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History of the Eagles - Part III: The Steagles (1943)
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Steegles46


Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 4677
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:46 am    Post subject: History of the Eagles - Part III: The Steagles (1943) Reply with quote


The History of the Philadelphia Eagles

Part I: In the Beginning…
Part II: The Swap

Previously on History of the Eagles:
The history between the Steelers and the Eagles didn’t end there. Following the 1942 season, World War II had so sapped the NFL of capable players that the league was on the threshold of folding. To save the league, as well as the Steelers, from collapse the Steelers and Eagles agreed to merge teams and play as a single squad...

Part III: The Steagles (1943)

There have been a few posters who have misinterpreted my forum name. It happened recently, and has happened a few times in the past. No, this forum name I have chosen does not mean that my loyalty is split - although I do root for the Steelers almost every game because they are a Pennsylvania team and my best friend's favorite team. My forum name is an homage to one of the greatest moments in the history of the National Football League.

By the 1943 football season, the United States was completing its second full year fighting in World War II. Desperate to keep the spirits up of the citizens who had sent their loved ones overseas to fight, league owners scraped together any ablebodied people they could find. Major League Baseball, though suspended for the war, helped form a league of female baseball players. The National Football League attempted to fill its teams with temporary replacement players. However, because of the severe male labor shortage, and the nature of the game of football (during World War I the MLB was able to field disabled veterans), not all rosters could be filled with these replacement players. The Cleveland Rams could not find enough players, and suspended operations for the year. In an attempt to keep the league running, two other teams who could not find enough replacement players to operate made an agreement with one another to temporarily merge in order to continue playing. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles made that agreement, and became known offically as "Phil-Pitt Combine." However, among the fans of the Eagles and Steelers, the team was lovingly refered to as the "Steagles" (yes, I spelled it wrong in my name; how embarrasing).

The "Steagles" were in operation for only that one year, and played teams that were able to field full squads on their own. That year was a magical one, for reasons that I will explain later. It started on the third official week of the season, October 2, 1943, against the Brooklyn Dodgers. After a 23-yard Roy Zimmerman (Eagles) field goal, John Butler (Eagles) and Ernie Steele (Eagles) each had 10-yard touchdown runs to complete the "Steagles" first victory, 17-0

On October 9, against the New York Giants, the "Steagles" found themselves trailing for the first time, 14-0 after the first quarter. However, the "Steagles" scored on an Ernie Steele (Eagles) 4-yard run to make it 14-7 at the half. In the fourth quarter, two Roy Zimmerman (Eagles) touchdown passes and an Al Sherman (Eagles) 4-yard touchdown run completed the comeback, 28-14, and a record of 2-0.

On October 17 the "Steagles" met the mighty Chicago Bears, last year's champion. Sid Luckman, the Bears' all-world quarterback, did not participate in World War II, and instead lead his team on a dominant run to another championship (they would outscore their opponents 303-157 that year). After a 60-yard touchdown pass from Zimmerman to Steele, the Bears returned the ensuing kick-off 96 yards for their own touchdown, and would rattle off 48 straight points before a pair of touchdowns by the "Steagles" made for a more respectable, yet still lopsided 48-21 loss.

The "Steagles" would split the next two matches against the New York Giants (loss) and the Chicago Cardinals (win), and on November 7 faced the Washington Redskins. The game was a complete stalemate, with each team scoring a touchdown in the second and fourth quarters, and playing to a 14-14 tie. They would meet again later, with the "Steagles" prevailing that time, 27-14. With a win against the Lions (35-34) and losses to the Dodgers (13-7) and the Packers (38-28), the "Steagles" completed their season at 5-4-1. Why is this so important? Because that record was the first-ever winning record for the Philadelphia Eagles franchise, and only the second-ever for the Pittsburgh Steelers (having done it just the year before). It also marked the start of a remarkable upswing for the Eagles, who would rattle off six straight winning seasons, culminating in championships in 1948 and 1949 (and a championship loss in 1947). The '48-'49 seasons are considered by many to be the greatest and most dominant consecutive two-year run by any team in history.

Could the NFL have continued had the Steelers and Eagles not merged? Perhaps, but the loss of the Rams, Steelers, and Eagles would certainly have devistated the league if it continued, as it would only have had seven running teams that year. The "Steagles" played four home games at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, and two in Pittsburgh, and played in front of 129,347 fans. With each passing game, the fanbase grew; the first game was seen by merely 11,131 fans, but by the last game 34,294 fans attended. A great book to read that has a much better account of the history of the "Steagles" is Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles—"The Steagles"—Saved Pro Football During World War II, written by Matthew Algeo.

I hope this clears up any confusion anyone had, and was an exciting and informative read for all.

To read about the Eagles' revolutionary impact on and dominance of the game of football for the remainder of the decade, be sure to look for The History of the Eagles Part IV: Revolution and Dominance.
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Last edited by Steegles46 on Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ok go26


Joined: 27 Apr 2005
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Location: outside Philly
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause

Well done.

You should link to this in your sig or something.
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Phreak


Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm nominating this for post of the month.



Excellent job, Steegles46.
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eagles99


Joined: 01 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice post!!! As an eagles fan I am goin to say it's kind of sad that you even have to justify your tread name. I think every eagles fan should know a little history of their favorite team. I agree that you should provede a quick link to this tread
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Steegles46


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the compliments guys, I really appreciate it. To me, the "Steagles" represent what football is really all about. Football is a game; it is meant to bring joy to its fans in their normal life, and distraction in times of sorrow. The owners of the Eagles and Steelers knew that America needed a happy distraction - they needed football - and made a remarkable decision in order to keep the NFL running. I have always thought of Steelers fans as breatheren - a step-brother and step-sister if you will. My best friend is a Steelers fan, and it's something special to know that in addition to us sharing a rich common history, our favorite teams, teams that we have rooted for for decades, also share a piece of their history. For one spectacular year, the Steelers and Eagles cast in their lot together, and played not as competitors but as teammates. And they succeeded.
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S.A.cowboyfan


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing work Steegles46, on all parts so far.
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Phire


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S.A.cowboyfan wrote:
Amazing work Steegles46, on all parts so far.


Pretty much sums it up, and steegles, I have a question, is your name a typo or is there something behind it?
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stevec0008


Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this one!
One year the Steelers and Eagles combined their teams, hence the name, Steegles, im 99% sure its right..
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Eagles27


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great post Steegles.

Well Done Applause
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Phire


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevec0008 wrote:
I know this one!
One year the Steelers and Eagles combined their teams, hence the name, Steegles, im 99% sure its right..


It's right, but his name is Steegles, but in the information it's the Steagles...
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theuntouchable wrote:
Think about this phire. I am the real chow.

RainbowCarebear wrote:
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stevec0008


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

O...Cause he wanted to...? Rolling Eyes Embarassed Laughing
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Phire


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I guess I was just wondering if it was an accident or there is something behind it.
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theuntouchable wrote:
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phillyphanatic


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great times. I wish I was there to experience it. A very belated good job.
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stevec0008


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ The games seems a little faster now, seems to slow and low scoring for me...I mean sure it be cool so see film of w/e..but id rather be alive now...plus we have madden Laughing
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Steegles46


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the reason why my name is spelled "Steegles" is because I'm an idiot (but you all already knew that, right?). I wasn't paying attention when I created my name, and it wasn't until I made a few posts that I realised my error. I've been thinking about asking the Webmaster to change it, but it's a lot of work for him and he's got a lot more important things to worry about, so I live with my shame. Wink Confused
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