Dick Vermeil, who led the Eagles to the 1980 Super Bowl and then won a Super Bowl with the Rams 19 years later, was named a finalist Tuesday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Vermeil is the coach finalist selected by the Senior Committee for consideration for the Hall’s Class of 2022.
After coaching at UCLA for two years, Vermeil took over as head coach of the Eagles in 1976. The Eagles were coming off nine straight non-winning seasons and a stretch of one winning record in 14 seasons.
After going 9-19 in Vermeil’s first two years, the Eagles went on a run of four straight playoff seasons, going 42-22 from 1978 through 1981 and reaching Super Bowl XV against the Raiders in New Orleans after the 1980 season.
Vermeil stepped down after the 1982 season citing burnout and did not coach again for 15 years. But he took the Rams job in 1997 and in his third year led the Greatest Show on Turf to a 13-3 record and a win over the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta.
He stepped down again after that season, then returned in 2001 to coach the Chiefs for five years, going 44-36.
He’s one of six coaches in NFL history to lead two teams to the Super Bowl.
In all, Vermeil had a 120-109 record in 15 years as an NFL head coach with six playoff wins.
Vermeil was in Canton for this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony to support enshrinee Harold Carmichael, who played in every game Vermeil coached with the Eagles.
“Dick Vermeil — he pushed me every day in practice,” Carmichael said during his acceptance speech. “Thank you, coach. Hope you’re in the next class of inductees. You deserve it and you’ve got a lot of guys that you coached and we’re all pulling for you right now.”
Vermeil learned Tuesday he was a finalist from David Baker, president and CEO of the Hall of Fame.
“I am overwhelmed. I’m not sure I belong there,” Vermeil told Baker according to a release from the Hall of Fame.
Vermeil was selected by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Coach Committee from a group of seven candidates who have been retired for at least five years.
To be elected to the Hall of Fame, Vermeil must receive 80 percent of the votes from the full 49-member Selection Committee.
Vermeil, now 84, was also finalist for the Hall’s so-called “Centennial Slate” last year but was not a finalist.
Three former Eagles head coaches are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but only one was enshrined for his work as Eagles head coach, and that’s Greasy Neale, who led the team to the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championships.
Wayne Millner, who was an interim coach in 1951, and Mike McCormick, the Eagles’ coach from 1973 through 1975, were both selected for their playing careers.
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