December 04, 2012
With the Eagles totally in the tank this year, I thought we’d take a look back at some of their worst teams of all time. We’ll start with their last truly awful team and work our way backwards. We begin with the 1998 Eagles.
“You know what I want? I want the Eagles to lose the rest of their games,” one raspy voiced man said, “so Lurie will give up and sell the team.” A call on WIP earlier tonight? Nope, a call on WIP in November of 1998, as documented by this New York Times piece about the disastrous 1998 Eagles season.
In 1997, the Eagles had gotten quite excited about their young QB Bobby Hoying. After his first start, Rich Hoffmann wrote, “Bobby Hoying leaves you wanting to see more. It’s that simple.” He would have a couple of spectacular games and end the ’97 season looking like the QB of the future. He completed 57% of his passes and threw for 11 TDs and 6 Int’s. But at the end of the ’97 season the team lost offensive coordinator Jon Gruden, who went to Oakland, and running back Ricky Watters, who went to Seattle. Even with this exciting young QB, it would be tough to build on their 6-9-1 season the year before.
It was. The team was awful. The nightmare season started in their home opener against the Seattle Seahawks, who beat them 38-0. Hoying went 9-23 for 60 yards and had an INT returned for a touchdown. It would be the only TD he would throw all season.
There were more blowout losses on the horizon. The Broncos crushed them 41-16. The Cowboys beat them 34-0. The Redskins rocked them 28-3, the Giants 20-0. The offense was atrocious. They scored more than 20 points in a game once all season (a 24-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.) In fact, their 162 points (10 ppg) was the third lowest scored by any team since the NFL went to a 16 game game season in 1978.
Bobby Hoying was a complete disaster. Without Gruden as his offensive coordinator, he lost all confidence. He threw for zero touchdowns and 9 Interceptions and convinced the incoming administration that it was time to get a new QB and not Ricky Williams in the draft. In addition to not being able to complete passes, he was sacked constantly. His lone victory as QB was a 10-9 win over the Lions, a game in which he managed to throw for all of 97 yards.
There was some good to come out of that year, however. Young RB Duce Staley had a 1,000 yard season. Hugh Douglas, who had just come over from the Jets, was a breakout star, garnering 12.5 sacks. The team (with Rhodes as GM) picked well in the draft that year, getting Tra Thomas in the first round, Jeremiah Trotter in the 3rd, and Ike Reese in the 5th.
Rhodes, whose career with the Eagles had started with so much promise, was let go at the end of the season. Though Jim Haslett was considered the front runner for the job, it was Andy Reid who was the surprise hire. The rest, as they say, is history.