Eagles

Dick Lucas, starter on Eagles' 1960 championship team, dies at 86

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Dick Lucas, starter on Eagles' 1960 championship team, dies at 86

Dick Lucas, a starting end on the Eagles’ 1960 NFL Championship team, died Wednesday.

He was 86.

The Eagles announced in a story on their web site that Lucas died from complications of COVID-19.

Lucas is the third member of the 1960 Eagles to die in the past month. Timmy Brown and Pete Retzlaff, who are both in the Eagles Hall of Fame, died last month. Additionally, Tom Dempsey, who spent four years with the Eagles in the early 1970s, also died last month.

That 1960 Eagles team stunned Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr and the Packers 17-13 in the 1960 NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field to win the franchise’s last championship until Super Bowl LII two years ago.

After the game, Lucas talked about the win with the Boston Globe:

We never worried about the Green Bay passing attack, even if Paul Hornung could go all the way. So the defense was set to contain the running attack and that job was accomplished. We heard how Green Bay had the better line, but we never believed it. In other words, we believed in ourselves as a squad and it paid off. The two reasons for that confidence were (Norm) Van Brocklin on offense and (Chuck) Bednarik on defense. Both are wonders. The Dutchman, Van Brocklin, gives you the feeling everything can work out successfully. If he says it’s so, then it must be so. And the players all work the harder to make him a real prophet.

Lucas was a native of Boston and played at Boston College but settled in the Philadelphia area after football. He married the former Barbara Dunn of West Chester and settled there following his football career, working as a merchandising and sales promotions manager for Merit Oil Company until he retired.

According to the Eagles, Lucas was an Eagles season ticket holder and for years tail-gated before home games in the parking lot out of a rented RV. He also served as president of the Philadelphia Eagles Alumni Association and made numerous charity appearances on behalf of the Eagles.  

Lucas was originally selected in the 10th round of the 1956 draft by the Bears but spent two years with the Marines before making his NFL debut in 1958, when he played four games for the Steelers.

He spent 1960 through 1963 with the Eagles, playing in 38 games and catching 34 passes for 384 yards and six touchdowns. 

In 1961, He caught eight passes but five of them were touchdowns. That’s the most TDs in NFL history by a player with eight or fewer receptions. His five TDs were tied for second-most in the NFL in 1961 by ends, who weren’t yet called tight ends.

His final touchdown of the season was the 32nd TD pass of the 1961 season by Sonny Jurgensen. That stood as a franchise record until 2017, when Carson Wentz threw 33.

The Eagles honored Lucas during the 2017 playoff win over the Falcons.

Lucas is survived by Barbara, his wife of 59 years, along with two daughters, Dr. Karen Lucas and Andrea Lucas and a son, Brian Lucas, as well as four grandchildren.

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Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.

After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.

Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.

Per the Inquirer:

"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."

"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."

"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.

Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.

A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:

The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.

In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall. 

Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.

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