Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Franchise 9: Philadelphia Eagles

Just two years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl--their first NFL Championship since 1960. What I have usually found is that a team's Franchise 9 players coincide pretty well with the periods of greatest team success. It stands to reason, then, that the Super Bowl LII Champs would be well-represented here. But then you stop to consider that the Eagles were led to Super Bowl victory by backup QB Nick Foles, and you start to realize that the team that held off Tom Brady's sixth ring for one more year was a really good team, but not necessarily one with a lot of star power. Only one player on this list received a ring that year. The rest of the team is spread out pretty well through the other 53 years or so of this franchise's most recent history.

1. Randall Cunningham, QB (1992 Kenner Starting Lineup)

Of course this list has to include Randall Cunningham. He is, after all, known to generation of football fans as "QB Eagles." Anybody who has played Tecmo Super Bowl understands just how invincible one could feel just by taking the snap with the Eagles and running wherever they wanted. He was also a pretty good passer in that game. The thing is, his amazing video game skill set wasn't far off his real-life ability. Look no further than his 1990 season. Cunningham passed for over 3,400 yards and 30 touchdowns, while adding 942 on the ground. He made three Pro Bowls as an Eagle and received the Bert Bell Award (an alternative to the AP MVP) in 1988 and 1990.

2. Ron Jaworski, QB (1985 Topps)


Jaws was another Eagles signal caller who played pretty well, even if he didn't get the big-time accolades. Like Cunningham, Jaworski played well enough to earn the Bert Bell Award in 1980, but missed out on the AP MVP. (It went to Cleveland's Brian Sipe that year.) That year he led the team to its first Super Bowl appearance. He is still second in franchise history in passing yardage and touchdowns.

3. Donovan McNabb, QB (2005 Upper Deck Reflections)


Even though Eagles fan booed the selection of Donovan McNabb with the 2nd overall pick of the Draft back in 1999, he quickly won them over. McNabb quarterbacked the team to its second Super Bowl appearance in 2004. McNabb is the one player ahead of Jaworski in passing yardage and touchdowns. Although he was no Randall Cunnigham, McNabb was pretty mobile in his own right. He posted three seasons of 400+ rushing yards. He represented the Eagles in six Pro Bowls.

4. Harold Carmichael, WR (1978 Topps)

A member of the most recent Hall of Fame class, Carmichael was a huge target (think 6'8!) for the likes of Jaworski and Roman Gabriel. His 589 receptions, 8,789 yards, and 79 touchdown catches are all franchise bests. A member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1970s and one of this year's Hall of Fame class, Carmichael made four Pro Bowls and had one reception and one yardage title during the decade.

5. Jason Peters, T (2014 Topps)

Jason Peters is the sole representative of the Eagles' Super Bowl-winning team in the Franchise 9. For over a decade, Peters has been a rock at left tackle, earning seven Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro nominations. Generally, he has been one of the best offensive linemen in the game. I would say Peters was the Eagles' MVP of the 2010s. (With all due respect to Fletcher Cox, Peters had a few more years with the team during the decade.)

6. Reggie White, DE (1991 Topps)

"The Minister of Defense" had already built a Hall of Fame career and carved out a space in Canton for himself before he ever made free agency history and joined my Packers. In eight seasons with the Eagles, White racked up a jaw-dropping 124 sacks--an average of 15.5 per season! To let that sink in, just consider this: after eight seasons in the NFL, Reggie White was already the career leader in sacks. I realize that the stat hasn't been around forever, but White left the Eagles as the NFL's all-time leader in sacks. That says a lot. He was a terrifyingly powerful man on the field, with a forearm shiver and bull rush that just pushed offensive linemen around. The closest person behind at that time had 92 career sacks. We don't even need to mention the six straight 1st Team All-Pro honors, but we just did. Not many people have utterly dominated opponents like Reggie White.

7. Eric Allen, CB (1990 Score)

While White is the team's all-time sack leader, Eric Allen shares that title for interceptions. His 34 picks with Philadelphia is tied with two other players, but Allen has one distinction that sets him apart from the others: he returned five of those interceptions for touchdowns. In four of his seven years with the team, Allen picked off at least five passes. He made five Pro Bowls while with the Eagles and was an All-Pro once. He will probably never get much mention as a Hall of Fame candidate, but he was always a game-changing play just waiting to break loose.

8. Troy Vincent, CB (1997 Finest)

After Allen left in free agency, Troy Vincent came in to replace him. While Allen was the better cover man, Vincent was a good cover corner who offered more run support. While with the Eagles, Vincent intercepted 28 passes and made 518 tackles, good for fourth and tenth on the franchise's list. He made five Pro Bowls and and All-Pro team for Philadelphia.

9. Brian Dawkins, S (2008 Upper Deck First Edition)

In the absence of Reggie White, Brian Dawkins is the best defender in the Eagles' Super Bowl Era. He is tied with Eric Allen for the team lead in interceptions and in is the top five in tackles. His 21 sacks is tops among Eagles DBs. Over 13 seasons in Philly, Dawkins built a Hall of Fame career on the back of nine Pro Bowls, four All-Pro nods, and a nomination to the All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

This team was really hard for me. There were many players that I simply don't know much about. These were players that played before my time and didn't reach such legendary status that I grew up hearing and reading about them. Harold Carmichael was among them, as were players like Wilbert Montgomery and Bill Bergey. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. It wasn't until Carmichael was voted into the Hall of Fame to push him past some of his contemporaries. So, how do you think this team turned out? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments!

Some notes on this series:

  1. This includes Super Bowl Era players only.
  2. The "nine" in Franchise 9 is to fill a page in a binder. There is no intent to fill a roster or even a starting lineup.
  3.  A player can represent multiple teams.
  4. I tried to find a balance between steady producers with longevity and explosive players with shorter careers. Time with the team does count for something, as does impact with the team.
  5. For a link to Franchise 9 lists that I have already posted, click here.
  6. This is all subjective, so I'd love to hear whom you would choose!


  1. Fletch and Mike Quick are legit contenders. Not sure who I'd remove though.

    1. I think Fletcher Cox will be on here in another season or two. He'll probably push out Troy Vincent.

  2. Good call on Carmichael. I remember him back in the day and he was so good. No arguments with your picks. Such great players.

  3. If it makes you feel any better, I only guessed right on two of these nine players, mostly because I just can't name a lot of modern Eagles.

  4. Reggie White was the man! Also glad to see McNabb and Cunningham on here. They were very entertaining QB's during their time.