Monday, January 23, 2017

The O-Line

The Eagles had a lot of offensive linemen pass through their roster from 1966 to 1975, but this post will focus on the starters, and not the many fringe players. (In some years, the fringe players WERE the starters!)

The 1960s:

Lane Howell was acquired from the Giants prior to the 1965 season, and started at left tackle from 1965-69. This is a custom card from RetroCards (thecowboysguide.com).

Ed Blaine began with the Packers in 1962, and was the Eagles' left guard from 1963-66, before retiring to pursue a medical career.

Dick Hart was the Eagles' starting left guard from 1967-70. Hart grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, and was a member of the 1955 Little League World Series champions. After playing minor-league baseball for the Braves from 1961-65, he signed as a walk-on with the Eagles in 1967 (having played no football since high school). A knee injury ended his career before the 1971 season.

Hall-of-Famer Jim Ringo made 7 Pro Bowls in his 11 seasons with the Packers, then finished his career as the Eagles' starting center from 1964-67, making the Pro Bowl 3 more times with Philly.

Jim Skaggs played for the Eagles from 1963-72, and was the starting right guard every year from 1965-70, except for missing 1968 with injuries. This is a custom card from RetroCards (thecowboysguide.com).

Bob Brown was the Eagles' starting right tackle from 1964-68. He made 3 Pro Bowls with the Birds, and another 2 after he was traded to the Rams. (When ex-Eagles' tight end Pete Retzlaff was named the GM in 1969, Brown immediately demanded a trade, going to LA in exchange for receiver Harold Jackson.)

Dave Graham was the starting left tackle in '63 and '64, and stuck around as a backup through the 1969 season.


The O-line turned over at the start of the 1970s:


Wade Key played for the Eagles from 1970-79. He was the starting left tackle from 70-72, then moved to guard when Jerry Sisemore was drafted. He was the starting left guard from 1973-79, except for missing the '75 season with injuries. After laboring for 10 seasons with mostly bad teams, unfortunately Key was cut in training camp in 1980 - the year they finally went to the Super Bowl.

Henry Allison played for the Eagles from 1971-72. With Hart sidelined by injuries, Allison was the starting left guard for one season (1971).

Tom Luken was the Eagles' #2 pick in 1972. He played for the team from 1972-78, but was only a starter in his rookie season, sent to the bench with Key’s move from tackle to guard.

After Ringo’s retirement following the 1967 season, the Eagles signed 2 centers – Gene Ceppetelli and Mike Evans. Ceppetelli was the starter in '68, and Evans from 1969-72.

Mark Nordquist played for the Eagles from 1968-74. After filling in for the injured Skaggs in 1968, Mark was the starting right guard from 1971-74. He was also the backup center.

Joe Carollo was acquired from the Rams in the Bob Brown trade prior to 1969, and started at right tackle for 2 seasons before returning to the Rams.

Steve Smith was acquired from the Vikings in 1971 for QB Norm Snead. He played right tackle from 1971-72, then moved to the left side to accommodate Sisemore in 1973. Also the starter in 1974, he was eventually replaced by Stan Walters.


The mid-1970s:


Stan Walters was acquired from the Bengals (1 year after the Eagles acquired MLB Bill Bergey from the Bengals) and was an upgrade to the QB's blindside protection. He played for the Eagles from 1975-83, making 2 Pro Bowls during that time.

After 9 seasons (and 6 Pro Bowls) with the Cowboys, John Niland played his last season as the Eagles' starting left guard in 1975, filling in for the injured Wade Key.

Guy Morris was the Eagles' #2 pick in 1973. A guard in college, he was converted to center as a rookie. He was the team’s starting center for his 11 years with the team (1973-83).

After 7 seasons as the Packers' left guard, Bill Lueck played his final season for the Eagles in 1975, replacing the traded Mark Nordquist at right guard.

