The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles: A Season That Needs To Be Remembered and Learned

WesAnalyst ISeptember 11, 2010

Hopefully fans don't have to wait another 50 years for a championship
Hopefully fans don't have to wait another 50 years for a championship

It's probably safe to say that half the fans in attendance at Sunday's home and season opener against the Green Bay Packers either weren't born or were too young to remember the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles Championship season.

Most probably don't know who led the team in rushing, receptions, interceptions, or whatever stat you want to toss out there.

Is it really necessary to honor an event that occurred 50 years ago?


The ceremony will allow fans to learn names like Clearance Peaks (team leader with 465 rushing yards), Pete Retzlaff (team leader with 46 receptions), and Don Burroughs, who picked off nine passes.

Perhaps fans will also understand the significance of the championship, as it marked the only time Vince Lombardi lost a playoff game in his career.

Think about that for a moment.

In 10 seasons as a head coach, Lombardi went to the playoffs six times and walked away as a champion five times. His teams played in 10 playoff games, and he amassed a 9-1 record.

The missing championship and lone blemish on Lombardi's postseason record came at the hands of the '60 Philadelphia Eagles.

Also, the number 60 should mean more than just a year to fans. It should be a reminder of Chuck Bednarik, the man who wore the number. Bednarik embodied the blue-collar mentality loved by Eagles fans as he played both linebacker and center.

He delivered a punishing hit to Giants back Frank Gifford during the 1960 season. Bednarik hit Gifford so hard that he knocked him out of football for an entire season.

But his most memorable tackle came on the final play of the 1960 Championship. Bednarik tackled Packers back Jim Taylor on the final play of the game at the Eagles' eight-yard line. The most important part of the play was Bednarik preventing Taylor from getting off the ground, which caused the game clock to expire.

Much of the season is well known, but maybe fans will walk away learning something about one of the most memorable seasons in Philadelphia sports history. Even if it is an insignificant fact such as playing on Monday, December 26 to avoid playing on Christmas Day.

Others may not even know the Eagles opened the season with a brutal 41-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns, which is considered one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Following the loss, the Eagles won 11 of their next 12 to claim the last championship in the franchise's history.

In a city filled with a rich football tradition, it would be a travesty for the fans to live in ignorance to one of the greatest teams that ever played in Philadelphia.