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Roosevelt in an effort to get America out of the Depression. There would be no National Football League without the foresight, guts, hubris, and chutzpah of a few remarkable individuals. History has chronicled many of them in glowing and glorious fashion. There's George Halas and his creation of the Chicago Bears.
But no list of NFL "founding fathers" is truly complete without Bert Bell and what he meant to the formation and growth of the Philadelphia Eagles. Among his accomplishments are helping create the college draft, helping negotiate TV contracts, siding with the players in their desire to form a union, and settling a bidding war for players with the Canadian Football League. He is also reputed to have coined the phrase, "On any given Sunday," meaning any team is good enough to beat any other team depending on the week.
But in the early years, it was not pretty. The Eagles, formed from the wreckage of the disbanded Frankford Yellow Jackets, were not very good. In fact, they were awful. In their first game in , under the coaching eye of Lud Wray, the new Eagles were crushed 56—0 by the New York Giants. They played their first home game the following week under a set of portable lights at the Baker Bowl. With only 1, people watching, they fell 25—0 to the Portsmouth Spartans. After another loss, this time to the Packers, the new guys didn't lose four in a row, lost two others, and finished the season 3—5—1, which includes a tie with the then-powerful Bears.
But the Eagles were not making much of a dent on the field or off. Not only was he the team's sole owner. But that season, he also took over the coaching reins from his old friend Lud Wray, who had managed just a 9—21—1 record in three forgettable seasons.
But Bell was more than that. Because times were tough, he also acted as team trainer, scout, publicist, ticket manager, and did anything else that needed to get done. He would even drive the team bus, often driving his players into the country to find an open field that would prove to be a good place to practice. In those days, you did what you had to do to get the job done. Bell was a good businessman and, in his day, was a pretty decent football player at Penn. He also coached at Penn from to and at Temple University in — But when he took over the Eagles, he found pro football was a different animal.
In his first season, his team went 1—11 and scored just 51 points. Indeed, they were shut out six times, including four games in a row at one stretch. It really never got much better for Bell on the sideline; in his five seasons, the Eagles won just 10 games.
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By it became clear that Bell was not the answer the Eagles needed as head coach. But instead of a simple coaching change, Bell had something else in mind. Essentially, the entire Eagles organization — including most of the players — went to Pittsburgh, and the entire Steelers organization moved to Philadelphia. The cities retained the team names in the switch, and the Thompson-owned Steelers became the Eagles. One of Thompson's first moves was to hire Earle "Greasy" Neale as Eagles head coach, and in 10 seasons, Neale helped the Eagles to their first sustained success.
In , Bell took over as commissioner of the NFL and remained in that role until his death in Ironically, in the final days of is life, Bell had been negotiating to buy back his beloved Eagles franchise for his children. Where to start with Reggie White? Likely the greatest defensive lineman in NFL history and certainly the best to ever wear a Philadelphia Eagles uniform, White could never be, and will never be, easily defined. Brilliant at times, perplexing at others, he cared little for what people thought of him or the impression he left. He was a warrior on the football field who could perfectly justify the brutality of the game that made him famous and rich with the gentleness and understanding of his unyielding faith in God.
An ordained minister, White always said he had a higher purpose in life than just rushing and crushing quarterbacks. But oh, how he could rush the quarterback! With his fearsome and feared "club" move — where he'd use his right forearm and his incredible strength to simply knock an offensive lineman sideways — he remains the Eagles' all-time sack leader and is the second-best in NFL history. And while defensive ends will come and go, there will never be anyone like Reggie White.
A new coach, defensive zealot Buddy Ryan, took over the next year, and that's when White truly began to flourish. Making White the cornerstone of his aggressive, attacking defense, Ryan turned him loose to cause havoc any way he could. Over the course of eight seasons, White became beloved in Philadelphia — not exactly the easiest thing to accomplish. With the Eagles, he became the league's most dominant pass rusher, period.
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He would require defensive coordinators to devise game plans solely for him, almost unheard of in the NFL at the time. Often two, sometimes three, blockers would be assigned to stop him, and White reveled in it. In his eight seasons, White piled up more sacks than games played , a mark that hasn't been approached since. But by , things were changing — not only with the Eagles but in the NFL. Philly had come close to NFL greatness under Ryan but had fallen short too often. Now Ryan was gone, and Rich Kotite was the coach By he was beginning to believe that, after eight incredible seasons with the Eagles, it might be time to move on.
In that game, the Eagles mercilessly battered a young quarterback named Brett Favre. They sacked him twice, separating Favre's shoulder on of one them. Still, the kid showed the guts and the talent to rally the Packers to win. I said to myself, 'This kid is special. After the season, White declared himself a free agent, convinced that team owner Norman Braman would not spend the money required to bring in players that would lead the team to a title. According to Coach Magill, Rice said that Georgia would have its opponent between the hedges when describing a game in Athens.
