in 1960, I watched on TV the Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers — coached by the legendary Vince Lombardy — for the NFL championship (no Super Bowl back in those days).

Between then and the Birds recent Super Bowl victory (LII) there have been a lot of bad Eagles teams and some very good teams — even two teams that played and lost in the Super Bowl. But never has the entire Eagles organization been so perfectly positioned for a long run of good outcomes, from the owner on down through general manager, head coach, position coaches and the scouting department headed by personnel evaluator extraordinary, Joe Douglas, as it was in heading toward its first Super Bowl victory this year and going forward.

Longtime team owner (since 1994), Geoffrey Lurie, has done a fine job for both the team and the city of Philadelphia, although it has taken quite awhile for many of Philly’s tougher Joe six-pack type fans to warm to the ritzy, nice guy, liberal owner, him being viewed as a “foreigner” because he was originally from Boston.

Lurie has always been one to take a chance. His first Eagles gamble was to make Andy Reid from the Green Bay Packers organization head coach, a guy who had never even reached the level of coordinator in the NFL. Reid had a reasonably successful run with the Birds, becoming the team’s all-time winningest coach and going to one Super Bowl, which the Eagles lost. But after some family problems Andy became burned out and moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Next Lurie threw the dice on the hottest college coach at the time, Chip Kelly from the Oregon Ducks. Kelly was radically innovative, but after having stripped the team of its best players and alienating most of the remaining players, Lurie gave Chip the boot.

It would seem that with the third try at picking a head coach, Lurie has hit the jackpot. But before talking about the winning ways of head coach Doug Pederson, a few words about the team’s general manager, Howie Roseman. When Chip Kelly took over as head coach he insisted on having full control. So except for negotiating contracts, in all other matters of personnel Roseman was pushed aside.

During this period of semi exile the weakened general manager took it upon himself to make an in depth study of winning sports teams of all kinds. I don’t exactly know what Howie learned, but when Chip left and he was back in charge, Howie rebuilt the team that Chip had devastated in record time, especially wheeling and deal in the free agent market and with draft picks to gain a young franchise QB and super backup QB, leading to him being voted NFL executive of the year — awesome job.

Meanwhile coach Pederson, whom many initially regarded as a poor choice for head coach, was proving to be a gutsy master of the game and one whom both coaches and players alike quickly came admire, respect and trust. Thus with Howies wheeling and dealing and Pederson having assembled a fine staff of position coaches, the Eagles won the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, the powerhouse of the decade, in only Pederson’s second year.

As things currently stand, with the Eagles superbly developed organization, it might be many a moon before other teams in the NFC Eastern Division get even a sniff at besting the Eagles for the Division title. Indeed, the dominant theme song in that Division is most likely going to be, fly eagles fly, for years to come.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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