Tuesday, February 28, 2023

RIP - Gary Pettigrew

Gary Pettigrew, a defensive lineman for the Eagles from 1966-74, passed away on January 21, 2023 at age 78.
Pettigrew was a 2nd-round pick in 1966, and started 10 games at right defensive end in each of his first 2 seasons. 
In 1968 the Birds revamped their defensive line, putting 1968 #1 pick Tim Rossovich at LE and 2nd-year man Mel Tom at RE. Pettigrew moved to right DT, where he stayed for the next few years.
Starting all 14 games in 1968, he was limited to 6 starts in 1969, missing 7 games due to injury. 
In 1970 he again started every game at RDT, but the next 2 seasons found him mostly riding the bench, behind regulars Don Hultz, Ernie Calloway (in '71), and Houston Antwine ('72), only starting 6 of his 13 games in '71 and 2 of his 13 games in '72. 
Gary was back in the lineup in 1973, starting 12 of his 14 games, but this time at left tackle. After 4 games (no starts) in 1974, he was traded to the Giants, and retired after the season. 

Monday, December 26, 2022

RIP - Pete Liske

I just learned today that Pete Liske, the Eagles' starting QB in 1971 and 1972, passed away on February 12, 2022 at age 79.
Liske played college ball at Penn State, then was drafted by the Eagles and Jets in 1963. He signed with the Jets, and played 2 games for them (1 start) in 1964. 
After 4 seasons in the CFL, Liske joined the Broncos in 1969 and played 7 games (2 starts) that season, and 11 games (9 starts) in 1970. Before the 1971 season, Denver acquired QBs Don Horn (from the Packers) and Steve Ramsey (from the Saints), so Liske was expendable. 
He was traded to the Eagles, where he replaced the departed Norm Snead. Liske played all 28 games in his 2 seasons with the Eagles, starting 10 games in 1971 and 7 in 1972, before he was replaced by #1 draft pick John Reaves. 
With the Birds' acquisition of Roman Gabriel after the 1972 season, Liske was again expendable, and returned to the CFL for 3 more seasons until retiring after 1975. 
Liske was a back judge in the NFL from 1983-88, and was the athletic director at the University of Washington (1985-92), University of Idaho (1992-96), and University of Toledo (1996-2000). In 2001 he returned to Penn State in a fund-raising role.  

Monday, October 3, 2022

RIP - Herb Lusk

Herb Lusk, a halfback for the Eagles from 1976-78, passed away on September 19, 2022 at age 69.
Lusk (nicknamed "The Praying Tailback") was the first player to kneel in the end zone to pray following a touchdown.
He was the Eagles' 10th-round pick in 1976. The Eagles were without their first 3 picks that year due to past trades for Roman Gabriel and Bill Bergey. Still, they had 15 picks in the 17-round draft, but wasted 9 of them on players who never played a game in the NFL.   A 10th player played 7 games the following season, but not for the Eagles.  
So, Dick Vermeil's 1st draft boiled down to 5 players: Carl Hairston (7th round), FB Mike Hogan (9th), TE Richard Osborne (9th), Lusk (10th), and LB Terry Tautolo (13th). Only Hairston made long-term contributions. 
Lusk played behind veteran HB Tom Sullivan and FB Mike Hogan in '76 and '77. Although Sullivan was traded after the 1977 season, Wilbert Montgomery had been drafted that year, and jumped over Lusk into the starting halfback job in 1978. Lusk was only used as a kick returner in '78 and had no rushes. 
No matter, Lusk had planned to only play for 3 years, then enter the ministry. For the past 40 years, he was the pastor at a church in North Philadelphia.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

RIP - Guy Morriss

Guy Morriss, the Eagles' iron-man center from 1973 to 1983, passed away on September 5, 2022 at age 71.
Morriss was the Birds' 2nd-round pick in 1973. Although a guard in college, he was converted to a center as a rookie, and started 9 of 14 games that season. 
He played in all 159 games during his tenure with the Eagles, and after his rookie season, he started all but 1 game. 
Waived after the 1983 season, he played 4 more years as the Patriots' backup center.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

