Published on Sep 30, 2012
As it should be, no one will ever wear No. 20 in Eagles history again.
The Eagles retired Brian Dawkins’ No. 20 during the nationally televised showdown against the New York Giants on Sept. 30.
Andy Reid speaks with Jeff Garcia in a game against the Redskins.
Jeffrey Lurie bought the Eagles on May 6, 1994 from then-owner Norman Braman for an estimated $185 million. The club is now estimated to be the 17th most valuable sports team, worth $1.314 billion, as valuated in 2014 by Forbes.
In Lurie’s first season as owner, the team only had 7 wins, but that was followed by a 10 win season in 1995. Besides the 10 wins and a playoff berth, 1996 was an eventful year. The uniforms changed from the classic shade of Kelly Green to a darker midnight green, quarterback Randall Cunningham left after 11 seasons, and future fan favorite 13-year starter Brian Dawkins was drafted in the 2nd round. After slipping to 6-9-1, and then to 3-13, head coach Ray Rhodes was fired after 4 seasons.
In 1999, the Eagles hired head coach Andy Reid and drafted quarterback Donovan McNabb. From 1999 until 2004, the team continually improved, going from 5-11 in 1999, returning to the playoffs in with an 11-5 record in 2000, surpassing the Buccaneers in the Wild Card round before losing in the divisional. Moreover, the Eagles played in four straight NFC Championship Games between 2001 and 2004. In 2001, the Eagles stayed at 11-5, beating the Buccaneers and Bears to advance to the NFC championship, where they lost to the St. Louis Rams. In 2002, the Eagles drafted running back Brian Westbrook, got the Eagles get the 1st round bye with 2nd seed and a 12-4 record, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their revenge in the Championship and eliminate the Eagles. In 2003, they win the NFC first seed, but Westbrook goes down in Week 17, culminating in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in their 3rd straight NFC Championship. In 2004, the Philadelphia Eagles had their best season since 1960, going 13-1 before resting their starters and losing their next 2, clinching the 1st seed for the second year in a row. McNabb set career highs, completing 64% of his passes for 3,875 yards, even without playing all 16 games. McNabb became the first quarterback ever to throw more than 30 touchdowns and less than 10 interceptions in a season. His success could be attributed to the fact that he had a reliable receiver, Terell Owens, who got 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in 14 games. After beating the Vikings and Falcons, the Eagles advanced to Super Bowl XXXIX, where they dueled the New England Patriots. Although McNabb threw 3 touchdown passes and 357 yards in the game, and the score was tied 14-14 going into the fourth quarter, the Patriots outscored the Eagles 24–14. McNabb completed a 30-yard touchdown pass, and the Eagles defense held the Patriots to a 3 and out, but a crucial interception with 46 seconds left on the clock secured their fate. The Eagles have never appeared in a Super Bowl since, but this was their closest one at winning.
The team took a step back in 2005 with a 6–10 record. McNabb had played with a sports hernia and a broken thumb, starting 4-2 but losing 3 in a row, before McNabb finally succumbs to injury and is out for the rest of the season. For obnoxious behavior and a feud with McNabb, Owens was suspended after 7 games, eventually being cut. In 2006, the team lost McNabb 10 games in and went into turmoil, but Westbrook stepped up, and the Eagles earned their fifth NFC East title under Coach Reid, with a 10-6 record and a win in the wild card round, but they had an 8-8 2007 season. In 2008, the team won their 500th game, and they also drafted DeSean Jackson, a receiving threat when paired with McNabb.
On January 11, 2009, the team defeated the defending Super Bowl champion and 1st seed New York Giants 23–11 en route to their 5th NFC Championship Game in 8 years and 5th in the 10 years the Eagles have been coached by Andy Reid. In the 2008 NFC Championship Game, the Eagles made a rally, going from 24-6 at halftime to 25-24 with 3 minutes left in the 4th, but they lost to the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 32–25 after quarteback Kurt Warner scored a last minute touchdown. As of the conclusion of the 2014 season, during the Lurie era, the Eagles are 1–4 in conference championship games and 0–1 in Super Bowls.
On August 13, 2009, the Eagles signed quarterback Michael Vick. On December 6, 2009, Andy Reid became only the 5th coach in NFL history to win 100 or more games with a single team in a single decade. The other four are Tom Landry, Don Shula, Tony Dungy, and Bill Belichick, all Super Bowl winners. McNabb finally had a complete receiving corps, between first round draft pick Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson’s 1,000 yard season, and Brent Celek ranking among the top 5 tight ends in the league. Without Brian Dawkins, defensive end Trent Cole stepped up and became the dominant force on defense with 12 sacks, earning him his second trip to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. In 2009, the Eagles started 5-4, but moved up to 11-4, and could clinch the NFC 2nd seed if they won their next game. After a shutout at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys in week 17, the Eagles missed the 1st round bye. but with a record of 11–5, but they were the NFC 6th seed and they narrowly made the playoffs. In the 2009 NFC Wild Card Game, the Eagles played against the Dallas Cowboys for the second consecutive week and lost 34–14. Despite many errors from many players, and a great season before the breakdown in Dallas, McNabb took the brunt of the blow and was heavily criticized. Coach Andy Reid said up until April 1, 2010, that McNabb would remain the starter.
