The Eagles Could Have Been The Phoenix Eagles

On Sunday afternoon the Philadelphia Eagles will be taking on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ, for the right to go to Super Bowl XLIII. Nevermind the fact that these are the two teams with the worst records to make the playoffs in the NFC this season, it doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter that it’s probably somewhat unfair to make the Eagles travel across the country to take on the Cardinals in their stadium even though the Eagles finished the season with a better record than Arizona (9-6-1 vs. 9-7).

Bob Hurt

(You’re welcome, Philly)

Of course, if it wasn’t for one columnist in Arizona 25 years ago, the Eagles actually would be the home team this weekend if they were playing the game in Arizona. Confused? Don’t worry, you’re just stupid, but thankfully the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER is here to clear everything up for you.

There’s an article in the paper today about Bob Hurt, a long-time columnist for the ARIZONA REPUBLIC who recently died on January 3rd. It was 25 years ago that Hurt uncovered a plot by then-Eagles owner Leonard Tose to move the Eagles to Phoenix:

As unimaginable as it might seem amid the green-tinged mania preceding Sunday’s NFC championship matchup with the Cardinals, there might not be a Philadelphia Eagles today if it weren’t for Hurt.

An Arizona Republic columnist who long had lobbied for an NFL team in this desert boomtown, Hurt became the Eagles’ unintentional savior 25 years ago, when a cash-strapped Leonard Tose secretly made plans to move his team to Phoenix.

Hurt uncovered the story and on Dec. 11, 1984, after weeks of whispers Tose had vehemently denied, it was published.

Apparently Tose and an Arizona real estate investor named James Monaghan had reached an agreement to move the team to Phoenix to help Tose pay off some of his growing gambling debts. But after Hurt’s article was published, there was quite the uproar in Philly, and eventually the city stepped in to help bail out the Eagles and keep them in Philadelphia.

So it’s possible that the Arizona Cardinals could have moved to Philadelphia instead of Arizona when they left St. Louis, which would have made them the road team this weekend. Got it?

Oh, and finally, Eagles fans are already pretty nasty as it is and the team has been pretty successful, even if they don’t have any Super Bowl trophies. So can you imagine how bad they’d be if they had had to watch the Cardinals over the last 20 years? Philly would have been burned to the ground years ago. Bob Hurt didn’t just save the Eagles, he saved Philadelphia. They should put up a statue of him right next to Rocky Balboa.

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