RIP - Various Eagles

Although they played for the Eagles outside the scope of this blog (1966-75), the following former Eagles passed away in the past year:
Player          Position      Died	 Eagles Tenure
Charlie Johnson    NT      08/13/2021    1977-1981
Mike Pitts         DT      11/04/2021    1987-1992
Claude Humphrey    DE      12/03/2021    1979-1981
John Madden        T       12/28/2021    1958
Charles Johnson    WR      07/17/2022    1999-2000

Thursday, July 28, 2022

1973 Eagles

After a 2-11-1 season in 1972, the Eagles fired their GM (Pete Retzlaff) and Head Coach (Ed Khayat). 
In 1973 the Eagles had a new coach (Mike McCormick) a new QB (Roman Gabriel) and the best draft they had in a long time: T Jerry Sisemore (3rd overall) and TE Charlie Young (6th overall) in the 1st round,  Guy Morriss (C) in the 2nd round, and Randy Logan (S) in the 3rd round.  They also picked up Joe Lavender (CB) in the 12th round. 
Harold Jackson was traded away for Gabriel, but Harold Carmichael stepped up and led the NFL in receiving. Rookie Charlie Young also had 6 TDs, and 2nd-year running back Tom Sullivan gained 968 yards in his first year as a starter.
All this created a buzz among Eagles' fans, and led to a 5-8-1 record and a third place finish, behind the Cowboys and Redskins who were both 10-4.
In 1973, Topps greatly expanded their set.  Previously, only about 8 to 10 cards per team were printed. 5 of the 19 Eagles issued by Topps were not with the team in 1973.

Pete Liske was the Eagles' starting QB in 1971 and part of 1972, but with the acquisition of Roman Gabriel, he was released.

Norm Bulaich gained 436 yards in his first of two seasons with the Eagles.

Harold Jackson played 4 seasons for the Eagles (leading the NFL in receiving in '69 and '72), but was traded to the Rams for Roman Gabriel.

Ben Hawkins started the first 4 games, then was traded to the Browns for DE Joe Jones.

Mark Nordquist is once again designated as a center by Topps, but he was the starting right guard.

Jim Skaggs was a reserve, after many years as the starting right guard.

Wade Key was the starting left tackle for 2 seasons, but moved to left guard in 1973.

Steve Smith moved from right tackle in '72 to left tackle in '73 to accommodate rookie Jerry Sisemore.

Tom Dempsey was the Birds' kicker from midway through the '71 season through the '74 season. 


Mel Tom was the starting right end from 1968-72.  After 4 games in '73 he was traded to the Bears.

Ernie Calloway was a starter in his first 3 seasons ('69, '70, '71) but only played 5 games in 1972. He and Leroy Keyes were shipped off to the Chiefs before the 1973 season.

Don Hultz was the starter at left end for 3 seasons (65-67) and left tackle for 3 more (70-72), but only played 3 games in 1973.

Steve Zabel was the Eagles' #1 pick in the 1970 draft.  After 1 season as a tight end he was moved to linebacker. He played some middle linebacker one season, but was mostly the starting left LB from '71 to '74.

Ron Porter was a starting outside linebacker from 1969-72, but was traded to the Vikings before the 1973 season.

Al Nelson was the starting left cornerback for the Eagles from 1965 to midway through 1973.

Nate Ramsey played for the Eagles from 1963-72.  He was a starting safety from 65-70, and starting right corner in '64, '71, and '72.

Leroy Keyes was the Eagles' #1 pick in 1969.  After 2 years at HB and 2 at SS, he was traded to the Chiefs before the 1973 season.

Bill Bradley joined the Eagles in 1969, and was their starting free safety (and sometimes punter) from 1971-76. He was their best defensive player until the arrival of Bill Bergey in 1974.

John Reaves was the Eagles' #1 pick in 1972.  He started half the games as a rookie, then backed up Roman Gabriel in 1973.

Here are some custom cards I found on the internet:

Roman Gabriel was acquired in the off-season for Harold Jackson. He was the starting QB for 3 seasons (73-75), then backed up Mike Boryla ('76) and Ron Jaworski ('77).