Jerry Sisemore was one of the Birds’ two #1 picks in the 1973 draft. He was a starting lineman for 11 seasons from 1973-83, all at right tackle except for '76-'77 at right guard.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Receivers

Here are the Eagles’ top receivers from 1966-75. Unless otherwise mentioned in the text below, all the other significant pass catchers were running backs.


The Eagles starting receivers in 1966 were Pete Retzlaff (TE), Fred Hill (SE) and Ron Goodwin (FL). Retzlaff’s entire career (1956-66) was as a starter for the Eagles, first as a split end before moving to tight end in 1963. Hill played his entire career (1965-71) with the Eagles, and in 1966 filled in at SE for Ray Poage, the Eagles split end in ’64 and ’65 who missed the ’66 season with a knee injury. Goodwin also played his entire career (1963-68) with the Eagles, and was their starting flanker from 1963-66. Rookie Ben Hawkins was the #4 receiver, almost equaling Goodwin’s catches.

A new group of receivers took over in 1967. Hawkins led the team in receptions from his flanker spot, and was joined by newly-acquired veterans Gary Ballman (SE) and Mike Ditka (TE). Hawkins played for the Eagles from 1966-74, and was a starting wideout every season except his first and last. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 1967. Ballman played for the Eagles from 1967-72, and was a starter every season but his last. After 2 years as a split end, he moved to TE in 1969. Ditka sandwiched his 2 seasons with the Eagles (’67-’68) between stints with the Bears and Cowboys. He was the starting TE in ’67 (although missing 5 games), but was 2nd-team in 1968.

Fred Hill replaced Ditka at tight end in 1968, joining Hawkins and Ballman in the starting lineup.




In 1969, Harold Jackson joined the Eagles (acquired from the Rams in the Bob Brown trade) and immediately became their best player. Jackson played 4 seasons with the Eagles before returning to the Rams in the Roman Gabriel trade. He led the NFL in receiving yards in ’69 and ’72. With the addition of Jackson, Ballman moved to tight end.

All 3 starters (Jackson, Hawkins, Ballman) returned for 1970, although curiously, Ballman led the team in receptions.

With Ballman injured for much of 1971, rookie Harold Carmichael joined the starting group, as the tight end. Carmichael played for the Eagles from 1971-83, and was a starting WR in all but his first 2 seasons.

Jackson, Hawkins, and Carmichael were the top 3 receivers in 1972, although Carmichael split his time between TE and WR. Kent Kramer (an Eagle from 1971-74) was the nominal #1 tight end, although a distant 6th in receptions.

After leading the NFL in receptions and receiving yards in 1972, Jackson was traded back to the Rams. No big loss – Carmichael stepped in as the Eagles’ #1 wide receiver and led the NFL in receiving yards in 1973.

He was joined by #1 draft pick Charlie Young at TE and rookie Don Zimmerman at WR. Young was the Birds’ starting tight end for his first 4 seasons, then was traded to the Rams (see a pattern?) for QB Ron Jaworski. Replacing Hawkins in the lineup, Zimmerman was a serviceable starter for 2 seasons, and a backup for 2 more.

The Eagles used the same 3 receivers in 1974, then 2nd-year man Charlie Smith replaced Zimmerman as the #2 wide receiver in 1975. Smith was a starter from 1975-81.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Running Backs

Here are the Eagles' 12 primary running backs from 1966 to 1975. There were quite a few others (such as 1967 #1 draft pick/bust Harry Jones), but these below are all the starters.



We start off with the tandem of Timmy Brown and Earl Gros. Brown played for the Eagles from 1960-67, and was their starting halfback from '62 to '66. Gros was the starting fullback for his 3 seasons with the Eagles (1964-66).

After backing up Brown and Gros in 1966, Izzy Lang and Tom Woodeshick took over as the starting backfield for '67 and '68. Woodeshick led the team in rushing from 1967 to 1969.

Leroy Keyes was the Eagles' #1 pick in 1969. [After an 0-12 start, the Birds won their last 2 games, thus blowing the chance to draft O.J. Simpson.] After a serviceable rookie season, Keyes had an awful 2nd year, then was moved to strong safety for his final 2 seasons with the Eagles. Leroy was 2nd in rushing behind Woodeshick in 1969.

