In memory of Eagles great Steve Van Buren, we bring you our Top 10 Eagles of all time.
The bottom half of this list was tough to put together, and there were at least another 10 under consideration before we made our final decisions – let us know what your think!
10. Bob Brown (OT, 1964-68)
Selected second overall in the 1964 draft, Brown is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and six-time Pro Bowler (3 with the Eagles).
9. Donovan McNabb (QB, 1999-2009)
Also drafted second overall, McNabb led the Eagles to 5 NFC Championship Games – and one Super Bowl (a loss). McNabb was a 6-time Pro Bowler and NFC Player of the Year in 2004, and stands atop the Eagles’ all-time list for passing yardage and touchdown passes.
8. Al Wistert (OT-DT, 1943-51 (1943 for Phil-Pitt Steagles))
Wistert, an 8-time All-Pro selection, captained the 1948 and 1949 Eagles’ NFL Championship teams. His #70 is one of only 7 numbers retired by the Eagles.
7. Wilbert Montgomery (RB, 1977-84)
Montgomery was an unheralded sixth round pick out of Abilene Christian, but soon moved to the top of the depth chart in Philadelphia. Montgomery was a 3-time 1000-yard rusher and 2-time Pro Bowler, but achieved Eagles immortality with a 42-yard off-tackle run to the right to put the Eagles in front early en route to a 20-7 NFC Championship Game win over Dallas at the Vet in 1981.
6. Tommy McDonald (WR, 1957-63)
McDonald, a Maxwell Award winner out of Oklahoma as a running back, went on to a Hall of Fame career as a wideout who never wore a facemask. McDonald, a 6-time Pro Bowler (5 with the Eagles), retired with 84 receiving touchdowns, second highest of all-time at the time.
5. Pete Pihos (DE-WR, 1947-55)
Pihos, a Hall of Famer and 6-time Pro Bowl selection, joined the Eagles after military service and was immediately part of 3 straight division champions, the last two of which were NFL champions.
4. Brian Dawkins (S, 1996-2008)
Dawkins was unquestionably the best safety to ever play for the Eagles, and the team’s heart and soul on defense in the Andy Reid era. It is expected that Dawkins’ #20 will become the 8th Eagles’ jersey number retired at a ceremony during the 2012 season.
3. Reggie White (DE, 1985-1992)
If Dawkins was the defense’s heart and soul in the Andy Reid era, Reggie White, the “Minister of Defense,” served in the same role under Buddy Ryan and Rich Kotite. White, who died in 2004 at age 43, is widely regarded as the greatest defensive end in NFL history, earning 13 Pro Bowl selections and an all-USFL selection en route to a Hall of Fame career. His #92 is not only retired, but, along with a photo, adorns a multi-story staircase at Lincoln Financial Field.
2. Chuck Bednarik (LB-C, 1949-1962)
Bedarik, nicknamed “Concrete Charlie,” was the last of the NFL’s 60-minnute men – playing both offense and defense – and played for two different championship era teams (in 1949 and again in 1960). Bednarik’s ferocious hits and tenacious play made him the most feared defensive player of his era. An 8-time Pro Bowler and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Bednarik’s #60 has been retired by the Eagles.
1. Steve Van Buren (RB, 1944-51)
Van Buren, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, 7-time All-Pro, 4-time NFL rushing leader (his three in a row has only been matched three times) and first to reach 1000 yards in two different seasons, retired as the NFL’s all-time rushing yardage leader (5860) after the 1951 season. Van Buren was the key player on the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championship teams, and is largely credited with turning the fortunes of the Eagles franchise – which had never finished with a winning record nor above 4th place since the NFL was founded in 1933 – around. His #15 has been retired by the Eagles.