Cris Collinsworth, the ubiquitous NFL analyst, recently started up a conversation at FootballPros.com about the best players in each franchise not in the hall of fame. Collinsworth is hoping to eventually narrow his list down to one player per team. For the Eagles, there are six players under consideration. Let's take a look at each player's case.
Eric Allen – Allen started all 16 games for the Eagles as a rookie in 1988, setting the stage for his productive and reliable career. In fact, in his first ten seasons in the league, Allen only missed one game. But he wasn't just on the field as a bystander, Allen made plenty of plays – specifically 54 career interceptions (eight of which he returned for touchdowns) and 735 tackles. Allen was named to the Pro Bowl six times and was once rewarded with All-Pro honors. He compares favorably to Hall of Famers Larry Wilson and Darrell Green.
Harold Carmichael – When judged against the context of his time, as all players should be, Carmichael may have the best case of all. His 14-year career including four Pro Bowl appearances and three seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving. Carmichael caught 590 balls over 8,985 yards receiving over his career. While those numbers may not jump off the page, consider that Carmichael was playing in a time when the passing game was much less explosive.
Also the consummate red zone threat, Carmichael's 79 career receiving touchdowns are 21st all-time. Finally, consider the comparison to his contemporary John Stallworth, who was voted to the Hall of Fame in 2002 on the strength of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both players were named to four Pro Bowls, but Carmichael outpaced Stallworth in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. He just had the misfortune to play for some middling teams throughout the 1970's. For more on Carmichael's Hall of Fame credentials, click here.
Randall Cunningham – Cunningham played for 16 seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl four times, including three times during his 11-year tenure with the Eagles. Cunningham was named the Bert Bell Player of the Year three times, and was also named the Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association in 1990. Over his career, he threw for 29,979 yards, 207 touchdowns and 134 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 81.5.
Of course, Cunningham's value was derived from more than his rocket right arm. His 4,928 rushing yards are the most in NFL history for a quarterback (though Michael Vick is close behind). It's also worth noting that, according to Pro Football Reference, among the most similar players to Cunningham over his career are presumable Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Joe Namath.
Ron Jaworski –Jaworski compiled a 73-69-1 career record over his 15-year career, but that hardly tells the full story for one of the two men to quarterback the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Jaworski was named the Bert Bell Player of the Year in 1980, when he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl on the heels of 27 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. For his career, "Jaws" put up 28,190 passing yards, 179 touchdowns and 164 interceptions for a 72.8 quarterback rating.
Seth Joyner – A rock-solid linebacker for the Eagles during the mid-80's and early-90's, Joyner turned out to be quite the find as an 8th-round pick in 1986. Joyner was named to three Pro Bowls during his 12-year career, during which he totaled 52.0 sacks, 24 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries and 1,056 tackles. Joyner's play-making ability is so unique, in fact, that he is the only player in NFL history with over 50.0 sacks and over 20 interceptions. Only one other player, Wilber Marshall, even qualifies for the 40-20 club.
Clyde Simmons – Reggie White's long-time sack partner, Simmons was named to two Pro Bowls in his 15-year career, including one All-Pro season in 1992, when he posted an astounding 19.0 sacks (the ninth-best single season total in history). He had four double-digit sack seasons, helping him get to 121.5 sacks over his career, good for 14th all-time.