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Eagles mourn the passing of Norm Snead

Norm Snead
Norm Snead

The Eagles are saddened by the passing of former quarterback Norm Snead on Sunday, January 14 in Naples, Fla., at the age of 84.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Patsel; their five children: Sheron, Jane, Jeff, Joey, and Cindy; and 14 grandchildren.

Acquired along with defensive back Claude Crabb in a 1964 trade with Washington for quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, Snead arrived in Philadelphia off of back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons.

"When you're traded, you have to make the adjustment. You have to accept it," Snead said in a 2020 interview. "And then you have to fit in and all of the things that go with team sports. The players that were there, there was a natural period of adjustment for them to see if I did fit in."

He did.

Earning the third of four career trips to the Pro Bowl in 1965, his second season with the Eagles, Snead guided them to a 9-5 record the following year, and their first playoff berth in five seasons.

"They didn't have the system that they have in place now. They called it the Playoff Bowl," Snead said. "The two teams that finished second in each conference played a game in Miami (to determine who finished the season in third place). It was like kissing your sister. Because if you win, you didn't go anywhere. But players will play. Tiddlywinks or gin rummy. When the whistle blows, you play."

Also with Washington, Minnesota, the New York Giants, and San Francisco, Snead played seven of his 16 seasons in the NFL for Philadelphia. Retiring from the game in 1977, he passed for 30,797 yards, 196 touchdowns, and rushed for another 23 scores. He left Philadelphia following the 1970 season as the team's all-time leader in passing yards (15,672), completions (1,154), and passing touchdowns (111). Today, he ranks fifth in all of those categories.

"I played. I played whether I was hurt or whether I was expected to play or whatever the reason, I played," Snead said. "I enjoyed all the cities that I played in and the people I played with. That's what I'm most proud of – that relationship.

"I didn't win any Super Bowl rings and all that sort of things. That's what you play for and that was everybody's goal, but there's been a lot of great players that never got there."

Norm Snead
Norm Snead

Snead may have been born on July 31, 1939 in Halifax County, Va., and raised in Newport News, but Philadelphia became his home.

"It's funny, when you live in Virginia, many of the people always thought that he had such an affiliation with Washington because he was drafted by them, and played for them for three years," Snead's younger brother Danny says. "But he really enjoyed Philadelphia.

"He could tell (Eagles defensive back) Nate Ramsey stories and make a dog laugh. He just truly enjoyed that. He played in five places and had some really good years in New York, where he led the league in percentages and stuff, but when you come down to it, maybe it was the time of life or whatever.

"He lived in a house and could walk to Franklin Field. It was just kind of a neat thing. And he had friends both in the community and on the team. He just liked Philadelphia."

Following his playing days, Snead coached football at the Newport News Shipbuilding's Apprentice School, where he was also the Director of Admissions.

"He went all over the state of Virginia and recruited," Danny Snead says. "Not just the football players, he recruited everybody. He did presentations about the opportunities at the Apprentice School that you got. You could get some college credits, and it was an opportunity to learn a trade. You could have a really good life that way."

After about 10 years, Snead moved to Naples, where he managed a Culligan Water store before meeting his wife and joining her in the real estate business. Snead worked as a realtor until he retired.

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