Saturday, May 13, 2017

Eagles who also played in the WFL

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So I was browsing the 'WFL Rosters' link at the bottom of the right sidebar on this blog, and found these Eagles who also played in the World Football League (1974-75).

The names in green were starters for the Eagles.
Players below the solid line near the end of the list were Eagles after their WFL days. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The D-Line

Here are the Eagles' defensive lineman (mostly starters) who had football cards in the Topps or Philly Gum sets of the time.


Don Hultz played for the Eagles from 1964 to 1973. The starting left defensive end from '65-'67, he was replaced by #1 draft choice Tim Rossovich in 1968, but regained a starting spot (at LDT) when Rosso was moved to MLB midway through the 1970 season.

Floyd Peters was the starting LDT from 1964-69, except for missing 2/3 of 1968. He made 3 Pro Bowls during his time in Philly.

John Meyers was acquired from the Cowboys after the 1963 season, and started at right tackle from 1964-1967.

Rookie Gary Pettigrew replaced the veteran Bobby Richards at right end to start the 1966 season. After 2 years there, Pettigrew moved inside to RT, starting most of 1968-71 there. After a season on the bench, Gary was the starting left tackle in 1973, and was traded to the Giants after 4 games in 1974.

Mel Tom joined the Eagles as a linebacker in 1967 and was soon converted to a defensive end. He started all but 1 game at right end from 1968 to 1972. After 4 starts in 1973 he was dealt to the Bears.



Tim Rossovich was the Birds' top pick in 1968, and when he wasn't eating glass or setting his hair on fire, he played left end for 2-plus seasons. After 5 games in 1970, he was moved to MLB, replacing the veteran Dave Lloyd.

Ernie Calloway started 8 games at left tackle as a rookie in 1969. After 5 games there in '70, he moved to left end (replacing Rossovich) with Hultz returning to the starting lineup at tackle. In '71 he was a swingman – sharing left end with rookie Richard Harris and right tackle with Pettigrew. He started 5 games in 1972, and that was the end of his career. (I have a recollection that he was traded to the Chiefs, but the record doesn’t show any playing time there.)

Like they did 3 years earlier, the Eagles took a defensive end with their #1 pick in 1971. Richard Harris started 10 games at left end as a rookie and 13 more in his sophomore season. With Pettigrew and Calloway both gone by 1973, Harris started 10 games at right tackle, then played his remaining 4 seasons with the Bears and Seahawks.

Will Wynn was a 7th-round pick in 1973 and started 8 games at right end (replacing the departed Mel Tom). After 27 starts at left end from '74-'75, Wynn started every game on the right side in 1976. After the season, coach Dick Vermeil decided Wynn wasn't "his kind of player" and sent him packing.


Other short-term starters:


Randy Beisler (normally a guard) started 8 games at left D tackle in 1968, his 3rd and last season with the Eagles.

After 11 years with the Patriots, Houston Antwine finished his career with 1 season in Philly (1972), starting 9 games at right tackle as the Birds patched their D-line.

Long-time Jet Gerry Philbin shared the left end job with fellow import Dennis Wirgowski. It was Philbin's final season after 9 with the Jets.

After 3 seasons with the Patriots, Dennis Wirgowski finished his career with 8 starts for the Eagles in '73.

With Pettigrew and Harris leaving after 1973, there were no defensive lineman remaining from prior to 1973.  

Joe Jones started 13 games at right end in his 1st season with the Eagles, and 5 more in 1975.

Defensive tackle Bill Dunstan started 7 games in ’73, 7 games in ’74, and 14 games in ’75.

Ex-Bill Jerry Patton started all 14 games at RDT in 1974, his only season in Philly.

Other Eagles’ draft picks Mitch Sutton (7) and Willie Cullars (1) made a few starts in 1974.

Rich Glover played 1 season (1975) with the Eagles, starting all 14 games at left tackle.

Blenda Gay started 8 games at right end in ’75, and ’13 games at left end in 1976. He was shot and killed in a domestic dispute just after the ’76 season.


The ’74 to ’75 Eagles was the era of ”The $400 Defensive Line” (what with waiver pickups costing $100).

Dick Vermeil began a major housecleaning along the D-line, bringing in Manny Sistrunk and Carl Hairston in 1976, and in 1977 switching to a 3-4, with rookie nose tackle Charlie Johnson joining the team.


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                             (Rossovich also started 25 games at MLB from 1971 to 1972.)

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.