After 2 seasons as the #3 back, Cyril Pinder led the Eagles in rushing in 1970, teaming with rookie fullback Lee Bouggess. Woodeshick and rookie Larry Watkins rounded out the top 4.




Pinder was traded away after the 1970 season, leaving Bouggess as the team's top rusher in 1971. He was joined by halfback Ron Bull, who played his final season with the Eagles after playing for the Bears from 1962-70. As in 1970, Woodeshick and Watkins were the 3rd and 4th backs.

With Bouggess lost for the season due to injury, Bull retired, and Woodeshick traded, the Eagles featured a new set of backs in 1972. Rookie Ron "Po" James led the team in rushing, with Larry Watkins sharing the fullback job with ex-Saint Tony Baker.

James' time at the top was short, with rookie Tom Sullivan taking over the starting halfback job for the next 3 seasons. Sullivan would lead the team in rushing from 1973-75. Norm Bulaich joined the team in 1973, and was the starting fullback for his 2 seasons in Philly ('73-'74). James was the #3 back for the '73 and '74 seasons.

In 1975, Sullivan had a new running mate: Art Malone was brought in from Atlanta as the fullback. Rookie James McAlister was #3 with Po James at #4.

--

When Dick Vermeil was hired for the 1976 season, he cleaned house at several positions, including running back. The only holdovers from 1975 were Sullivan and McAllister. Rookies Mike Hogan and Herb Lusk were in the mix, plus newly-acquired veterans Dave Hampton and Bill Olds.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Team Photo - 1969

1969 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES


Here is the 1969 squad, the final season for these jerseys with the double-stripes around the shoulders. There are 47 players in the photo. If I recall correctly, back then teams had 40 active players, plus a 7-man taxi squad. Starters are shown with positions below in uppercase.

Back row: Sam Baker (k-p), Lane Howell (T), Norm Snead (QB), Don Hultz (de), Mel Tom (DE), Fred Brown (te), Dave Lloyd (MLB), Gary Pettigrew (dt), Mark Nordquist (g), Mike Evans ( C), Ronnie Blye (rb), Cyril Pinder (rb), coach, coach.

Row 3: Joe Moss (coach), Charlie Gauer (coach), Chuck Sieminski (dt), Jay Johnson (lb), Dave Graham (t), Joe Carollo (T), Mike Dirks (dt), Gary Ballman (TE) Jim Skaggs (G), Wade Key (t), Ron Porter (LB), Ernie Calloway (DT), Tony Guillory (LB), Bill Bradley (s), Moose Detty (trainer), Dick Stanfel (coach).

Row 2: Bob Colonna (equip mgr), Leroy Keyes (RB), Nate Ramsey (SS), Ron Medved (s), Ben Hawkins (WR), Fred Hill (te), Floyd Peters (DT), Jerry Williams (head coach), Tom Woodeshick (RB), Adrian Young (lb), Tim Rossovich (DE), Don Chuy (g), Gene Ceppetelli (c ), Dick Hart (G), Vince Fazio (team doctor).

Front row: Irv Cross (CB), George Mira (qb), Joe Scarpati (FS), Gary Adams (db), Harold Jackson (WR), Chuck Hughes (wr), Kent Lawrence (wr), Ike Kelley (mlb), Harry Jones (rb), Bill Hobbs (lb), Al Nelson (CB).

Chuck Sieminski and Gary Adams did not make the team.

Wade Key spent the season on the taxi squad.

Notice the early-career jersey numbers for Mel Tom (58), Wade Key (55), and Ernie Calloway (57).

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Kickers and Punters

This is the 2nd post in a series where I will review the 1966-75 Eagles by position. Normally I won't be listing every player during this time span, but there aren't that many kickers, so here they are.


KICKERS:

#38 Sam Baker - Baker joined the Eagles (from the Cowboys!) in 1964, and was their placekicker for the rest of the 1960s. He was also the punter through the 1968 season.

