On July 9, 1933, Bert Bell and Lud Wray obtained permission to reactivate an NFL franchise that had been inactive since midway through the 1931 season. Previously, the franchise had been called the Frankford Yellow Jackets, but Bell and Wray decided to rename the team in honor of FDR's New Deal and the National Recovery Act -- the symbol of which was an eagle. Thus, the Philadelphia Eagles were born. Although some sports historians believe the Eagles and Yellow Jackets should be regarded as one team, the NFL officially considers them to be two separate franchises, citing the period of dormancy from 1931 to 1933.
Looking to improve their quarterback position, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Syracuse QB Donovan McNabb with the 2nd overall pick of the 1999 NFL Draft. McNabb would start the season as backup, but he got his chance the second half of the season and helped the Eagles finish on a strong note, winning their final two games. In 2000, McNabb's first full season as a starter, the Eagles compiled an impressive 11-5 record, reversing their win-loss ratio from the previous year.
In 1943, the Philadelphia Eagles temporarily merged with the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a shortage of players as many of the younger prospects were fighting in World War II. The new team, which was called the Phil-Pitt Steagles, posted a solid 5-4-1 record. Following the 1943 season, the merger was dissolved.
In 1979, RB Wilbert Montgomery became the first Philadelphia Eagle to rush for more than 1,500 yards in a single season. Montgomery finished the season with 1,512 yards and 9 touchdowns. He added another 494 yards and 5 touchdowns on 41 pass receptions.
The Philadelphia Eagles retired jersey #60 in honor of Hall of Fame center and linebacker Chuck Bednarik (1949-1962) who missed only three games during his 14-year career. In 1960, as a 35-year-old two-way player, Bednarik led the Eagles to an NFL Championship.
Dick Vermeil was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1982. He retired as Eagles head coach with a respectable 55-51-0 record. Vermeil would later return to the NFL -- in 1997 he became head coach of the St. Louis Rams and then, in 2001, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 1960, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Norm Van Brocklin shared NFL MVP honors with Detroit Lions linebacker Joe Schmidt. Brocklin finished the 1960 season with 153 completions for 2,471 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was also instrumental in helping the Eagles win the NFL Championship that year.
Prior to the 2004 season, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired premier wide-receiver Terrell Owens in a three-way trade involving the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. Owens had been scheduled to become a free-agent, but his agent allegedly failed to file the proper paperwork and the 49ers traded him to the Ravens. Owens, unhappy with the trade, refused to play for Baltimore, and the Eagles, eager to acquire a premier wide-receiver for Donovan McNabb to throw to, jumped into the mix offering compensation to both the 49ers and Ravens in exchange for rights to Owens. In his first year with the team, Owens led the Eagles with 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. With their improved passing attack, the Eagles reached the Super Bowl for the first time since 1981.