Rick Arrington was the Eagles' backup QB from 1970-72, but was not on the team in '73.

Tom Sullivan was a rookie in 1972.  He was the starting halfback from 1973 to 1977, before giving way to Wilbert Montgomery.  He led the NFL with 11 rushing TDs in 1974.

Larry Watkins played for the Eagles from 1970-72, and was their starting fullback for 8 games in 1972.

Harold Carmichael was a rookie in 1971.  After 2 seasons as the 3rd WR and sometimes-starting tight end, he replaced the departed Harold Jackson as a starting wideout, and led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards in 1973. He played in every game from 1973-81, starting all but 1 of them.

Charle Young was a 1st-round pick for the Eagles in 1973, scoring 6 TDs as a rookie.

7/29 EDIT: Added starting lineup list below (to 1967 - 1972 Eagles posts too)

All players are not listed in the labels below.  Blogger has a max of 200 characters for the labels.  :(

Saturday, July 9, 2022

1972 Eagles

In 1972, Topps expanded their set from 2 to 3 series, although the 3rd series was the "high numbers" and were hard to find. I had most of the cards in the first 2 series in 1972, but didn't get any 3rd series cards until a few years ago (and only have Eagles' punter Tom McNeil from that series, if I recall correctly). 

The Eagles regressed in 1972 to 2-11-1 after winning 6 games in 1971. Owner Leonard Tose finally tired of his team's wallowing in mediocrity and at season's end fired GM Pete Retzlaff and head coach Ed Khayat. In addition to a new GM and coach for 1973, there would be a new QB and better drafting. 

But, here's the best the 1972 team could offer.  The only quality players here were Harold Jackson and Bill Bradley.  Maybe Tom Dempsey too.

Pete Liske was in his 2nd of 2 years with the Eagles, but by mid-season lost the starting job to rookie John Reaves.

Harold Jackson led the NFL in receiving, then was dealt to the Rams for QB Roman Gabriel.

Mark Nordquist was actually the starting right guard, but Topps has him listed as a center.

Henry Allison was one of the stiffs the Eagles wasted a high draft pick on in 1971.  He started at left guard mostly out of necessity, not skill.

Tom Dempsey joined the Eagles midway through the 1971 season.

Steve Zabel was the Birds' #1 pick in 1970.  After a season as the backup tight end, he switched to outside linebacker in 1971.  Topps hadn't caught up yet.

Leroy Keyes was the Eagles' #1 pick in 1969.  After losing the O.J. Simpson sweepstakes, they chose Keyes ahead of Joe Greene and other outstanding players. Keyes was a bust at halfback, then switched to strong safety for his final 2 years in Philly.

Bill Bradley was the Eagles' free safety and punter for most of the early-1970s, and the only real bright spot on defense until Bill Bergey arrived in 1974.

Tom McNeill - Topps is only going to make 9 cards per team, and uses one of them for a punter?

Here are some custom cards I found on the internet:
John Reaves was the Eagles' #1 pick in 1972.  He started half the games as a rookie, then backed up Roman Gabriel beginning in 1973.

Jim Nance led the AFL in rushing in 1966 and 1967.  He was acquired from the Patriots before the 1972 season, but promptly retired.  He un-retired the next season to play for the Jets.

Mel Tom was the team's starting right defensive end from 1967 to 1973.

Ron Porter played outside linebacker from 1969-72.


Friday, July 1, 2022

1971 Eagles

The 1971 Eagles finished with a 6-7-1 record. On the surface that seems like a great improvement from the previous season's 3-10-1 last place finish, but it mattered little because in 1972 they returned to last place with a 2-11-1 record. What a roller coaster! 

These are the cards for the 1971 Eagles. You may be wondering why there is no quarterback card. Long-time veteran Norm Snead was traded to the Vikings in the off-season, and appears on a Vikings card (but in an Eagles' jersey). Snead was replaced by CFL quarterback Pete Liske, but not until just before training camp. 

Aside from not including a quarterback, the position allocation seems a little strange here: 3 running backs, 2 wide receivers (including kick returner Billy Walik instead of veteran starter Ben Hawkins), no offensive linemen, and no middle linebacker.