On March 5, 2010, Brian Westbrook was cut from the Eagles after eight seasons with the team. On April 4, 2010, the team traded long-time starting quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins in exchange for a second round draft pick. Kevin Kolb was immediately named the starter, but after suffering a concussion in week 1 against the Packers, Vick took over as the starter. Vick led the Eagles to its sixth NFC East division title in ten seasons. With a record of 10–6 the Eagles clinched the 3rd seed and had to play a Wild Card Playoff Game. During the 2010 NFC Wild Card Game, the Eagles faced off against the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and lost 21–16.
The 2011 season for the Eagles was a major disappointment, as they only managed to finish 8–8 and did not qualify for the playoffs, although they did win the last 4 games of the season. Because of several free agent acquisitions, Vince Young, a back up quarterback, stated that the Eagles were a Dream Team. The Philadelphia fan base and faithful never did concur with the comment as some national outlets made comment. Many Eagles fans believe that Vince Young saying that the Eagles were a ‘Dream Team’ is the reason that the Eagles had such a horrible season.
Eagles fans had high expectations going into the 2012 season. The Eagles started off winning three out of their four first games, but that changed when they lost the next eight games, and were eliminated from the playoff hunt. They only won one out of their last four games. After a loss to the New York Giants on December 30, 2012, Andy Reid was fired after fourteen seasons with the team. On January 16, 2013, the Eagles brought in University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to succeed Reid as head coach after a 4–12 season.
The Philadelphia Eagles named Michael Vick starting quarterback going into the 2013 season with much promise running Chip Kelly’s fast paced spread offense.
The 2013 season proved to be more successful for the Eagles. A hamstring injury took Michael Vick out, but his backup, Nick Foles, led the team to a 10-6 regular season record, and its seventh NFC East title in 13 seasons. Before throwing his first interception in Week 14, Foles threw 19 touchdowns, which was just one shy of the all-time NFL record of consecutive touchdowns without an interception to start a season, set earlier in the season by Peyton Manning. Foles also tied Manning for most touchdown passes in a single-game with 7 against the Oakland Raiders which also made him the youngest player in NFL history to throw that many touchdowns in a game. Foles finished the regular season with 27 touchdown passes and only 2 interceptions giving him the best TD-INTO ratio in NFL history. He also finished with a 119.0 passer rating, third highest in league history only behind Aaron Rodgers in 2011 and Peyton Manning in 2004. He was also only the second quarterback in NFL history to have a game in which he topped 400 passing yards and a perfect passer rating. LeSean McCoy finished his Pro Bowl season as the league’s top rusher with 1,607 rushing yards (also a franchise record) and 2,146 total yards from scrimmage, also best in the NFL. As a whole, the Eagles offense scored 51 touchdowns, most in franchise history passing the previous season high set back in 1948.
The Eagles opened the 2014 season winning their first three games and making NFL history as the only team ever to trail by ten or more points in their first three games and come back to win. Nick Foles struggled with turnovers, but ultimately did well and led the Eagles to a 6-2 record, before breaking his collarbone, resulting in his job getting taken over by Mark Sanchez. The Eagles held the divisonal title from week one to week 15 against the Cowboys. After going 9-3 with their crucial win over the Cowboys, the Eagles lost their next 3, and a week after losing the NFC East title, they lost an upset against the 3-11 Redskins and were eliminated from playoff contention with the Cowboys’ win over the Colts.
Following the 2014 season, Chip Kelly was given total control and made some controversial moves. He traded LeSean McCoy, who had become the team’s all-time leading rusher after the 2014 season, was traded for linebacker Kiko Alonso, a player Kelly coached at Oregon who had missed the entire 2014 season. He also cut ten-year veteran, Trent Cole, who was still a consistent threat on defense, but had slipped from leading the team in sacks in 2013, to coming in 3rd in 2014. He also made a trade where the highly successful Nick Foles was traded for the 2010 first overall Sam Bradford. Kelly tried to re-sign Jeremy Maclin, who had stepped up as the team’s leading wide receiver, but he signed with the Kansas City Cheifs instead. However, the Eagles also acquired league leading rusher DeMarco Murray, which not only helped the Eagles, but hurt their rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, as he was their starting running back. They also obtained Super Bowl champion Byron Maxwell, who left the Seattle Seahawks in free agency.