They both came to town like heroes, riding in on their white horses, to rescue our Eagles with promises of finally taking this franchise to the ‘promise land’.
One, a Philly area native, who made millions in his Miami car business, returned home to save our beloved Eagles from a potential move to the Phoenix desert in 1985. Norman Braman was the owner all Eagles fans thought was a godsend. He grew up an Eagles fan which made it all the reason he would do whatever it took to make winning a Super Bowl his ultimate priority.
He hired fiery, big-mouthed, defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan, from the champion Chicago Bears and it was going to be on…so we thought. Although he built a championship-caliber defense, he relied on QB Randall Cunningham, to make a few big plays and thought that would be a winning formula. Turns out it failed miserably with the Eagles losing first-round playoff games 3 years in a row leading to Braman firing Ryan, who claimed to be researching ways to improve the offense. Too little, too late!
Then Braman handed the reins over to offensive coordinator, Rich Kotite, who with all his blundering play calls and misreading of his wet play sheets, won a playoff game. Albeit with Buddy’s defense. But still no Super Bowl wins.
After the Eagles were close to being a serious contender, he was asked what it would take to bring the city a championship, Braman revealed to all of us what he was really all about. He admitted that he had no desire to win one and he only bought the team to make money and was making a lot of it.
That admission turned Braman into one of the biggest villains in Philly sports history, as well as his ill-fated decision to not resign the best defensive player in history, Reggie White. And he did it with such defiance and with no regard to the loyal Eagles fans, as the franchise was gutted when all the best defensive players followed White out of town.
Everything seemed hopeless until it was announced in ’94 that Braman was selling the franchise. Hallelujah!
The other, a Hollywood movie producer, who spent mommy’s $195 million to take over from the evil Braman. A likable, non-threatening, football lover, from Boston, who appeared to have Super Bowl trophies dancing in his head. He proclaimed the Eagles to be the ‘gold standard” to which all the other teams would emulate.
How’s that working out for you Jeffrey? After hiring no-name Green Bay Packers QB coach, Andy Reid, the Eagles have had much more playoff success than the previous era, but they still haven’t been able to break through offensively in most of those losses….sound familiar?
Lurie has turned that initial investment into a billion dollar empire that has still yet to win a championship. He addresses the fans with a clueless tone that does nothing but show how he can not relate to the common man. He talks about how the franchise has flourished financially while his buddy, Joe Banner manipulated the salary cap to help make that happen over the years while the product on the field has been sub-standard even with one Super Bowl appearance.
Ironically this is weekend is all about Brian Dawkins, as the Eagles retire his number 20 jersey during tomorrow night’s game against the Giants. But wasn’t it Lurie who said that B-Dawk would be here for as long as he was the owner? What happened? Dawkins was the second best defensive player this franchise has had and he, too, was allowed to finish his career in another uniform. As the owner, Jeff has the ultimate final say and ‘he’ let him go….hmmm.
Here it is year 19 of the Lurie era and we’re still waiting for the championship, but the money is rolling in too much for him to sell.
So while one guy was evil and the other nice, it seems like it’s the character Two-Face. Norman, Jeffrey….Jeffrey, Norman…I gotta tell you, I’m not seeing a difference.