The man behind The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak
The man behind The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak
With the NFL season right around the corner, it’s as good a time as any to look back on the history of some of the most storied franchises in the league. Active since 1933, the Philadelphia Eagles have one of the longest histories of any NFL team.
*Active players are not eligible for this list.
As a member of Buddy Ryan’s legendary “Gang Green” defense, Eric Allen cemented himself as the greatest cornerback in Eagles history. Over his seven years with the team, Allen was named to the Pro Bowl five times and was a three-time All-Pro. His 34 interceptions tied for most in franchise history. Since his retirement, Allen has been named to the Eagles 75th Anniversary Team and enshrined in the organization’s Hall of Fame.
AL Wistert was a key part of the Eagles’ Championship runs in 1948 and 1949. A two-way player, Wistert played his entire career for the Eagles. Wistert was named an All-Pro in 8 of his 9 seasons and has been honored in the Eagles Hall of Fame, and the NFL’s 1940s All-Decade team.
While Andy Reid had a lot of fun toys to play with in the 2000s, Brian Westbrook may have been the Eagles’ most versatile offensive weapon. The dual-threat running back from Villanova was incredibly dangerous as both a runner and receiver. In 8 years in Midnight Green, Westbrook amassed 9,785 yards from scrimmage, making him the team’s all-time leader
In 2021, Harold Carmichael finally received his long-deserved bust in Canton. In 13 seasons in Philadelphia, Carmichael nabbed 4 Pro Bowl and 2 All-Pro nods. To this day, he is the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdowns. His other honors include being named to the 1970s All-Decade team and winning the NFL Man of the Year in 1980.
When the Buffalo Bills signed Jason Peters as an undrafted free agent Tight End, no one could have seen his career shaping up the way it did. After a position switch to Left Tackle, The Bodyguard quickly became one of the league’s best pass protectors. Traded to the Eagles in 2009, Peters spent over a decade in Philadelphia. During this time, he was a 4-time All-Pro and a member of the Eagles’ first Super Bowl win. When he is eligible, there is little doubt Peters will be enshrined in Canton.
In only 8 NFL seasons, Steve Van Buren put together a Hall of Fame resume. As the focal point of the Eagles’ great 1940s teams, Van Buren was named to 7 All-Pro teams and led the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns 4 out of 5 years from 1945-1949. His many accolades include:
Unfortunately, injuries to his neck, back, and knees shortened his career, but there is no doubt that Van Buren is still one of the best players in the organization’s history. Even with an injury-shortened career, Van Buren retired as the NFL’s career rushing leader.
While he could be occasionally frustrating, there is no doubt Donovan McNabb is the best quarterback the Eagles have ever had. During his 11 years in Philadelphia, McNabbled Andy Reid’s team to 5 NFC Championship appearances and 1 Super Bowl appearance. McNabb stands atop the leaderboards for passing yards and passing touchdowns in franchise history, has had his #5 retired, and is in the team’s Hall of Fame.
If McNabb was the face of Andy Reid’s Eagles, Brian Dawkins was most certainly the heart. Bringing the energy and passion Philly fans adore, Weapon X in his prime was one of the best Safeties the NFL has ever seen. Over his 13 years with the Eagles, Dawkins was named to 6 Pro Bowls and 4 All-Pro squads in addition to sharing the franchise’s all-time interception record. Dawkins has been named to the NFL Hall of Fame and had his #20 retired by the Eagles.
The Last of the 60 Minute Men, Chuck Bednarik was a menace on both sides of the ball. As both a Linebacker and Center, Concrete Charlie was a Hall of Fame player. Philadelphia through and through, Bednarik grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, went to UPenn, played his entire 14-year career with the Birds, and thoroughly embodied the city’s tough-as-nails attitude. As a key member of the 2 NFL Championship-winning teams, Bednarik earned countless accolades, including 10 All-Pro nods, inductions into the Eagles and NFL Halls of Fame, as well as being named to the 50th, 75th, and 100th NFL Anniversary Teams.
The Minister of Defense’s legacy speaks for itself. One of the greatest players in the history of the game, White spent the majority of his NFL career in Kelly green. As the crown jewel of Buddy Ryan’s vaunted defense, White amassed 124 sacks in his 8 years as an Eagle to go along with his these accomplishments:
At the time of his retirement, White was the NFL’s all-time leader in sacks at 198 (since surpassed by Bruce Smith at 200). However, even if you just counted his years as an Eagle, White would still rank in the top 20, ahead of greats like Simeon Rice, Charles Haley, and Robert Mathis. For his extraordinary career, White has been named to the NFL Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame, NFL All-Decade teams for the 1980s and 90s, as well as the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary teams. For his dominance, White is considered one of the greatest pass-rushers of all time by many experts. There is no doubt that Reggie White is the greatest Philadelphia Eagle of All Time.
In a few years, there will be some active current and former Eagles in the running to be included on this list. Super Bowl 52 heroes like Nick Foles, Brandon Graham, Zach Ertz, and Jason Kelce will almost certainly be contending for spots.
While their odds don’t look great for the upcoming season, there are many football sportsbooks where you can find odds to bet on the Birds in the upcoming season.
We look forward to seeing if young stars like Jalen Hurts, Devonta Smith, and Miles Sanders can break out and put themselves in this pantheon of greats.