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Dick Vermeil: 'I'm sincerely so grateful'

Dick Vermeil
Dick Vermeil

On Thursday night, Dick Vermeil was selected to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022. On Friday morning, the former Eagles head coach spoke with Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro about the honor. Here's a sample of the interview. The full 12-minute conversation can be heard on Tuesday on the Eagles Insider Podcast, presented by Lincoln Financial Group.

EI: What have been the emotions over the past day or so?

DV: "When something like this happens, at least it is to me, you start thinking about everybody that made a contribution and you're sure hoping – I know I am – I am hoping everybody that's been involved in my career in any capacity takes the time to appreciate the contribution they made to me. I'm the byproduct of the efforts of many great people. It's a great feeling. I can't tell you how many text messages I've gotten, but it is rewarding to know and have it reconfirmed how many people appreciated my approach to coaching no matter how hard I worked. That's very gratifying and I'm very grateful.

"I know how deeply I appreciate the contributions of everybody around me. I'm sincerely so grateful."

EI: You took over an Eagles team that had been in the dumps for a long time. Why did it turn around?

DV: "Fortunate for me, there were some good football players. No draft choices (because of trades), but (Eagles Hall of Fame linebacker Bill) Bergey was there. (Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver) Harold Carmichael was there. John Bunting was there. Frank LeMaster was there. Jerry Sisemore, Guy Morriss, Randy Logan, Charlie Smith, they were there.

"But they had to put together and improved. And as good as they were, they had to get better. You know, good players lose games, too. You have to improve everybody's contribution. You've got to make sure – and I can remember, I appreciate it so much – my best player at that time was Bill Bergey. How he bought in once he recognized what we were doing, how he bought in to becoming the toughest, hardest worker on the practice field. And he was the best player, probably the highest-paid player. Then the John Buntings and the Harold Carmichaels, all these guys jumped in and did the same thing, so anybody new coming into the program had unbelievable standards to meet, to be respected on that football team.

"We get (Eagles Hall of Fame quarterback Ron) Jaworski in and build him into the ability that he had to be, you know, it takes time to build a quarterback, it really does. The problem today is you don't get enough time to coach them on the field. You just don't, especially in intense environments. I feel for these new, young coaches."

EI: Do you think that you could pinpoint a turning moment where you knew that you were on the right track in Philadelphia and knew that this team was going to be a Super Bowl kind of team?

DV: "It's easy to pick that up. Fifth game of the season, our fourth year. Pittsburgh Steelers win the World Championship the year before, a dominating football team, and we beat them. Major upset. That told me, that told my players, our organization, we are doing the right things."

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