#3 Mark Moseley - The "Last of the Straight-on Kickers" was a 14th-round pick in 1970. He kicked only one year for the Eagles, partly because after the punter was lost for the season with injuries, Mark doubled up on the punting as well, and it messed him up. Regrettably, the Eagles lost patience after just 1 season, and Moseley was sent packing. He later went on to a long career with the Redskins from 1974-86.

#52 Dave Lloyd - I recall that after long-time middle linebacker Dave Lloyd lost his job to converted defensive end Tim Rossovich midway through the 1970 season, Lloyd kept himself busy for the rest of the year by kicking off (no FG or XP), thus lightening Moseley's load (after Mark was called upon to be the replacement punter).

#1 Happy Feller - The Eagles burned a 4th-round draft pick on Happy Feller in 1971. His stay was shorter than Moseley's. By mid-season the Eagles signed Tom Dempsey, and activated him for the final 5 games, replacing Feller. (I have his 1973 card as shown in the link, but can't find my 1973 binder right now.)

#19 Tom Dempsey - Dempsey previously kicked for the Saints, including a record 63-yard field goal in 1970. In a classic "What have you done for me lately?" move, the Saints cut him before the following season. The Birds picked him up during 1971, and he played the final 5 games in 1971 and every game through the end of 1974.

#16 Horst Muhlmann - The former Bengals kicker played for the Eagles for 2 1/2 seasons, beginning in 1975.


PUNTERS:

#10 King Hill - Hill joined the Eagles in 1961, and in addition to being the #2 QB through 1968, he was also the team's punter through the 1963 season. With the arrival of Sam Baker in 1964, they shared the punting chores for 3 seasons, roughly 65/35 in favor of Baker.

#38 Sam Baker - Baker shared the punting chores with Hill from 1964-66, and was the only punter from 1967-68. He relinquished the punting to rookie Bill Bradley in 1969.

#32 Rick Duncan - Duncan (pictured here on Adrian Young's 1971 card) punted in 1 game in 1968. He was also in Eagles' camp in 1971, but did not make the team.

#28 Bill Bradley - "Super Bill" was the team's free safety and punt returner from 1969-75. He was also the punter in '69, '70, '72, and for 4 games in '73.

#36, #12 Tom McNeill - McNeill was the team's punter in '71 and '73, and for 2 games in 1972. (In summary, Bradley and/or McNeill handled the punting from 1969-73, with some punting by Moseley late in 1970.)

#37 Merritt Kersey - Kersey assumed the punting job for 1974 and 2 games in 1975. It was his only NFL experience.

#6 Spike Jones - Jones took over the punting in game #3 in 1975, and stuck around through the 1977 season.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1974 Pre-Season Roster

I found this tri-fold pre-season roster in the same folder as the Prudential Guides posted earlier. (The other 3 panels were additional info about the players (weight, college, years pro), and the back cover.


                                                               SIX quarterbacks!

 
           Several players in the 60s and 70s wore the same number (1 green, 1 white).

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Jersey and Helmet Styles

Here are the various styles of jerseys and helmets used by the Eagles during this blog's time period.

 Jerseys:

For most of the 1960s, the Eagles wore a plain green jersey, with small numbers on the sleeves.


At some point prior to 1966, narrow and wide stripes were added to the sleeves.


From 1966 to 1969, the jerseys had double striping around the shoulders. Topps showed this jersey as late as 1973 on some cards.


In 1970 the team went back to the early-1960s look. Just solid green, with no striping.


In 1972 they added a black outline to the numbers.


A major change occurred in 1974, adding lots of stripes to the sleeves and moving the numbers up on top of the shoulders. As time went on, these jerseys became see-through.


 Helmets: The Eagles wore green helmets with silver wings prior to the 1969 season.


For 1969 home games, and all games in 1970 to 1973, they wore white helmets with green wings. The colors were reversed for away games in 1969 - green helmets with white wings.


They went back to green helmets in 1974, this time with two-tone wings.