5 Snubbed Philadelphia Eagles Who Belong in the Hall of Fame
Al Wistert with Randall Cunnngham
Vince Young tossed three picks, and yet he still found a way to lead to the Eagles to an improbable 17-10 win against the New York Giants Sunday night.
He routinely went to Riley Cooper as if they were showing everyone their best impersonation of Norm Van Brocklin and Tommy McDonald.
And when Jason Babin forced Eli Manning to cough the ball up, he might as well have been Reggie White in the eyes of the Philly faithful.
While the current Eagles put up the best effort of the season, no one is going to put them in Hall of Fame like Van Brocklin, McDonald and White.
Come to think of it, the Eagles don't have many players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
According the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, the Eagles have 18 players enshrined.
The caveat is, unlike baseball, the Pro Football Hall of Fame does not attach a player to a specific team when he is voted into the Hall.
The website lists players such as Mike Ditka (1967-1968), James Lofton (1993), Art Monk (1995) and Richard Dent (1997) as Eagles.
It's safe to say no one is really buying it.
So why haven't the Eagles gotten any love from the Hall of Fame?
Well, for one, the franchise has been historically bad. Players that don't win Super Bowls don't get as much attention. Do you think Joe Namath is in the Hall of Fame if he doesn't win Super Bowl III?
The other factor is the players simply haven't been that good over the years. Sure, there have been a handful of really good players. But great players?
They certainly are hard to come by, but I'm willing to make a case for five players who should be in the Hall of Fame.
It's a hard sell, but I'm going to try and make a case for each of these players to get a spot in Canton.
Let's start with the most difficult sells and work our way down the line.
Harold Carmichael holds franchise records in receptions (589), touchdowns (79) and receiving yards (8,978). Included on the list are Hall of Famers Tommy McDonald and Pete Pihos.
He was a constant piece during an era when the franchise was constantly trying to rebuild. He went through multiple quarterback changes, but still found a way to finish in the top 10 for receiving touchdowns eight times.
Carmichael was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and led the league in receptions and receiving yards in 1973.
In 1980, he led Eagles receivers in receptions (48), yards (859) and touchdowns (nine) as the Eagles made their first trip to the Super Bowl.
The 6'8" receiver was a prime target in the redzone, but was also a powerful runner in the open field.
He ranks 21st in career touchdown receptions.
Wilbert Montgomery is best known for his 42-yard touchdown run against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship.
The run gave Philadelphia a 7-0 lead en route to a 20-7 win.
Montgomery was the most important player on the offensive side of the ball through the late '70s and early '80s
He is the all-time leading rusher in Eagles history with 6,538 yards and led the NFL in all-purpose yards in 1979 with 2,006.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Randall Cunningham never led the NFL in any major passing category, and yet, he changed the way quarterbacks played the game.
Sure, Fran Tarkenton was elusive, John Elway could take off and run and Steve Young was dangerous in the open field.
There was no one who could move like Cunningham and make the improbable look routine on a weekly basis. He had an ability to escape defensive linemen baring down on him and to buckle defensive backs knees in the open field.
His playmaking ability caused teams to use a spy in order to keep Cunningham in check. It didn't work well, as he eventually became the leading rusher among NFL quarterbacks with 4,928 yards.
The record has since fallen to Michael Vick this season.
But if Cunningham didn't dominate the NFL during the late 80s, would teams look for athletic quarterbacks like Vick to lead their team?
Sometimes, stats need to take a back seat, and the evaluation needs to rest solely on a player's ability to influence the way future generations would play the game.
Al Wistert was an eight-time All-Pro selection in nine seasons with the Eagles. He played on both sides of the ball and was a captain from 1946-1950. The dates are of significance because the Eagles won consecutive titles in 1948 and 1949.
In 1948, the Eagles won their first championship with a 7-0 blanking of the Chicago Cardinals. Wistert and the Birds followed up that championship with another one in 1949. This time, they shut out the Los Angeles Rams 14-0.
No other team in NFL history has ever recorded back-to-back shutouts in championship games.
There are no stats to bolster his status other than his All-Pro selections. But shouldn't we value those? He was recognized as one of the best players in the league by those who covered the NFL during the time he played.
Why can't we buy into their credibility and get this guy into Canton?
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
This might not be a tough sell in terms of convincing you he is a Hall of Famer. The problem here is many will not consider him an Eagle in any capacity.
Let's get that out of the way now.
Brian Mitchell is a Redskin. He did, however, have three great years in Philadelphia. During his limited time in Philly, he returned four kicks for touchdowns, which is a decent total considering he had nine in Washington.
He set the record for kick and punt returns for touchdowns as an Eagle, with the last coming on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers in 2002.
I mention the date because it marked the 13th year of Mitchell's prolific career, and it also says something about the way Mitchell approached his return duties.
He didn't rely on speed or making people miss. He was a return man who went straight ahead and either hit the hole or ran through defenders. No one will mistake him for Devin Hester, but he could certainly double as a fullback with his pure size and strength.
Mitchell has 13 non-offensive touchdowns, which ranks fourth in NFL history, and his 23,316 all-purpose yards are second in NFL history. He also led the NFL three different times in all-purpose yards, which is eclipsed only by Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who pulled off the feat five times.
At some point, he will get in.