Roob’s Observations: When Stoutland and McNabb were both at Syracuse originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
TEMPE, Ariz. — Two Eagles all-timers who worked together a quarter of a century ago, a mystical performance by LeGarrette Blount and a Super Bowl moment that gave Nick Sirianni chills.
It’s Friday, which means the Super Bowl is only two days away and also means it’s Day 6 of Roob’s Daily Eagles Random Super Bowl Observations.
1. Donovan McNabb and Jeff Stoutland both made indelible marks on the Eagles’ organization, McNabb as the winningest quarterback in franchise history and Stoutland as the greatest position coach in franchise history. But for two years in the 1990s, they were together at Syracuse, Stoutland as offensive line coach and McNabb as an impressive dual-threat QB who led the Orangemen to a 35-14 record.
“Donovan was one of the most competitive people that I’ve ever been around,” Stoutland said Wednesday. “You might know Donovan as a jokester, but that was his way of kind of keeping it loose with the guys and everybody. But when it was time to go to team period, when it was time to go 7-on-7, I’ve never seen a guy as competitive as him. And I always remembered that. I was like, look at this guy, he wanted to win every single rep.”
To this day, Stoutland has a photo of McNabb scoring on a 51-yard TD run against Miami during a 66-13 win at the Carrier Dome in November of 1988.
2. Patrick Mahomes has started 93 games and has had a passer rating over 100 in more than 60 percent of them (56 of 93). Nobody in NFL history has had more games with a 100 rating in their first five seasons.
3. Only five quarterbacks in Eagles history have won more games than Jalen Hurts’ 25: Donovan McNabb (100), Ron Jaworski (72), Randall Cunningham (63), Carson Wentz (35) and Norm Snead (28).
4. In his last 12 games before Super Bowl LII, LeGarrette Blount averaged 3.5 yards per carry, fifth-lowest during that span among all NFL backs with 100 or more carries. In his 16 games after the Super Bowl – playing for the Lions – Blount averaged 2.7 yards per carry, the lowest in the league. In the Super Bowl itself, Blount ran 14 times for 90 yards and a 6.4 average, eighth-highest in Super Bowl history. Blount only had one game in his last five NFL seasons with a 6.0 average or higher and a touchdown, and it came in a Super Bowl.
5. It’s an absolute travesty that two of the 50 voters for the AP MVP award didn’t list Jalen Hurts in their top five. I’d love to hear their justification for that decision. Hurts got one first-place vote, 26 second-place votes, 11 third-place votes and 10 fourth-place votes, so 48 of the 50 voters (including me) had him in the top four. And two didn’t include him at all? Yes, this kind of thing is subjective, but there is absolutely no way Hurts wasn’t one of the five most valuable players in the NFL during the regular season. There just isn’t.
6. Nick Sirianni is one of only six head coaches in NFL history with a winning percentage of at least .670 and a Super Bowl appearance. The others are Don Shula, Jim Harbaugh, George Allen, Vince Lombardi and John Madden.
7. Jason Kelce was on a podium for an hour Monday, an hour Tuesday, an hour Wednesday, an hour Thursday. He probably answered about 30 questions each day, so let’s say 120-ish questions. The crowd around his podium began growing at least half an hour before he was scheduled to arrive each day and it never got any smaller. Obviously, the Kelce-Kelce angle was part of it, but really Kelce has gradually grown into one of the biggest stars in the NFL. He’s a future Hall of Famer. He’s got an incredible personality. He’s a remarkably thoughtful and patient interview. He’s funny as hell. Only one other sixth-round pick has ever made five All-Pro teams, and he played nearly 70 years ago. Only four centers have made more All-Pro teams and none of them played this century. Watching Kelce Thursday it struck me, he is without question the most popular center in NFL history.
8. The first Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl — Super Bowl XXIX in Jacksonville after the 2004 season — is one of only five postseason games and the only Super Bowl that was tied after the first, second and third quarters. It was scoreless after the first quarter, 7-7 at halftime and 14-14 after the third quarter. Among the four others was the 1948 NFL Championship between the Eagles and Cards at Shibe Park. That game was scoreless after the first, second and third quarters before the Eagles won 7-0 on Steve Van Buren’s touchdown run a minute into the fourth quarter.
9. Nick Sirianni was asked during the week if he thought about what the moments before kickoff will be like Sunday as he stands on the sideline waiting for the game to start. I assumed he’d say something like, “It’ll be like every other game.” But he didn’t. He opened up a bit about what he’ll be feeling, and it was pretty cool to hear.
“I’m trying to stay in the moment of every day we’re in, but you know, that’s something that I’ve always thought about, what it might be like to hear the national anthem at a Super Bowl,” Sirianni said . “The moment that I remember most as a kid growing up in Jamestown, NY, was I really remember the Whitney Houston one where she sang at the Bills vs. the Giants (Super Bowl after the 1990 season) and how powerful it was and you get the goosebumps thinking about it getting ready to play that game. You think about being in that moment of the Super Bowl, of listening to the national anthem and how much that’s going to mean. Because it kind of makes you think of all the hard work that you had to go through to get to the moment that you’re in right now. It’ll be a good feeling. I’m not going to let myself get wrapped up in that feeling because right after that we’re going to have a job to do. But I will let myself enjoy that moment for a second and enjoy that feeling because — and everyone’s going to feel that way — a lot of hard work (went into it) and there’ve been a lot of people who helped me get to this spot, and it’ll be cool to listen to it and then get to work.”
10. Five days before the Eagles faced the Rams in the 1949 NFL Championship Game at the LA Coliseum, the players, coaches, training staff and beat writers embarked on a three-day charter train trip across the country. The Grand Canyon Streamliner left Philly’s Broad Street Station at 6:10 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 12, arriving the next morning in Chicago. The Eagles worked out that afternoon at the University of Chicago’s stadium before getting back on the train and stopping the next day in Albuquerque for a Thursday practice at the University of New Mexico’s practice field.
The team arrived in LA around noon Friday and practiced that afternoon at Gilmore Stadium, which was demolished just three years later to make room for CBS Television City, where hundreds of popular TV shows were filmed (including All in the Family, Dancing with the Stars , the Bold and the Beautiful, Hollywood Squares, the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and the Gong Show). After the Eagles won 14-0, they took the train back to Philadelphia, arriving about 10:30 am, on Thursday, Dec. 22. According to the Inquirer, “several hundred” fans welcomed them at North Philadelphia Station.
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