Tuesday, January 31, 2023

TUESDAY TIDBITS: "You Play to Win the Game"

By TJ Troup 
There are a handful of men who have been employed by both teams, thus the title of this narrative from Herman Edwards. 

When the merger happened in 1970 the league and schedule makers decided to have each team play three games from the other conference. Since each conference had thirteen teams, would take four years plus before each team had played ALL of the different teams from the opposing conference. Ed Khayat took over the Eagles during the '71 season for Jerry Williams who had struggled in the win column. Philadelphia finished strong in '71. 

Street & Smith's 1972 publication picked Philadelphia to finish third in the very strong NFC east, though many questions remained of just how good was Philly? Especially at quarterback. 

John Reaves was drafted to be the savior, while Pete Liske would have to improve dramatically to keep the job. The 1971 Kansas City Chiefs had a memorable playoff loss to end their season, but had plenty of talent, and as such Street & Smith's picked them to win the AFC west over a tough, and talented Oakland Raider team. 

The Chiefs win three of their first five games in '72 and are at home to take on the winless Eagles in the first-ever regular season match-up of these two teams. Philadelphia's schedule to open '72 is a daunting one, and though they are 0-5. How many other teams could have beaten the likes of Dallas, Cleveland, NYG, Washington, and Los Angeles? 

So let's take a closer look to the first time these two teams met. 

Pete Liske is back as the starting quarterback on a cool, cloudy day in Kansas City. Liske rolls left on the Eagles first possesion and rifles the ball to running back Po James in the middle of the field. Mike Sensibaugh of the Chiefs breaks up the pass attempt, but as he loses his balance and is falling the pigskin bounces off his lower leg toward the sideline. The ball is high enough for veteran receiver Ben Hawkins to run to, grab the ball, and dash to the end zone and still has his chin strap unfastened to score on the 67-yard play. 
Ben Hawkins
Later in the quarter fleet Harold Jackson (he has a monster year in '72) easily runs past Marsalis up the right sideline and catches the well-thrown Liske pass for the second Philadelphia touchdown. 

Second quarter and Super Bill Bradley punts to Marshall, who fumbles—Eagle ball on the forty-one. Liske finds a wide-open Jackson near the Kansas City end zone for touchdown number three....who would have predicted a 21-0 Philadelphia road lead? Liske finishes the first half 7 of 8 for 193 yards (second half he is 1 of 4 for 16 yards). 

The Chiefs fight back and narrow the gap to 21-20, but that is the final score. This Week in the NFL shows highlights of the game, and a key play during the second half is the Podolak fumble where a number of Eagles and Chiefs have a chance of recovery before Len Dawson comes out of the pile on a play that loses 29 yards.

Veteran Don Hultz keys a strong Eagle pass rush with two sacks. Gee wonder if we will see a Philadelphia pass rush on February 12th, 2023? 

Hawkins and Jackson both catch 3 for 93 yards in the Eagle victory, is the law firm of Smith & Brown listening? Based upon where you finished in the standings, and since Philadelphia is in a five-team division (this affected scheduling) these two teams met only three times from 1970 through 2000! Since then they have played six times. 
The Chiefs lead the series 5-4, and the points scored are 219-218. If this is an indicator for the upcoming game we should see a VERY CLOSE battle. Much will be written about Andy Reid, yet Edwards, Dick Vermeil, and Carl Peterson all had success with both franchises. Enjoy the game, and my next column will be in mid-March.

1 comment:

  1. From Brian wolf ...

    This SB game kind of reminds of the 2015/16 Broncos ... despite a great defense, they were facing perhaps, the NFL's best team in Carolina, that destroyed the Cardinals in the NFC Championship ... The Eagles this year might be the same as that team but like Manning, whose arm had lost its strength and velocity, the Chiefs have a QB with only one working wheel.

    Like Carolina then and the Eagles now, the better team should win the game based upon their year but it wouldnt surprise me if the NFL scriptwriters chose another ending with the gallant, injured QB now, just like then, coming in and leading his team to a second championship ...

    KC over Philly in the SB