The Philadelphia Eagles have traveled to Phoenix for Sunday’s Super Bowl 57 but they might not have had to go very far for the highly-anticipated clash as they nearly became the Phoenix Eagles in 1984.
There was no real fear over franchises packing up and leaving back in the day, until the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and the Colts left Baltimore to set up shop in Indianapolis.
After news broke of the Eagles getting set to move to Arizona, panic set in the City, with fans dreading the loss of their favorite franchise. While the 76ers and Flyers are beloved in Philly, it’s a football city by far and large.
“The idea of the Eagles picking up and moving just turned the city upside down,” Ray Didnger, a legendary sports columnist recalled, per the Los Angeles Times.
Didinger had been brought up to speed in the middle of the night, learning that owner Leonard Tose had agreed to sell 25 percent of the team. Tose, who was adored in Philly for his kindness and philanthropy, was strapped for cash. The sale would see him out of debt while still retaining control of the Eagles.
As a consequence, the team would have to leave Philadelphia.
“The story broke in Phoenix,” Didinger continued. “I was sound asleep at 1 o’clock in the morning and my phone rang. I picked up the phone and it was the night sports editor and he said, ‘Have you heard anything about the Eagles moving to Phoenix?’ And it was like, ‘Did I just dream this? What are you talking about?’”
Didnger didn’t believe the news immediately but he bought into its legitimacy once he found out who broke the story: veteran Arizona Republic sports columnist Bob Hurt.
“Right away I said, ‘Well, then it’s legit,’ ” Didinger explained. “Bob Hurt was one of those guys who had been in Phoenix forever. He was the sports columnist but way more than that. He knew all the sports people in town, he knew all the politicians in town. He knew everybody and everybody talked to him.”
As it turned out, Hurt’s report caused an uproar in Arizona too, and the deal eventually fell through. Eagles fans credit the journalist with saving their team, though it’s also thought that Tose could have been bluffing to get a better deal from the NFL and Philadelphia.
“Bob Hurt saved the Philadelphia Eagles,” Didinger stated.
One Philadelphia writer suggested the city should erect a statue of Hurt outside Veterans Stadium. Hurt, who died in 2009, joked that he preferred to be near the “Rocky” statue by the city’s Museum of Art.Los Angeles Times
Bob Hurt brought unbounded joy to Eagles fans in 1984. Jalen Hurts is starting for the Eagles in the 2022/23 Super Bowl this coming Sunday. It has to be a sign.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.