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Offseason Program Countdown: 70 Days

Posted Feb 10, 2014

Believe it or not, the beginning of the 2014 season is rapidly approaching. Players will report back to the NovaCare Complex on April 21 for the start of the Eagles offseason program. Join us as we count down until the Eagles are back in town ...

The 2006 season was one of the most fascinating and exciting in Eagles franchise history.

A year removed from a dysfunctional, disastrous season that followed a Super Bowl appearance in 2004, the team entered 2006 with redemption on its mind. The Eagles started with a solid win on the road over the Houston Texans, but then blew a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead in their home opener to the New York Giants and lost in overtime in heartbreaking fashion.

Undeterred, the team won their next three games to move to 4-1 and appeared poised to break off a long streak. However, three straight close losses followed, including Matt Bryant’s infamous 63-yard field goal as time expired to win it for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Eagles went into the bye week at 4-4 and proceeded to crush Washington 27-3 afterwards to move to 5-4. Then, in a blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, quarterback Donovan McNabb tore his ACL while stepping out of bounds and the season seemed lost as Jeff Garcia took over under a center. Another blowout loss, this one to the Indianapolis Colts, dropped the Eagles to 5-6 and left for dead.

Fans gave up on them, the media gave up on them – but the Eagles didn’t give up on themselves. Andy Reid shifted to a more balanced West Coast offense that enabled Brian Westbrook to shine, one which Garcia directed efficiently and flawlessly. A narrow, hard-fought 27-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers got the ball rolling and spurred a five-game winning streak to end the season and capture the NFC East title. Following a 23-20 victory over the Giants in the Wild Card round thanks to a David Akers field goal as time expired, the Eagles traveled to New Orleans to face Sean Payton, Drew Brees and the upstart Saints in the Divisional Round. The game started with one of the most famous hits in franchise history when Sheldon Brown destroyed Reggie Bush in the flat on the Saints’ first drive. Despite a valiant effort, however, the Eagles could not stop the Saints on their final clock-killing drive and lost, 27-24.

Now, what part does the number 70 play in all this? It was the team’s total point differential for the season (398 to 328).

First Eagle To Wear 70: T Leo Brennan (1942)

Last Eagle To Wear 70: G Jim Skaggs (1963-72)

AL WISTERT

One of nine players whose number has been retired by the Eagles, Al Wistert was a cornerstone offensive tackle for the franchise from 1944-51. Nicknamed “Ox,” the Michigan standout was selected by Philadelphia in the fifth round (32nd overall) of the 1943 NFL Draft. Wistert was a one-time Pro Bowl (1950) and eight-time All-Pro (1944-51) selection, as well as part of the Eagles’ first two NFL Championship teams and named to the NFL’s 1940’s All-Decade Team. His jersey was retired by the Eagles in 1952, the year after he retired, and he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2009. Following football, Wistert became a successful life insurance salesman and stayed in the industry for 40 years. He just turned 93 years old on December 28.

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