Except for Tom Woodeshick, Harold Jackson, and Tim Rossovich, all of the cards here are the player's rookie card. The 1970 rookies (Lee Bouggess, Walik, Mark Moseley) appear in the team's current jerseys. Others are shown in the late-1960s' Eagles jersey with stripes around the shoulders.

The 10th Eagles' card in this set is for linebacker Adrian Young, but this is not a photo of Young. It is Rick Duncan, who punted for ONE game in 1968. Why would Topps even have a photo of such a short-short-short timer, but they had trouble finding recent photos for baseball players that were in their 2nd or 3rd full year with a new team? *SMDH*

Details on the individual players can be found in this blog post

Here are some custom cards I found on the internet:
Pete Liske was the Eagles' #1 QB in 1971 and part of 1972.
Rick Arrington was the 2nd-stringer in 1970 and 1971, then relegated to 3rd string in 1972.
Ron Bull was acquired from the Bears before the 1971 season.
Ron Porter was a starting outside linebacker from 1969-72.
Adrian Young is actually pictured on this card.  The photo is distorted because of enlargement.
Bill Bradley played for the Eagles from 1969-76, and was the starting free safety from 1971-76.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

1970 Eagles

1970 was the first year I followed the NFL (and the Eagles in particular), but as I recall, not until midway through the season. 

Oddly enough, I collected football cards in 1967 and 1968, but not again until 1971. (My sports card collecting started with 1967 baseball and football, then the same 2 sports in 1968, but ended after the 1969 baseball season. Then I started up again with 1971 football, and both sports in 1972, before I stopped again until 1981.)

The Eagles finished with a 3-10-1 record in 1970, dead last in the newly-formed NFC East division. It was one game worse than their 4-9-1 finish in 1969. 

From 1968 to 1971, Topps only printed from 7 to 9 cards per team (which is handy when filling 9-pocket pages). 

Since I didn't collect cards in 1970, I only acquired these cards in the past few years, as I was completing my Eagles' team sets for 1964 to 1975.

1970 was the final year for Norm Snead as the Eagles' quarterback. Generally a disappointment since being acquired for Sonny Jurgensen after the 1963 season, he was kicked out of Philly in the spring of 1971.

Tom Woodeshick was the Eagles' starting fullback from 1967-1969, then rode the bench in favor of rookie Lee Bouggess in 1970.

Ben Hawkins was the Eagles' starting flanker from 1966 to 1973.  He may be best known for his dangling chinstrap.

Harold Jackson was acquired from the Rams in 1969, and was probably the Birds' best player in his 4 seasons with the team.  He led the NFL in receiving in '69 and '72.  Harold returned to the Rams after the 1972 season in exchange for QB Roman Gabriel.

Gary Ballman was the Eagles' starting split end in '67 and '68, then moved to tight end with the arrival of Jackson in 1969.

Tim Rossovich was the Eagles' #1 draft pick in 1968 and was the starting left end for his first 2 1/2 seasons.  Midway through 1970 he was moved to middle linebacker.

Dave Lloyd was the Eagles' long-time middle linebacker, but was finally replaced by Rossovich during the 1970 season.  He spent the remainder of his final season as a kicker (kicking off, but not for field goals or extra points).

Al Nelson played 9 seasons for the Eagles (1965-73) and was a starting cornerback every season except for missing all but 1 game in 1967.

Nate Ramsey was the Eagles' strong safety from 1963-70, then played right cornerback for his final 2 seasons with the Eagles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

RIP - Rick Arrington

Early-1970s backup QB Rick Arrington passed away on September 7, 2021 at age 74.
Arrington played for 3 seasons (all with the Eagles), and was the backup QB in Norm Snead's last year (1970) and Pete Liske's first year (1971). 
In 1972 the Eagles drafted John Reaves with their #1 pick, pushing Arrington to 3rd-string. I remember there was some talk of converting him to tight end, but that never happened. 
I learned on Wikipedia today that he was the grandfather of actresses Dakota and Elle Fanning.