You can count on one hand the sports figures who have come through Philadelphia who are more beloved than Dick Vermeil. In fact, you may not even be able to count anyone at all.
It’s fair to say the former Eagles head coach who led the 1980 Eagles to an NFC Championship victory over the hated Dallas Cowboys and their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history is perhaps the most beloved figure in Philly sports history. If there is someone more beloved, it is only because the passage of time has made it such that new Eagles fans don’t know enough about Vermeil and what he did to resurrect a football team that, when he took over prior to the 1976 season, was as popular as a stomach pump.
They were called The Beagles. Fans brought giant, paper mâché dog bones to Veterans Stadium. From 1962 to Vermeil’s first season in ‘76, the Eagles had one winning season, one season in which they finished .500 and nary a postseason appearance. But Vermeil, without a first, second or third round draft pick in each of his first two seasons and no first or second round pick in his third season, rebuilt an Eagles roster that went 9-7 in 1978 and made the postseason for the first time in 18 years. They went 11-5 in ‘79 and won a playoff game. Finally, in 1980, they dominated the NFC and defeated the Cowboys in the NFC Title Game.
Vermeil was the architect, ably complimented by a the hardest-working coaching staff in the NFL. His practices were renowned for their toughness, but the results were undeniable.
On the latest of BGN Memories, Coach Vermeil joined the show to talk about the challenges in building the 1980 Eagles from the ground up, his philosophy that “hard work is not a punishment” and how it helped his players reach their full potential, as well as his favorite memories of that enchanted ‘80 season, including the days and weeks leading up to the NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Listen to the full interview below (or click here), and please subscribe, rate and review!