Did you know the Eagles once traveled nearly 10,000 miles in one month for preseason games?
Did you know that the Eagles once played a preseason game at Chestnut Hill Academy?
Did you know a couple years the Eagles played SEVEN preseason games?
We may not have Eagles preseason games this summer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have 10 Fascinating Facts About Eagles Preseason History!
We looked way back in the record book and found some pretty interesting stuff about Eagles preseasons of yore!
• In their early years, the Eagles actually played preseason games after they began playing regular-season games. Although they’re listed today as preseason games, they were more like scrimmages that didn’t count in the standings — basically exhibition games against semipro or college teams. Sometimes, the Eagles went back-and-forth between regular-season games and exhibition games. In 1934, the Eagles opened the regular season on Sept. 16 at Green Bay, then played three games in eight days — a scrimmage against the Fort Atkinson Blackhawks 150 miles south of Green Bay on Sept. 23, then a regular-season game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh three days later on the way back to Philadelphia and then another scrimmage against the Reading Keystones four days after that in Reading.
• During the early days, the Eagles played preseason games in some pretty odd places. In 1945, 50 years before they moved training camp to Bethlehem, they played the Chicago Bears at Liberty Stadium in Bethlehem. In 1952, they faced the Bears in Durham, North Carolina, in 1953 they played the Colts in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1954 they had a preseason game against the Steelers in Rochester, in 1955 they played the Packers in Charleston, South Carolina, and in 1956 they played the Steelers in Minneapolis. Every year from 1949 through 1954 they played preseason games against either the Rams, Bears or Lions in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the 1960s and 1970s they played preseason games in Princeton.
• And how about this 1959 preseason schedule: Giants in Hershey, Bears in Lynn, Massachusetts, Packers in Portland, Oregon, Lions in Toledo five days later, Colts at Franklin Field and Rams in Los Angeles. They stayed out west and opened the regular season in San Francisco, but that’s still 9,129 travel miles IN THE PRESEASON.
• More recently, in 1978, the Eagles faced the Dolphins in a preseason game in Mexico City. In 1981, they played the Saints in Syracuse. They faced the Rams in 1985 in Columbus, Ohio, and the Jets in 1989 in Raleigh. In 1993, they played the Saints in Tokyo and in 1995 they faced the Jets in Jackson, Mississippi. They played the Bills and Browns at Wembley in London in both 1989 and 1991.
• From 1951 through 1965, when the Eagles held training camp in Hershey, they played preseason games at Hershey Stadium, and some years they played two. Among the NFL stars who played in Hershey over the years were Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas of the Colts, Ernie Stautner of the Steelers, Art Donovan and Alan Ameche of the Colts, Charley Taylor of the Redskins, Sid Luckman of the Bears and Frank Gifford and Sam Huff of the Giants.
• Until the late 1970s, NFL teams routinely played six preseason games. In 1954 and 1956, the Eagles played seven preseason games. In 1954, between Aug. 14 and Sept. 17, the Eagles played preseason games in Hershey, Philadelphia, Little Rock, Rochester, Hershey again, St. Louis and San Antonio. And two years later they played in Hershey, Dallas, Philadelphia, Charleston, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Denver. All before starting the regular season. The regular season back then was only 14 games, so the preseason was 50 percent as long as the regular season!
• The last time the Eagles played six preseason games was 1977. Training camp that summer — Dick Vermeil’s second — ran from July 11 through Aug. 29. That’s seven weeks of two-a-days.
• The highest-scoring preseason game in Eagles history — 84 points — was a 56-28 loss to the Colts in Hershey in 1962. The lowest-scoring was a scoreless tie against the Steelers — also in Hershey — in 1952.
• Since 2000, the longest preseason run by an Eagle is a 68-yarder by Donovan McNabb at Tennessee in 2001. The longest pass play is that 81-yarder from McNabb to T.O. in their first game together in 2004 against the Ravens at the Linc. The longest interception return is a 90-yarder by Ed Reynolds against the Jets in 2016 at the Linc.
• From 1953 through 1955, the Eagles won 16 preseason games and 18 regular-season games.
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