The Philadelphia Eagles began play in the NFL in 1933, but for the first decade and a half of their existence, that was about all there was to celebrate. The team didn’t post a winning season until 1943, the year they merged with fellow Pennsylvania team the Pittsburgh Steelers to form the “Steagles” (neither team had enough players due to WWII). However, that season installed a winning pedigree that Philly would use for the next several years.
With Hall-of-Fame coach Greasy Neale, HOF RB Steve Van Buren, and HOF two-way player Pete Pihos, it was time to bet on the Philadelphia Eagles. They recorded three straight winning seasons, increasing the Philadelphia Eagles odds to win a title with every win. In 1947, the Eagles made it to their first NFL championship game, but lost to the Chicago Cardinals. However, the following year, a bet on the Philadelphia Eagles would pay, as they would exact revenge on the future Arizona franchise and win their first NFL championship. The Philadelphia Eagles odds to repeat were good, and repeat they did in 1949, defeating the Los Angeles Rams behind 196 yards from Van Buren.
Neale left the team in 1950, and the Eagles struggled throughout the decade. However, HOF QB Norm van Brocklin led the Eagles to the title game in 1960. A bet on the Philadelphia Eagles would pay, as they would defeat Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, and the Green Bay Packers 17-13.
The Philadelphia Eagles odds for longterm success seemed high, but the team endured the rest of the decade without making the playoffs, and most of the ‘70’s, as well. It would take until 1978 that coach Dick Vermeil and HOF WR Harold Carmichael would take the Eagles back to the playoffs for four straight seasons. In 1980, they would bring the #1 ranked defense to Super Bowl XV. The Philadelphia Eagles odds in that game? 3-point favorites over the AFC champion Raiders. However, a bet on the Philadelphia Eagles would not have been advised, as Oakland blew them out, 27-10.
After Vermeil left in 1982 to work in sports announcing, the team again endured a stretch of futility. In 1988, coach Buddy Ryan deployed dual-threat QB Randall Cunningham, who won two player of the year awards in 1989 & 1990. The Eagles made the playoffs four out of the five years Cunningham was at the helm, but never advanced farther than the divisional round. Even though the defense was dominant, led by HOF DE Reggie White, they still could not get over the hump.
Coach Ray Rhodes would ride RB Ricky Watters to two more playoff appearances in ’95 & ’96, but would still advance no farther than Ryan. In 1999, the Eagles hired Green Bay Packers assistant coach Andy Reid, and Reid made an immediate imprint on the franchise. Reid drafted Donovan McNabb second overall in the 1999 draft, and by the year 2000, McNabb was the team’s starter. The Philadelphia Eagles odds to add to their trophy room seemed high. Reid & McNabb reeled off five straight double-digit win seasons, and a futures bet on the Philadelphia Eagles seemed like a smart move. However, the heartbreak seemed build from one season to the next.
The Eagles lost three straight conference championship games from 2001-2003. In the last two, the Philadelphia Eagles odds were good – they were four-point favorites. Then, the team finally broke through in 2004, knocking off the Falcons to reach Super Bowl XXXIX. However, a bet on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the game would not pay, even though they covered a 7-point spread – the Patriots would win the title game, 24-21.
Reid and McNabb would lose yet another conference championship game to Kurt Warner in 2008, this time to the Arizona Cardinals. When Reid’s contract was not extended in 2013, he had compiled a .583 winning percentage in 14 seasons with the Eagles and made the playoffs nine times.
The Eagles would stumble through two more head coaches before settling on Kansas City offensive coordinator Doug Pederson to lead the team in 2016. That same year, the Eagles drafted North Dakota St. QB Carson Wentz with the second overall pick. Wentz would start every game his rookie season, and the following year, he would lead the team to a 10-2 record before tearing his ACL in a game against the Los Angeles Rams. Backup QB Nick Foles led the team the rest of the way and into the playoffs, but skeptics thought this would be it for the Eagles’ season. They were the first ever #1 seed to be an underdog in the divisional round, when they beat the Atlanta Falcons.
The Eagles were again underdogs in the NFC title game. But an incredible performance by Foles led to a 38-7 shellacking and a Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots. Naturally, the Eagles were underdogs, and once again, they beat the Philadelphia Eagles odds. Foles and the Eagles overcame Tom Brady’s 505 yards passing and won the game, 41-33.
Pederson has led the Eagles back to the playoffs in the two years since, but two 9-7 seasons ended in playoff losses to the Saints and Seahawks. With Foles now in Chicago and Wentz reinstalled as the QB of the future, the Eagles are primed to win back to back division titles and be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC.