The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional American football franchise based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The franchise was established in 1933 as a replacement for the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, when a group led by Bert Bell secured the rights to an NFL franchise in Philadelphia. Bell, Chuck Bednarik, Bob Brown, Reggie White, Steve Van Buren, Tommy McDonald, Greasy Neale, Pete Pihos, Sonny Jurgensen, and Norm Van Brocklin have been inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The team has an intense rivalry with the New York Giants. This rivalry is the oldest in the NFC East and is among the oldest in the NFL. It was ranked by NFL Network as the number one rivalry of all-time and Sports Illustrated ranks it amongst the Top 10 NFL rivalries of all-time at number four, and according to ESPN, it is one of the fiercest and most well-known rivalries in the American football community. They also have a historic rivalry with the Washington Redskins, as well as their bitter rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys, which has become more high-profile in the last three decades.
The team consistently ranks in the top three in attendance and has sold out every game since the 1999 season. In a Sports Illustrated poll of 321 NFL players, Eagles fans were selected the most intimidating fans in the NFL.
Midway through the 1931 season, the Frankford Yellow Jackets went bankrupt and ceased operations. After more than a year of searching for a suitable replacement, the NFL granted an expansion franchise to a syndicate headed by Bert Bell and Lud Wray and awarded them the franchise rights of the failed Yellow Jackets organization. The Bell-Wray group had to pay an entry fee of $3,500 (equal to $39,371 today) and assumed a total debt of $11,000 that was owed to three other NFL franchises. Drawing inspiration from the Blue Eagle insignia of the National Recovery Administration—the centerpiece of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal—Bell and Wray named the new franchise the Philadelphia Eagles. Neither the Eagles nor the NFL officially regard the two franchises as the same, citing the aforementioned period of dormancy. Furthermore, almost no Yellow Jackets players were on the Eagles’ first roster. The Eagles, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the now-defunct Cincinnati Reds, joined the NFL as expansion teams.
In 1937, the Eagles moved to Shibe Park and played their home games at the stadium through 1957, except for the 1941 season, which was played at Municipal Stadium, where they had played from 1936 to 1939. (Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium in 1954.)
To accommodate football at Shibe Park during the winter, management set up stands in right field, parallel to 20th Street. Some 20 feet high, these “east stands” had 22 rows of seats. The goalposts stood along the first base line and in left field. The uncovered east stands enlarged capacity of Shibe Park to over 39,000, but the Eagles rarely drew more than 25 to 30,000.
The Eagles struggled over the course of their first decade, enduring repeated losing seasons. In December 1940, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney sold his franchise to Alexis Thompson for $160,000 and then used half of the proceeds to buy a half interest in the Eagles from his friend Bert Bell. Soon after, Bell and Rooney traded the Eagles franchise to Thompson and moved it to Pittsburgh (as the “Steelers”), while Thompson moved the Steelers franchise to Philadelphia (as the “Eagles”).
The mascot Swoop is used to represent various sports organizations in the United States. One of the most notable mascots named Swoop is used by the NFL Football team the Philadelphia Eagles. Various American universities use the name Swoop as their athletic program mascots.
During the NFL regular season, Swoop regularly appears as an animated character in the weekly Eagles Kids Club television show. Since the show’s debut in 2005, the animated version of Swoop has been serving as a host of this show.
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