There is some debate as to what kind of hedge was actually planted at Sanford—some sources say it was an English privet hedge, while others claim it is Chinese privet. Frank Henning, penning a column in the Athens Banner-Herald in , said that there are actually two sets of hedges inside Sanford Stadium. The inner hedge is Chinese privet with the outer hedge being a Chinese mix that yields Bulldawg red leaves in the fall. While the hedges certainly look pretty, they actually serve another purpose: keeping ticket-paying customers from getting on to the field itself to celebrate a Georgia win.
The storming of the turf only happened once in recent memory.
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On October 7, , when the Bulldogs beat Tennessee for the first time in twelve years, not even the hedge and low-lying chain-link fence could keep fans off the field. The hedges, if left unattended, will grow 3 feet per year and grow for eight out of the twelve months in the calendar.
No one was told that the hedges needed to be removed to accommodate the width of the soccer pitch, and when the news was broken, plenty of fits were pitched instead—even when it was later discovered that the hedges were diseased. They were stored in two separate locations.
Close to 1, of the cuttings from the hedges were kept in a nursery in Quincy, Florida, while the other half were in the Dudley Nurseries in the town of Thomson—one exit west of the Augusta metropolitan area. People lined the highway to take pictures as the hedges left McDuffie County and headed home. But Quincy, Florida, for the hedges? Housing them out of state? George Hackney, owner of Hackney Nurseries in Quincy, was based 10 miles from the Georgia state line and 25 miles west of Tallahassee. He had to keep the whole thing a secret.
It was really tough, said Hackney, who had the clippings since April , told the Augusta Chronicle when he was interviewed in Jemal Horton of the Chronicle. They were grown with Georgia soil and Georgia horticulturalists. These were South Georgia hedges. But the bottom line was that they were returned in just as good a shape as when they were cut up and exported from Athens. The hedges are back where they belong, Coach Dooley said when the hedges were replanted, almost immediately after the Olympics left town.
We welcome Hedges II. These are the sons and daughters of the original hedges, Dooley said. Billy Payne was part of the group at the re-planting. All this attention for a 5' tall, 5' wide, 3,sq. One that has its own security system, alarms, and surveillance cameras? For years, the headgear worn by the players of the Georgia Bulldogs was just a plain silver helmet. A block red G was introduced in —placed in the middle of those shiny silver helmets and only seen for home games.
That year, the Bulldogs finished the season 4—5—1, and Johnny Griffith was relieved of his head coaching duties. Vince Dooley was hired off the Auburn coaching staff in , and he made an immediate cosmetic impact in Athens. Dooley redesigned the Georgia uniforms, choosing a red helmet with a black G on a white background as the dominant feature. He had hired John Donaldson, who played for the Bulldogs from —48, as backfield coach. The Packers first used their oval G in Today the Georgia G is one of the most recognized logos in college sports and is used by virtually all athletic teams at the University of Georgia.
The red helmet with the Georgia G has become a classic helmet in college football. Most importantly, the G has brought good luck to the Bulldogs. Since its inception in , Georgia has won seven SEC championships on the football field plus the National Championship. Gammon was taken by horse-drawn ambulance to a nearby hospital, but he died from his injuries the next day.
UGA immediately disbanded its football program along with in-state rival Georgia Tech, who Georgia had defeated for the first time the week before, and Mercer University. Then the Georgia legislature got involved, passing a bill to outlaw football in the state of Georgia. That bill sat on the desk of Governor William Yates Atkinson waiting to be signed into law when a letter arrived from Rosalind Gammon, the mother of Von Gammon.
It would be the greatest favor to the family of Von Gammon if your influence could prevent his death being used for an argument detrimental to the athletic cause and its advancement at the university. His love for his college and his interest in all manly sports, without which he deemed the highest type of manhood impossible, is well known by his classmates and friends, and it would be inexpressibly sad to have the cause he held so dear injured by his sacrifice.
After reading that letter from Mrs. Gammon, Governor Atkinson vetoed the bill to outlaw football in the state of Georgia. No discussion with a longtime Georgia Bulldogs fan would be complete without talking about , the last time the Bulldogs won the national championship. To any Georgia fan during that time period, it was a true moment to behold, a moment that probably will never be eclipsed. For the Georgia Bulldogs, began in dramatic fashion. The team started out at No. The Bulldogs began their odyssey with a road game versus Tennessee in front of what was then an SEC-record 92,plus screaming fans.
Trailing 15—2 late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs came back and won the game, 16— Certainly, the game was memorable because of the comeback.
The game was, to most Georgia fans, more memorable because it was the freshman debut of Herschel Walker. I learned more about the famous football players for Georgia Tech. I really enjoyed this book, I am putting this book on my top 10 list. View 1 comment. William Russell rated it it was amazing Jul 19, Pmay rated it it was amazing Aug 29, Joanna Davies rated it liked it Nov 20, Dee rated it it was amazing Sep 09, Jay Elliott rated it really liked it Jan 27, Richard Proctor rated it it was amazing Nov 11, Detroit marked it as to-read Dec 13, Jillian Spayde is currently reading it Dec 27, Michael marked it as to-read Feb 04, Crystal Gonzales added it Mar 26, David Cortes marked it as to-read Mar 27, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
About Adam Van Brimmer. Adam Van Brimmer.