Remembering Tom Brookshier

Eagles’ fans were saddened  in January 2010 with the death of a Philadelphia icon-Tom Brookshier.  I suggest reading his biography on the internet to get the story of his life.   I can only add my personal observations.   Mr. Brookshier  broke his leg in the 8th game of the 1961 season.    It was a 16 to 14 victory over the Chicago Bears at Franklin Field.  While bringing the Eagles to a 7-1 record,   it  began a losing trend  that would last until 1978, or 17 years.  The Eagles went 3-3 in the final six games of 1961 for a 10-4 season.   They finished in second place one half game behind the first place New York Giants.   No repeat title game in 1961. In 1962,  the Philadelphia Eagles finished last at 3-10-1.  The Penthouse to the cellar in two years.

During this 17 year drought,  Tom Brookshier’s enthusiasm both for the Eagles and for the city itself never wavered.   His presence both on CBS and the nightly newscast on WCAU helped sustain fan interest for a consistently losing team.  When people saw him on City Line Avenue he would always return the hello and stop and chat.    Brookshier had a friendly gregarious manner and just enjoyed people.  These impromptu chats kept him aware of what was on people’s minds for the Eagles and the city itself.

As good as he was, Tom Brookshier did not reach his near full potential  until teaming with Pat Summerall midway in the 1974 season.  The chemistry between these announcers was almost perfect.  Summerall’s precise play by play and Brookshier’s analysis helped fans understand the fine points of the game.  Brookshier’s conversational abilities  moved the game through slack periods.  Tom  frequently cracked jokes and metaphors which were very incisive.  CBS assigned these two to the most important game every week.

I first realized how good the Summerall-Brookshier team was  in the third week of 1975.  They called the  Eagles 26 to 10 win over the Washington Redskins.  This was the Eagles first win over the Skins in eight years.  The two were  at three Super Bowls:

1975 Pittsburgh over Dallas 21 to 17

1977 Dallas over Denver 27 to 1o, and

1979 Pittsburgh over the Los Angeles Rams 31 to 19.

From Philadelphia’s standpoint, their two memorable games were the final week of the 1978 season where the Eagles defeated the New York Giants 20 to 3.  This gave the Birds a 9-7 record and their first winning season in 12 years. Their last game as a duo was one of the great days in Eagles history;  the 20 to 7 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship game.

Starting in 1981, CBS teamed  John Madden with Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier became a play by play man for another less significant game .  He worked with analysts such as Wayne Walker, Hank Stram, and Roger Staubach.   He was very good in this new role and he retired from CBS after the 1986 season.   As the internet page shows, he work for a radio station and KYW  TV.   His enthusiasm for the Philadelphia Eagles was contagious.

His passing was a great loss for the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area and the Eagles.


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