“That’s what the players wanted. That’s what they got.”
By Dave Spadaro
The Eagles received their Super Bowl rings last week, as you know, and they were everything you would think a championship ring would be: 219 diamonds, enormous, with many stories weaved into the design. They were exactly the kind of, well, obnoxious rings the players wanted. A 10-table ring, some said, meaning you can see the ring from 10 tables away.
“Gaudy,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “Perfect.”
“Bling-y,” Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie said. “That’s what the players wanted. That’s what they got.”
Beyond all of that, and a celebration for the ages on a Thursday night in South Philadelphia, the ring puts some perspective into the ownership of Lurie. He bought the team in 1994, and as we enter his 25th season as the overseer of the franchise, it’s appropriate to document what the Eagles have accomplished under his watch:
• Two Super Bowl appearances, with one victory.
• Six trips to the NFC Championship Game.
• Eight NFC East titles
• Twenty-six playoff games, with 14 victories
Beyond that, the Eagles have been responsible and upstanding citizens, dedicated and caring in the community, devoted to making Philadelphia and the region a better place by reaching out to the underserved in the area.
For those old enough to remember, Lurie purchased the Eagles from Norman Braman in ’94 for a then-record $185 million. Lurie was questioned heavily on taking such a financial risk, which has clearly turned out to be a brilliant move (the Carolina Panthers just sold for a reported $2.2 billion) and which gave the Eagles new life. Braman was notoriously tight fisted with his team, allowed key stars (tight end Keith Jackson, linebacker Seth Joyner, defensive end Clyde Simmons, Hall of Famer Reggie White) to depart in free agency and wasn’t an on-site owner.
Braman spent zero time cozying up to the Philadelphia sports fans, and he was resented for it.
Lurie, on the other hand, has been invested in every way. He is known around the league for his working cooperation with his front office — football and business — and he’s given the decision makers in the organization just about everything they’ve asked for over the years.
The Eagles always have among the most coaches in the league and all the resources they want to help lure free agents or keep developing players or add to any kind of cutting-edge technology to help the team win games.
As much as anyone, Lurie is as obsessed with winning the Super Bowl. He’s got one under his belt. He wants more. And he knows that it takes everyone to contribute to the cause, including the fans, who are significantly recognized on the ring with a silhouette of Lincoln Financial Field on one side and the “Fly Eagles Fly” fight song on the back band.
“Everything we do is designed to win football games and to have that happen, the entire organization has to work together,” Lurie said as he presented rings to the entire franchise last week. “I’ve always said it takes a village to win a championship. This is proof of that.”
We, as fans, don’t want to hear from our owners very much in Philadelphia. We just want them to give us winners. Lurie has done that for much of his 24 seasons, with the clincher coming on Feb. 4, 2018, as the Eagles won Super Bowl LII. For that, he is to be celebrated and recognized for what he is: The best owner the Philadelphia Eagles have ever had, and one whom fans can genuinely feel happy that he gained the same satisfaction from winning the Super Bowl as all of us. ••