Philadelphia Eagles 1980-81: Simply Magical

A look back at one of Philadelphia’s finest sports teams ever put together.

Philadelphia Eagles 1980-81

New Year’s Day of 1976 was a day that changed Coach Dick Vermeil’s life forever. Vermeil’s UCLA Bruins won the Rose Bowl over Ohio State in a monumental upset while catching the nation’s attention along with the attention of NFL owners.

Shortly after his biggest collegiate win, Vermeil was approached by the Philadelphia Eagles and accepted a job as the team’s head coach. Five years later, Vermeil has his team in the world’s biggest game with Philadelphia’s most beloved sports team.

The journey to New Orleans was arduous for Vermeil and the Eagles. Vermeil compiled a 9-19 record in his first two seasons as the team’s head coach, before a 9-7 season in 1978 and the organization’s first playoff appearance since 1966 in “79.

The season started off with wins in the team”s first 11 out 12 games, including wins over the abhorred Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. The trio of quarterback Ron Jaworski, wide receiver Harold Carmichael, and running back Wilbert Montgomery combined for a deadly attack on offense, while players like Bill Bergey, Randy Logan, and Jerry Robinson anchored one of the best defensive units in the NFL.

The postseason started out with a Divisional Round game against the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota took an early first quarter lead before Philadelphia came storming back, winning the game in convincing fashion, 31-16.

One win away from the Super Bowl, Philadelphia faced a colossal challenge. The NFC Championship game matched up two bitter rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. After a decade of being dominated by Dallas, the Eagles were determined to show the world who the best team in the NFC was.

Wilbert Montgomery’s first half touchdown run put Philadelphia ahead for good, as the Eagles won the game 20-7. As the fans and city of Philadelphia celebrated the win, the players were forced to get ready for the Super Bowl .

As magical as the 1980-’81 season was for Philadelphia, the Super Bowl was hard to watch for any Eagles fan. Jim Plunkett dominated the game with his 261 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.

The highest of highs and the lowest of lows were felt in the span of a week for Vermeil and the Eagles. Despite the loss, the 1980 season will go down in the record books as one of the most successful seasons in team history. As for Vermeil, he will be remembered in the hearts of Eagles fans for generations.

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