Top 10 Players That Never Won A Championship in Philadelphia Part I: Philadelphia Eagles

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Eagles

#10: Jeremiah Trotter

Eagles Linebacker (1998-2001, 2004-2006, 2009)

Trotter, known as “The Axe Man”, had three separate stints with the Eagles between 1998 and 2009. Trotter was considered one of the best middle linebackers in recent history and one of the best that the Eagles had seen in their history. Despite being part of the late Jim  Johnson’s legendary blitz-happy defense, he was unable to bring the Lombardi Trophy here to Philadelphia.

In his first stint with the Eagles, Trotter led the Eagles in tackles year after year. In his first stint with the Eagles, Trotter amassed 361 tackles, 9 sacks, 5 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. Unfortunately, he was released in 2001 and signed with the Washington Redskins 1 year later. He made two separate returns, each more forgettable then the one before it. Trotter is currently a free agent and has yet to win a Super Bowl in his career.

#9: Jon Runyan

Eagles Offensive Tackle (2000-2008)

From 2000-2008, this 6’7″, 330 pound behemoth was a force on the Eagles’ offensive line. At the time of his signing, he was the highest paid lineman in NFL history. To say the least, Runyan was a force to be reckoned with. Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman described Runyan’s play as dirty, though Runyan insisted that “That’s the way the game’s supposed to be played. I think they’ve tried to change that over the years. It’s turned into a basketball game out there.”

Runyan has a Pro Bowl appearance under his belt (in 2003) and has played in two Super Bowls (XXXIV with the Titans, and XXXIX with the Eagles), but was on the losing side both times. Runyan was one of those players who deserved to win a Super Bowl ring in general. Had he won one with the Eagles, it would have really been something special.

#8: Randall Cunningham

Eagles Quarterback (1985-1995)

Though he played for 4 different teams in his career, Cunningham is perhaps best known for his 10 year stint with the Eagles. During his tenure with the Eagles, Cunningham was a double threat who could beat you with his arms or with his legs. Cunningham is also remembered for his record-setting 91 yard punt, as well as his 60 yard pass (from his own end zone) to Fred Barnett that resulted in a 95-yard touchdown.

Unfortunately, the Eagles rarely made the playoffs. Cunningham’s 1991 season ended during the very first game after he was tackled by Green Bay’s Bryce Paup and tore his ACL as a result. Cunningham made a full recovery in time for the 1992 season and was able to lead the Eagles to their first playoff win in 12 years. However, his knee injury slowed down his speed, which was one of his biggest weapons. He retired in 1995, though he returned with the Minnesota Vikings two years later in 1997. In 2001, after playing for the Vikings, Cowboys, and Ravens, Cunningham retired for a second and final time.

#7: Ron Jaworski

Eagles Quarterback (1977-1986)

Known as “The Polish Rifle”, and simply “Jaws”, Ron Jaworski was one of the best quarterbacks in Eagles History. Jaworski started out with the then-Los Angeles Rams before being traded to the Eagles in the spring of 1977. When Jaworski arrived, the Eagles were less than stellar, to say the least. His first few years in Philadelphia were shaky, but first-year coach Dick Vermeil decided to stick with his young QB and three years later in 1980, the Eagles had one of their most successful seasons in team history.

The 1978 and 1979 seasons both ended with first round playoff losses. 1980 was different. Four years after Jaworski arrived in Philadelphia, the Eagles defeated the hated Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship to advance to Super Bowl XV against the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, Jaworski and the Eagles were on the wrong side of things, losing 27-10. That was as close as Jaworski would come to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Jaworski put up great numbers, but perhaps his most significant stat is 0, as in the number of Super Bowl titles he won with the Eagles.

#6: Brian Westbrook

Eagles Running Back (2002-2009)

In 2002, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted running back Brian Westbrook in the 3rd round out of Villanova University. Several teams passed on him due to past injuries (he missed an entire season in college due to a knee injury) and because Villanova is not a Division 1 football school. Despite this, Andy Reid decided to draft Westbrook. He did not see too much playing time until 2004 when he became the Eagles starting running back after Duce Staley signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Corell Buckhalter injured his knee. As a starter, he was a double threat on offense rushing for a career high 812 yards and leading running backs in receiving with 73 receptions for 703 yards, and nine total touchdowns (3 rushing and 6 passing).

The McNabb to Westbrook screen pass became a staple in the Eagles offense. Westbrook’s 2005 season came to an end after a 42-0 Monday night loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Westbrook continued to excel, despite his injury until he was slowed by two separate concussions sustained in 2009 and LeSean McCoy took over in Westbrook’s place. Westbrook’s only trip to the Superbowl was in February 2005 against the Patriots, a game which the Eagles lost 24-21 to the New England Patriots. To date, that is the closest Brian Westbrook has come to a Super Bowl title.

#5: Vince Papale

Eagles Wide Receiver (1976-1978)

In 1976 new Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, who was without a first round draft pick due to poor trades made by the Eagles before his arrival, decided to hold an open tryout for his team. Among those trying out was a 30 year-old bartender named Vince Papale. Papale played semi-pro football for the Aston Green Knights of the Seaboard Football League. Other than that, his only pro experience was as a wide receiver with the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League for two years. Papale stuck out at the tryout and was invited to a private workout with Dick Vermeil.

