NFC East: Tom Brookshier

Best Eagles Team Ever: 1960

June, 22, 2010
Notable players: LB Chuck Bednarik, WR Tommy McDonald, SE Pete Retzlaff, LB Maxie Baughan, QB Norm Van Brocklin, FB Ted Dean, DE Marion Campbell, CB Tom Brookshier

[+] EnlargeNorm Van Brocklin
David Boss/US PresswireNorm Van Brocklin quarterbacked the Eagles to the 1960 championship.
Analysis: Because we reward championships -- even when there weren’t a lot of other teams. The Eagles beat Vince Lombardi’s Packers in the championship game at Franklin Field, and that’s saying something. Bednarik remains an iconic part of the franchise’s history. In a win over the Giants in 1960, he famously knocked out Frank Gifford with a punishing blow. Gifford didn’t get up that day, and he also missed the following season.

Van Brocklin was at the end of the career, but he made his final season count by delivering bombs to McDonald and Retzlaff. McDonald, a Hall of Famer, averaged more than 20 yards per catch in 1960. He scored a 35-yard touchdown in the Eagles’ classic 17-13 win over the Packers. The Eagles won their other two titles in the late 1940s under coach Greasy Neale, but the ’60 team made more of an impact in the community. It’s only appropriate that the Eagles will break out the kelly green jerseys for the season opener against the Packers. Too bad they can’t play at Franklin Field (they supposedly looked into it).

Most impressive win: Definitely the title game against the Packers. In his second season as head coach of the Packers, Vince Lombardi had Jim Taylor, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Max McGee, Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg on offense. This was a dynasty in the making, but the Eagles forced the Packers to wait a year before Green Bay won the NFL title in ’61.

Best player: McDonald was a burner, but I’ll go with Bednarik because he gave the team its identity. He played center and linebacker.

Honorable mention

2004: Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens formed one of the top combinations in the league, and Brian Westbrook was dangerous as a dual threat. This was a superb team -- as evidenced by its playoff run without the injured T.O.

1980: Eagles fans have fond memories of Wilbert Montgomery carving up the Cowboys in the NFC title game for 194 yards and a touchdown. Nose tackle Charlie Johnson helped anchor a dominating defense.

2002: Duce Staley ran for 1,000 yards and had 500 yards receiving. The Eagles were deep enough that they made it to the NFC title game during a season in which A.J. Feeley had to start five games because McNabb was injured. I don’t have to remind you what happened against Tampa Bay in the playoffs. By the way, the Eagles dominated the Bucs in a 20-10 win earlier that season.

There was only one 'Brookie'

February, 9, 2010
Friends and family members gathered Monday in Philadelphia to remember the great Tom Brookshier. He wasn't a native Philadelphian but he was adopted by the community during his playing days with the Eagles and subsequent broadcasting career.

Bob Ford of the Inquirer has a moving account of Monday's memorial service. You get the feeling that folks will be celebrating Brookshier's life for years to come.

"Two portraits flanked the altar yesterday, one of Brookshier in his No. 40 Eagles uniform, and the other, from later in life, in the business suit of a professional sportscaster," writes Ford. "He had those two lives here, but unlike some other local celebrities, whose offstage personalities doesn't match their onstage personas, there weren't two Brookshiers. Only one. Only Brookie."

Here's how former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil described Brookshier during the memorial service at Ardmore Presbyterian Church:

"A very unique piece of work," said Vermeil. "Bright, compassionate, empathetic, enthusiastic, humorous, impulsive, spontaneous, intense, tough, a never-ending source of encouragement, and a man of great integrity."

Most football fans under the age of 35 sort of assume that Pat Summerall and John Madden were always together in the broadcast booth. But those of us who started watching the NFL during the 70s know better. You never knew what might come out of Brookshier's mouth, but Summerall was there to gently rein his pal in if necessary. They were a great team -- and that's why Summerall was at the microphone again Monday.

Monday Beastlines: Jets-'Boys Super Bowl?

February, 8, 2010
We've scoured Web sites across the nation so you don't have to do any heavy lifting. Here's the latest from the NFC East: