tagryn: (Tomananaapur_WDW)
[personal profile] tagryn
crossposted from http://www.wingheads.com/index.php?showtopic=75340

For a slow week before camp opens, found this on YouTube, the highlights of Super Bowl XV:

Some general observations:

* This was a formative game in my Eagles' fanship. I was 10 at the time and this was the first year I can remember actually being an Eagles' fan (I have no memories of the '79 Tampa Bay loss, for example); I vaguely remember certain games from that year, definitely the playoff games but also some of the regular season. I remember how surprised everyone was at how well Louie Giammona did during the stretch of the season when Wilbert (Montgomery) was hurt. My main memory of the NFC Championship win vs. Dallas was my uncle Henry lifting our TV from its place in the living room and holding it up so the rest of us in the dining room could see the ending - a good memory. In any case, Super Bowl XV was my first experience with how crushing an Eagles loss could be, but certainly not the last. Seeing some of the plays in this clip, like Jaws' INTs, still make me wince a little, decades later. I can still name most of the '80 roster off the top of my head.
* Its really hard to explain to younger fans who didn't see him exactly how good #31 Wilbert Montgomery was. In Vermeil's I-formation offense, feeding the ball to Montgomery was the #1 priority, because whenever Wilbert had the ball in his hands good things always seemed to happen. As his injuries mounted after '81, Montgomery's greatness was evident by how the offense seemed to always be in a slower gear without him there.
* I was too young to remember most of #17 Harold (Carmichael's) best years, but HC was 6'8" and knew how to leverage that to a huge advantage. Its telling that even today, whenever we get a really tall WR like Momah in camp, the automatic comparison is to Carmichael.
* In terms of the game itself, I think the storyline in the video is reasonably accurate as to what actually happened. We ran into Plunkett when he was very hot and playing the best football of his life, and Jaworski needed one of his best days to make up for the Raiders' D shutting Wilbert down; that didn't happen. When you lose 27-10, the only silver lining is that you can't beat yourself up thinking if only one or two things had gone differently, you might have won. It wasn't that close.
* #66 Bill Bergey played in the Super Bowl, but he was near the end of the line and wasn't the dominating force he had been in previous years.
* The '80 team would continue more or less intact through the '82 strike year. '83 was really the last hurrah for a lot of the team, by which time Vermeil had resigned and been replaced by defensive coordinator Marion Campbell and a lot of the Super Bowl team was getting too old to play effectively. Many of the remaining players would be gone by '84. In some ways its similar to what happened to the most recent Phillies' team: if you stick with the older core in hopes of catching lightning in the bottle again, to what degree does that just delay the inevitable and painful transition to a younger roster?
* As a postscript, I'll note that the only vindication we got for this would have to wait until we played the Raiders again, in 1986 during Buddy's first year, when we went out to Los Angeles and beat the Raiders 33-27. We still had a few players left over from 1980 - Jaws, Spagnola, Ken Clarke, Bre Wilson and Roynell Young - but their time as Eagles was nearing the end as Buddy continued bringing his own guys in, and all the Vermeil-era coaches were gone. However, many of the primary antagonists from SBXV - Plunkett, Rod Martin, Lester Hayes, Ray Guy, Matt Millen, and coach Tom Flores - were still playing for the Raiders, and this loss was the start of a 4-game losing skid for them that would end their playoff hopes that year. That game is mostly forgotten now, but it was the final postscript to SBXV in Eagles' history.

In any case, the 1980 team will always be "my" team, probably to the end of my days. Coach Dick Vermeil remained a positive role model for me during the rest of my time growing up, both as an example of the value of hard work and preparation, and then as an example of how a lack of balance in one's life can lead to burnout.
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