The gun went off and the 1960 Eagles were NFL champions. Maxie Baughan thought that’s how it would always be.
“I was a rookie,” recalled then outside linebacker Baughan at the conclusion of a weekend in which the Eagles honored 22 living teammates from the team that handed Vince Lombardi’s Packers their only post-season defeat, 17-13, in style. ”I figured we were gonna do it every year.”
Of course, they haven’t done it since, which the members of the ‘60 team find incredulous. “You’d think in all those years you'd get lucky once,” said tight end Pete Retzlaff, who still lives in the area, while the 2010 Packers were spoiling the occasion, 27-20, in the opener at the Linc yesterday. “But I think they're finally on their way.”
What made those Eagles succeed where all the teams that have followed them failed was an innate confidence they could overcome any adversity. Retzlaff says during their nine-game winning streak that year they trailed at halftime all but once.
Then, in the big one at Franklin Field when the Packers grabbed a 13-10 fourth quarter lead, another rookie, Ted Dean, returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards, then scored what proved to be the title-winning score from five yards out moments later. “That kickoff return was significant,” conceded Retzlaff. “By the same token it was what we expected.
“We never panicked and felt there was no reason we couldn't win.”
Fifty years later while some of the memories may have faded, their camaraderie remains just as strong. “We’ve had 2 ½ -3 days of a really outstanding time,'' said Retzlaff, wearing his No. 44 kelly green and white jersey proudly. “Some of these guys I hadn't seen in 50 years.”
Fifty years, sadly, without another Eagles' championship to celebrate.