Papale made the team and, at the age of 30, was the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL who did not play college football (excluding kickers). In addition to wide receiver, he was also on special teams. In his three years with the Eagles,  Papale had two fumble recoveries (including one that led to Dick Vermeil’s first NFL victory) and one 15-yard reception. After just 3 years, Papale retired after suffering a shoulder injury in 1979. The Eagles only made the playoffs once during his 3-year career, and it was a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. A Super Bowl would have been the icing on the cake for Papale, a lifelong Eagles fan. It also would have made for an unbelievable ending to “Invincible”, the 2006 movie chronicling Papale’s brief NFL career.

#4: Jerome Brown

Eagles Defensive Tackle (1987-1991)

The Philadelphia Eagles used the 9th overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft to select Jerome Brown, a 6’2″, 292 pound defensive tackle from the University of Miami. Brown became a large piece of head coach Buddy Ryan’s “Gang Green” Defense, one in which became famous (or infamous, depending on which way you look at it.) Brown was elected to 2 Pro Bowls in his career (in 1990 and 1991).

On June 25, 1992, tragedy struck. Brown was driving his Corvette in his hometown of Brooksville, Florida with his young nephew when he lost control of his car. The Corvette skidded then crashed, killing both Jerome Brown and his 12 year-old nephew Gus. Eagles players and fans alike were devastated. As a tribute to their fallen teammate, the Eagles adopted an unofficial motto for the 1992 season: “Bring it home for Jerome”. Unfortunately, the 1992 Eagles were unable to do so. To this day, fans continue to use the motto “Bring it home for Jerome”.

#3: Reggie White

Eagles Defensive End (1985-1992)

Signed by the Eagles in 1985 after the United States Football League (USFL) folded, Reggie White was one of the most fierce defensive ends to ever wear an Eagles uniform. White was also known for his strong religious beliefs. This led to his nickname: “The Minister of Defense”, a nickname that was not given to him by accident. White was elected to an unprecedented 13 Pro Bowls and was selected as an All-Pro 13 times (First-Team 10 times and Second-Team 3 times). White had more sacks with the Eagles than games played. White won a Super Bowl later on in his career with the Green Bay Packers, but was unable to win one with the Eagles, something that would have further solidified him as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history .

Sadly, Reggie White passed away on December 26, 2004 at the age of 43. His legendary number 92 has been retired by both the Eagles and the Green Bay Packers. Reggie White will forever be remembered as one of the greatest defensive players in Philadelphia Eagles history, and in NFL history.

#2: Donovan McNabb

Eagles Quarterback (1999-2009)

In 1999, the Eagles had the 2nd overall pick in the draft, and were coming off of a dismal 3-13 1998 season, the last one under head coach Ray Rhodes. Eagles fans everywhere were hoping that they would select Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams out of the University of Texas. However, new head coach Andy Reid wanted a quarterback that he could build a team around. Draft Day came and Eagles fans everywhere were bracing for the arrival of Ricky Williams. “With the second pick, the Philadelphia Eagles select Donovan McNabb, quarterback, Syracuse University”. Those words kick started the career of (whether you like him or not) one of the best quarterbacks in Eagles history.

The Eagles finished 5-11 in 1999, and by the start of the 2000 season McNabb was the starter for the Eagles. For the next nine seasons, McNabb put up stats that were not seen since the likes of Ron Jaworski. In his 10 years in Philadelphia, McNabb led the Eagles to the playoffs in 7 of those seasons. McNabb helped the Eagles to four straight NFC East titles from 2001-2004 and reached the NFC Championship 5 times. Unfortunately, the Eagles were only able to win the NFC Championship once. Many began to criticize McNabb for his inability to come through in the clutch. 2004 was different  though. After three straight NFC Championship losses, McNabb finally helped the Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 and advanced to Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, the Eagles lost 24-21, and McNabb, much like Ron Jaworski, came up just short of bringing Philadelphia a much-needed Super Bowl title.

In Donovan McNabb’s 10 year Eagles tenure, he surpassed the previous all-time leader in nearly every offensive category. He was probably the greatest (statistical) quarterback in Eagles history. However, the one stat that stands out the most is his 0 Super Bowl titles with the Eagles. McNabb gave Eagles fans plenty of things to appreciate, but he also gave fans plenty of things to be frustrated about. (If  only Super Bowl XXXIX ended differently…)

#1: Brian Dawkins

Eagles Safety (1996-2008)

Not since the likes of Reggie White and Jerome Brown was a member of the Eagles defense  more beloved in Philadelphia than Brian Dawkins was (and frankly, still is). Drafted by the Eagles out of Clemson University, Dawkins made an immediate impact. In his rookie season Dawkins started in 13 of his 14 games played that season. Dawkins finished the 1996 season with 75 tackles, 1 sack and 3 interceptions. This was just the beginning. Over the course of his Eagles tenure, Dawkins was elected to the Pro Bowl 7 times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2005, 2006,  and 2008). He was a first-team All-Pro 5 times and a second-team All-Pro twice (once with the Eagles in 1999, and again with the Denver Broncos in 2009).

All statistics aside, Dawkins was a key piece of Jim Johnson’s legendary defense. He was also a key leader on defense. The only thing missing from  Dawkins’ trophy case is a Super Bowl ring. While with the Eagles Dawkins was seen as somewhat of a superhero, as opposed to a safety. One of his most memorable moments was a bone-crushing hit he put on then-Atlanta Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler in the 2004 NFC Championship game, which the Eagles went on to win 27-10. While he was unable to win a Super Bowl with the Eagles, fans will still be happy for him if he wins one with the Broncos, the team in which he signed with in 2009, ending a 13 year tenure in Philadelphia. Even though he is playing for the Broncos, everyone knows that the only color that suits Brian Dawkins well is midnight green.


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