Philadelphia, PA - As one of the longest-tenured and historic NFL franchises, the Philadelphia Eagles have had some great players. Many of them have gone on to be considered the best players in the history of the league and Hall of Famers. The Eagles have made the playoffs across seven decades so judging players from each era can be difficult as NFL standings shift. Since the franchise began in 1933, the Philadelphia Eagles have had many great players, here’s ten of the greate's.
1. Reggie White
As the all-time leader in sacks for the Eagles with 124, Reggie White gained the nickname ‘The Minister of Defense’. He will also go down as the only player to ever gain over 20 sacks in 12 games. White ended up with seven picks to the Pro Bowl as well as All Star teams so you can imagine he was well-respected by those who knew the game. Even his #92 jersey has been retired but check out our NFL news to see which players the Philadelphia Eagles could be fielding during the season.
2. Chuck Bednarik
Nicknamed ‘Concrete Charlie’, Bednarik was undoubtedly one of the toughest players to grace American football. He was well-known for his tremendous hits, he knocked Frank Gifford straight out of the game for around 18 months no less. Playing at center and linebacker, his game was far tougher than today’s yet he would likely still impress.
3. Brian Dawkins
During the 1996 season, Dawkins took over as the starting free safety and stayed there for 13 seasons. He remains a fan favorite due to his dependable behavior on and off the field. That includes joining the 20/20 club in 2008 for 20 interceptions and 20 sacks.
4. Steve Van Buren
Steven Van Buren won the NFL twice yet his statistics will likely go down in NFL history. Count up 69 rushing touchdowns and 5,860 career rushing yards for some mind-boggling numbers. If you are wondering why you do not see the #15 jersey on the back of an Eagle today, it’s because that number has been retired too.
5. Donovan McNabb
McNabb may well go down as the greatest quarterback in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s no mean feat when you consider the competition of Norm Van Brocklin and Randall Cunningham. He led the Eagles to Superbowl XXXIX and five NFC Championship games being a prime example of stability and consistency when they needed it most.
Pihos was a key player of two championship Eagles teams as an end from 1947 to 1955. In his first three years with the franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles won the division title each time. He scored a touchdown in the crucial 1949 NFL Championship game and led the NFL for receptions in consecutive years from 1953 to 1955.
7. Harold Charmichael
If it was not for injuries, Harold Charmichael may have enjoyed an even more successful career. Then again, he is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ team Hall of Fame and their 75th anniversary team. Granted, he did have a 6 '8 frame and those long arms did help themselves to 79 touchdowns and 8,978 yards.
8. Brian Westbrook
For sheer versatility, you cannot discount Brian Westbrook as a running back. Though he failed to complete a full season, he still amassed 5,995 rushing yards and 3,790 receiving yards across his eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was also named a member of their 75th Anniversary team and became a two-time All Pro. If it was not for niggly knee injuries, you can speculate just how much more impressive his stats would have been.
9. Tommy McDonald
As the wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1957 to 1963, Tommy McDonald was a great in his own time. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 1998 and was the final non-kicker to play the game without wearing a facemask. During his playing career, he would lead the NFL in receiving in the 1961 season, became a six-time Pro Bowler, had 66 touchdowns, and ended with slightly under 5,500 receiving yards.
10. Eric Allen
When you consider Buddy Ryan’s terrifying defense during the late Eighties and early Nineties, a large part of that was down to Eric Allen. He was a cornerback in that team and kept a lot of the best receivers remarkably quiet. At the end of his career, he amassed 34 interceptions, was part of five bids for the Pro Bowl, and was selected for the All Pro team three times. Those who saw Eric Allen play, knew just how good he was.
It can prove exceptionally difficult to judge how different players would have prevailed in different eras. Would Harold Charmichael, Pete Pihos, and Tommy McDonald have excelled in the modern era? Would Brian Westbrook have amassed more touchdowns back in the early days? That can be hard to tell yet each player on this list can call themselves a great for the Philadelphia Eagles.