November 30, 2019
The NFL is compiling an All-Time Team featuring the 100 greatest players and 10 greatest coaches in the league's 100-year history, an exercise that's essentially built to ruffle feathers and inspire debate.
We'll play along, because arguing over who was the best to ever do it is one of sports fans' most-cherished pastimes.
On Friday night, the league revealed the 14 defensive linemen and 12 linebackers who made the team, and the Eagles were well-represented: Chuck Bednarik, Reggie White, and Bill Hewitt all made the list, representing three different and distinct eras of the franchise.
Bednarik, a Pennsylvania native, is possibly the defender most synonymous with the team's glory years, and the 1960 NFL Championship which for so long served as its crowning achievement.
Hewitt, a Pennsylvania native, was a legend during the 1930s, and landed on a number of All-Pro teams between his time with the Bears and his four seasons with the Eagles.
And White played the best football of his astoundingly dominant career with the Eagles between 1985 and 1992, somehow racking up 124 sacks in eight years.
Here's a bit on what the selection committee had to say about each Eagles pick, including a couple comments from Patriots coach Bill Belichick:
DE Bill Hewitt (1932-1939; 1943)
Belichick: "Bill was a little undersized but fast and tough, kind of like how all those Michigan guys are. He was very quick off the ball, helmet or no helmet, he was a tough football player."
DE Reggie White (1985-1998; 2000)
Belichick: "Reggie's in a class by himself. We recruited him at Cleveland in free agency. Didn't have much of a chance but he was a special guy, he really was."
OLB Chuck Bednarik (1949-1962)
"Renowned as NFL's last "Iron Man" to play both offense and defense full-time... Known as rugged, durable, bulldozing blocker, bone-jarring tackler... Played 58 minutes, made game-saving tackle on final play of 1960 NFL title game versus the Green Bay Packers."
The Eagles also popped up in last week's reveal of the 10 greatest running backs ever, where Steve Van Buren landed on the list alongside greats like Emmitt Smith and Jim Brown. Belichick called Van Buren a player you wouldn't want to play against.