The Eagles in 1961 had a new regime and with a hard act to follow. Nick Schorich had replaced Buck Shaw as Head Coach and Sonny Jurgensen was no longer the second string quarterback. The first eight weeks were great with a 7-1 record. However, the balance of the season foretold a losing trend over the next 17 years. Philadelphia had only one winning season between 1962 and 1977. The first game was at Franklin field against their number one rival, the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland was a solid pick to win the Eastern Conference Title. They had an 8-3-1 record in 1960, one and a half games behind the Eagles. Philadelphia, the critics argued, had too many changes to win again. For this game they were wrong; but their long term view was right.
Rookie Timmy Brown returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. What a way to start the season and a pro career! Sonny Jurgensen completed 11 of 17 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Billy Ray Barnes gained 83 yards. Most important, the Eagles recovered three fumbles and Tom Brookshier made an interception to seal the game. Despite Jimmy Brown gaining 99 yards, the Philadelphia Eagles out rushed the Browns 147 to 131.
In the week eight, the Eagles edged another good team, the Chicago Bears, 16 to 14 at Franklin Field. Tom Brookshier broke his leg finishing his season, his career, and Philadelphia’s winning ways for a long time. More Later.