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 (

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 (

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.

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