Joe Kurarich, after the shutout win on Thanksgiving Day, made a ludicrous remark that the Philadelphia Eagles were better than their 1-11 indicated. Had they won those two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, the Eagles would still have finished last with a 4-10 mark. They were simply a bad team.
Nevertheless, there is a nick of truth in that comment. Philadelphia Eagle fans want to win every game, with close wins being the ones that really hurt. The only losses fans accept are when playoffs are assured and the Birds cannot gain anything further. This relates of course to the BYE week and the home field advantage. I would have felt better in 1968 with a record of 4-10 not 2-12.
So let’s look at the two close games in 1968. They were both on the road against mediocre teams.
Week Seven at Pittsburgh
With both clubs at 0-6, reporters called this the O.J. Simpson Bowl. Same Baker kicked a 38 yard field field in the second quarter and this 3 to 0 lead held until the fourth. Pittsburgh got two fields goals, one in the last 30 seconds, to win. This game was hardly a thrill despite the late heroics.
In addition, the Philadelphia Eagles wasted two good efforts. Tom Woodeshick gained 92 yards and 18 carries. Helmet strapless Ben Hawkins caught seven passes for 108 yards. On the down side, Baker missed three field goals. Pittsburgh DB Paul Martha killed an Eagle drive with a 20 yard return of an interception. Steelers 6 Eagles 3.
Week 10 at Yankee Stadium
The Eagles came in at 0-9 to a perky 6-3 for the Giants. Sam Baker kicked two field goals in the first half. Sadly, Fran Tarkenton threw a touchdown pass to Bobby Duhon in between the two field goals. Norm Snead threw three pass interceptions. Sam Baker missed a third field goal attempt. Al Nelson stood out in the Eagles’ Secondary grabbing two passes Fran Tarkenton passes. A scoreless second half followed 7 to 6 halftime deficit. So again Giants 7 Eagles 6.
This win ran the Giants record to 7-3; but they lost their last four games. Like I said a 4-10 would have felt better. They wound not, however, saved Joe Kuharch’s job.