Sometimes fans really don't make the best judges for things. We see this every year with the various all star teams in different sports where fans pick the guy whose name they know over the players who actually deserve it.
This is the problem with the Eagles' method of determining their "75th Anniversary Team." Every week the Eagles put up a poll on a new position and give you several Eagles to select from as the best all time at that position. Anyone who has been following it has probably noticed that the vote has been incredibly weighted toward the most recent players. At nearly every position the current or most current notable player has just about run away with it.
Having fans vote on something like this is a fine method of creating a fun little interactive game for your website to pass time in the summer. It's not any way to form a real, true 75th Anniverary Eagles team. A poll of ex coaches, players, sportswriters ect is really the only way to really do it justice. Fan voting can be an element of it, but it has to be a small one if you want to seriously represent the best Eagles player at each position over the last 75 years.
A case in point... Jon Runyan ran away with the fan voting at RT despite being up against a hall of famer in Bob "Boomer" Brown. Now, Brown played in late 60s/early 70s so it only makes sense that the majority of fans that will go on the net and vote in a poll won't know who he is...
Shawn Andrews was voted as the best Eagles right guard of all time despite just finishing only his second year in the NFL. I love Shawn Andrews and I honestly think he can be on of the great lineman to ever play for this team... but isn't it a bit early to say it right now?
After the jump I'll look in depth into this week's poll. The all time Eagles Tight End. Once again, the most recent guy is winning, and I think undeserving.
That brings us to this week's poll. Tight End. Not surprisingly Chad Lewis is winning so far with Keith Jackson behind him. I find that somewhat outrageous. I liked Chad Lewis, we all did. He was a hard worker, an overachiever, and generally held on to whatever was thrown to him... even if he immediately dropped the ground after doing so. That said, it's crazy to think he was a better player than Keith Jackson. Jackson was the Eagles first round pick in 1988 and went on to win the rookie of the year award that year. He made the pro bowl 5 times(3x with the Eagles). Chad Lewis actually did make 2 pro bowls, but he always added later often thanks to the fact that Andy Reid as the coach of the pro bowl team. He was never one of the top 5 TEs in football and really deserving of a pro bowl spot.
It is worthwhile to mention that Chad Lewis spent 10 years with the Eagles, virtually his whole career save one game with St Louis. Keith Jackson spent just 4 with the team, so there is a legit argument to be made that Lewis is the better servant to our club and on that basis I understand why many Eagles fans would vote for him. However even a quick glance at the stats doesn't really bear out that he was a better Eagle on the field. In his time with the Birds Jackson averaged 60 receptions, nearly 700 yards & 5 TDs a year. Chad Lewis on the other hand averaged 25 rec, 261 yards & 2.5 TDs. If you take out some of his early years when he didn't play his much, those averages improve some but still don't approach what Keith Jackson did here.
It should be noted that TE Pete Pihos, who played with the Eagles from 1947-1955 and is a hall of famer is 3rd in the voting! He won 2 titles with the Birds and was called by George Allen "the NFL's 'first great tight end'" In his article on TEs for PE.com Ray Diddinger wrote "In fact, in his position rankings, Allen had Pihos as the No. 1 tight end(of all time in the NFL) ahead of Mike Ditka and John Mackey." The problem is that playing in the 40s and 50s very few current fans ever saw him.