Eagles Facts and Trivia: Puzzlers for the Bird-Brained


When I began writing Eagles by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them, there was no history of the Philadelphia Eagles, so I attempted to fill the void. Similarly, there has been no Eagles trivia book up till now, hence the book you are holding in your hands.

The Eagles are one of the oldest teams in the NFL and have a fascinating past. They've had owners who went bankrupt and ones who were awash in money. They've cancelled games due to threatening weather and due to a threatening playing surface. They have made great trades, horrible trades, draft-day trades and even a complex franchise trade. Their drafts have produced stars and starters as well as draft busts and police busts. They've had quarterbacks who gave 'em hell and quarterbacks from hell. Their fans who once were hampered by Blue Laws were later handcuffed by a city courtroom in their home stadium. We have seen fistfights on the field, fistfights off the field, and fistfights in the stands -- hard hits given and hard hits received in each case. Eagle fans have booed underachievers, mediocrities, struggling Hall of Famers and beloved cultural figures and cheered touchdowns, goal line stands and injuries to despised opponents. We have watched thrilling games when the Eagles stole victory from the jaws of defeat and devastating ones when the Birds tore defeat from the embrace of victory.

One can't argue that there hasn't been a lot of bad football in Philadelphia over the years. A small girl came up to a display of Eagle photos I had set up to promote my previous book at a local book fair and was identifying all the recent players. I said to her father that she sounded like an Eagles fans, and he replied that she loved the team. After she left, I turned to a friend and said, "She has no idea what she's in for." Eagle fans need to be hearty souls. In 2005, the Eagles went 6-10, a winning percentage of .375. In Philadelphia's 73 seasons up to that point, they produced 30 seasons at or below .375. They have had 38 losing seasons - more losing years than winning ones. Yet, recent decades have been more positive. Since 1978, Philadelphia has had 17 winning seasons and just 11 losing ones. The new millennium under Andy Reid will be remembered as the team's second glory years (after the 1940s) if they can manage to win a Super Bowl or two.

Above all else, the Eagles are a storyteller's team and a joy to write about. They have been populated by some of the quirkiest and most colorful players, coaches and management in all of pro football history. These characters have taken part in some of the strangest, funniest, wildest and most disturbing events in the lore of football. Through it all, certain common character traits continually emerge in both good and bad Eagle teams. Eagles make themselves known; they are not shy and retiring. That's one thing the Eagles have in common with their fans - they will not go quietly, and you will know they are here, win or lose.

I have tried to have some fun mining nuggets from the rich past of the Eagles and making fresh connections to entertain and inform readers. While this is a book of trivia, I have tried to avoid trivial questions. In other words, I strove to steer clear of statistics and stories that tell you nothing of any great significance. I think that the best questions are those that require some explanation and context to give a better understanding of the nature of the team, its players and fans.

The structure of the book is 60 theme-oriented quizzes of 10 questions each. Why 60? Well, there are 60 minutes in a football game to start. More than that, 60 takes on special resonance in Philadelphia where the Eagles last championship came in 1960 powered by the player for whom 60 is now retired by the franchise, Chuck Bednarik. Bednarik takes it deeper still, being known as the "60-Minute Man" for playing the entire 1960 championship game on both offense and defense. Did I mention that Chuck wore 60 for 60 minutes to lead the Eagles to the 1960 title? 60 quizzes it is then. Let's just hope we don't have to wait 60 years to see the next championship.

The quizzes are arranged in six different sections: History, Glory and Rivalries, Players and Positions, Management, the Offbeat, and Records. Each quiz has an additional Overtime question that is based on the uniform number that corresponds with the number of the quiz. That's 660 questions in all, not to mention that several questions involve multiple parts. If any reader gets more than four or five questions wrong, I would recommend a crash course in Eagle history via Eagles by the Numbers by an author near and dear to my heart and wallet. My wish with this book is that Eagle fans find it fun and informative. Now, on to the questions…


Comments to Maxymuk@camden.rutgers.edu

Updated 10/23/06