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Philadelphia Eagles

Ranking The Eagles’ Greatest Quarterbacks Of All Time

Many quarterbacks have played for the Eagles, but several stand out above the rest. Who are the greatest passers in franchise history?

The Philadelphia Eagles have been in existence since 1933. Many quarterbacks have played in games for the Eagles, but there are several that stand out. Here are the five greatest quarterbacks in Eagles history:

Honorable Mentions

The NFL has evolved over the years. That makes some of the earlier quarterbacks tough to compare with those of the modern era. Tommy Thomson was the quarterback for the 1948 and 1949 NFL Champion Eagles. He did not put up big numbers but was among the best in the NFL at the time.

Norm Van Brocklin helped the Eagles win the 1960 championship. He played most of his career for the Rams but spent his final three years in Philadelphia. Van Brocklin is in the Eagles Hall of Fame.

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One more name that deserves consideration is Michael Vick. Vick started his career in Atlanta. After completing his time for his role in an illegal dogfighting ring, he resurrected his career in Philadelphia. Vick made the Pro Bowl and led the Eagles on a playoff run in 2010. Injuries caused him to be inconsistent, but he was very fun to watch.

5. Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz was one of the most exciting draft picks in franchise history. The Eagles moved up to the number two spot to select him in 2016. After a decent rookie season, Wentz had an MVP-caliber 2017 season. He went 11-2 as a starter, threw for 3,300 yards, and had a 33-7 touchdown to interception ratio. He tore his ACL and could not finish the season. Foles came in and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win.

Wentz never had a season close to 2017 again. He dealt with more injuries and his play regressed. In 2020, Carson Wentz was benched in favor of Jalen Hurts and was eventually traded to the Colts. Wentz never lived up to his expectations, but he dominated in 2017. This helped the Eagles clinch the number one seed to start their Super Bowl run.

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4. Ron Jaworski

Ron Jaworski was the first Eagles quarterback to lead them to the Super Bowl. He was originally drafted by the Rams in 1973. Jaworski lost his starting job and was traded to the Eagles in 1977. His time in Philadelphia coincided with the rise of coach Dick Vermeil. Each year the team got better until peaking in 1980. That year the Eagles went 12-4 and Jaworski won the AP MVP award. The Eagles made it to the Super Bowl but lost to the Raiders. 

In his 10 years in Philadelphia, Jaworski threw for nearly 27,000 yards and 175 touchdowns. He led the Eagles to four straight playoff berths before struggling in 1982. He eventually lost his starting job as new coach Buddy Ryan went with Randall Cunningham. Overall, Jaworski had a pretty good career in Philadelphia. He was the first true franchise quarterback for the Eagles during the Super Bowl era. Jaworski held a lot of franchise records until the ascent of Donovan McNabb.

3. Randall Cunningham

Randall Cunningham was drafted in the second round in 1985. In relief of Ron Jaworski, he struggled in his rookie season. He went 1-3 as a starter with one touchdown compared to eight interceptions. Cunningham became the starter in 1987 and by 1988 he became a star in the league. Cunningham was named to the Pro Bowl three straight seasons. The Eagles also made the playoffs three straight years. Though they didn’t win a playoff game, the Eagles were very competitive.

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Cunningham was a very exciting player to watch. He was one of the first dual-threat quarterbacks in the league. Cunningham rushed for over 900 yards in a single season (1990). He wasn’t the same after a 1991 injury and eventually joined the Vikings in 1997 as a free agent. Overall, he had 23,000 passing yards, 4,500 rushing yards, and 150 touchdowns in his 11 years with the Eagles.

Cunningham started a new era of quarterback play. Present-day quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts replicate Cunningham’s style.

2. Nick Foles

Nick Foles had one of the most interesting careers in Eagles history. He was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft. He didn’t play much during his rookie season but started a few games at the end of the year. In 2013, new coach Chip Kelly made Vick the starter and Foles the backup. After a Vick injury, Foles was named the starter after a record-tying 7 touchdown performance against the Raiders. Foles went 8-2 as a starter in 2013 including a 27-2 TD to INT ratio.

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Foles got injured halfway through 2014 and was traded to the Rams after the season. He didn’t play well and after contemplating retirement, he became the backup in Kansas City. The Eagles brought Nick Foles back to Philly in 2017 to be the backup to Carson Wentz. Foles got to finish the season after Wentz tore his ACL.

The 2017 playoffs, culminating in the Super Bowl, were magical for Nick Foles and the Eagles. He had nearly 1,000 passing yards, six touchdowns, and just one interception that postseason. Foles was named the Super Bowl LII MVP. He caught the Philly Special and had clutch throws throughout the game. Without Nick Foles, the Eagles would not have won the Super Bowl that year.

Foles started a few games at the beginning and end of the 2018 season while filling in for Wentz. He brought the Eagles back to the playoffs. They won a Wildcard playoff game before narrowly losing to the Saints. Foles left for Jacksonville via free agency after that season and currently plays for the Bears. Nick Foles never got a chance to be a franchise quarterback for the Eagles, but always delivered when asked. He is the reason the Eagles finally became Super Bowl champions.

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1. Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb was the Eagles’ last true franchise quarterback. He was drafted in 1999 with the second overall pick. McNabb only started six games in 1999 but became the full-time starter in 2000. This is when he started to shine. McNabb made five straight Pro Bowls and led the Eagles to four straight conference championship games. He only won one of them, and the Eagles lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

After the Super Bowl loss, McNabb dealt with injury problems over the next few seasons. He did get better and started all 16 games in 2008 and had a Pro Bowl season in 2009.

In 2010, McNabb was traded to Washington. He spent one year there and one year with Minnesota before retiring. The Eagles traded him because they thought Kevin Kolb could be the next franchise quarterback. Kolb’s career as a starter ended quickly, as the team moved on to Michael Vick.

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McNabb is the greatest quarterback in Eagles history for his longevity. He made six Pro Bowls, five NFC Championship games, and has many of the Eagles’ records for quarterback play. These records include starts, wins, pass attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. Mcnabb is in the Eagles Hall of Fame and the team retired his number 5 jersey.

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Editor in Chief for Stadium Rant

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