Former Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Mike Boryla is starring in a show about his time with the team at Plays and Players. Credit: Kimberly Spead Photography
Just because the Birds have made an early exit from this year's playoffs does not mean all Eagles’ quarterbacks have left the stage.
Mike Boryla, the Eagles' QB from 1974 to 1976, is set to star in “The Disappearing Quarterback,” a one-man show he wrote about his time on the team, starting this week at Plays and Players Theatre in Center City.
“I was only with Philadelphia for three years but it left its mark on me,” Boryla says. “Even though I was away for 35 years and didn't come back here, it was still always there. Philadelphia was really the first place I felt comfortable with who I was -- I really felt like I was at home. I was a little bit different, I was a little bit odd, but here in Philadelphia it really doesn't matter. People like you for who you are.”
Boryla marches to the beat of a different drummer. After winning the starting job at the end of '74 season, he bought a van and lived in it in California. The Stanford grad started for two more years for the Eagles, but after a stopover with the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, he retired and became a lawyer.
Now Boryla, who lives in Colorado with his wife and children, is an actor and playwright. He appeared in Plays and Players' “Voices of a People's History of the United States” last year.
“Theater needs fresh, new voices,” says director Daniel Student via email. “It's not every day that a former sports star sends a script to you to consider producing. Before I even read the play I said, ‘This is something we need to pursue.’”
In the play, Boryla talks about life in the go-go '70s NFL, a time when the league was transitioning from a second-tier sport to the national pastime it is now.
“It was a little bit wilder, a little bit off the cuff,” Boryla says. “They didn't have as many rules. When I first came into the league, you didn't have spring practices, you just showed up at training camp and got into shape. Now, my God, these guys have to train five days a week year round.”
Boryla is enjoying his time rehearsing the play.
“I hang around Old City and Rittenhouse Square,” Boryla says. “When I played for the Eagles, they told us to stay away from downtown Philly and not walk around here. I just love it here — it's wonderful.”
“The Disappearing Quarterback” Jan. 16 through Feb. 2 Plays and Players Theatre 1714 Delancey St. $25 in advance, $30 at the door 866-811-4111 www.playsandplayers.org