Quick Bit: The Eagles are the most popular team in the City of Brotherly Love, but the franchise does not have the signature player to break through on Sporting News’ Mount Rushmore.

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Philadelphia has had an NFL team for almost 90 years. That wasn’t enough time for an Eagle to get enough Brotherly Love from Sporting News to make the city’s pro sports Mount Rushmore.

While the 76ers (Julius Erving, Allen Iverson), Phillies (Mike Schmidt) and Flyers (Bobby Clarke) combined to grace all four faces, the Eagles won’t have an SN representative. That’s despite having 22 Pro Football Hall of Fame players and four championship teams in their long existence.

Given the fiery passion of Philly’s football fanatics, that might seem to be met with great disrespect. But the Eagles, for how many stars they had, the franchise didn’t have an individual who could deliver the Rocky-like punch needed to knock out one of the other athletes.

MORE: Erving, Schmidt, Clarke, Iverson land on Philly’s Mount Rushmore

Two legendary late Eagles, running back Steve Van Buren and center/linebacker Chuck Bednarik still hold up from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. In the modern era, the best candidate was safety Brian Dawkins, the latest to get his Canton call to the Hall in 2018.

Many of the team’s other Hall of Famers are known for also standing out for other teams, including Terrell Owens, Reggie White and Sonny Jurgensen. Even Dawkins, after 13 fine seasons in Philadelphia, ended his career as a two-time Pro Bowler in Denver.

Erving and Iverson played in different cities, too, the former in a different league. But the first thing you see on them are classic Sixers jerseys of the past. Schmidt and Clarke were 1970s fixtures on their teams before retiring in the 1980s on those same teams.

Erving, Schmidt and Clarke brought Philadelphia championships in hoops, baseball and hockey. Iverson carried a team to the Finals.

Van Buren and Bednarik each won two pre-merger championships, crossing over as teammates on the 1949 Eagles, one of the NFL’s greatest all-time teams. Dawkins led the Eagles to one NFC title and Super Bowl XXXIX appearance against Tom Brady’s Patriots in 2004.

MORE: See The Sporting News Mount Rushmore for all 13 cities While the Eagles had a 56-year championship drought from 1961 until the “Philly Special” rematch against the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, the other three teams brought a combined five titles. With that gap, recency bias confirmed that Van Buren and Bednarik wouldn’t make the mount.

Erving, Schmidt and Clarke were part of Philadelphia’s sports heyday together. The Eagles snuck into a Super Bowl after the 1980 season under coach Dick Vermeil, but that playoff spike was anomalous vs. the more notable Buddy Ryan and Andy Reid eras to follow.

Although Dawkins would have been good representation for Reid, players such as Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy had their own good cases from those teams’ offenses. Dawkins also had a little competition from other defensive stars such as Troy Vincent.

When the Eagles finally lifted the Lombardi Trophy after the 2017 season, it was more ragtag with backup-QB-turned-Super-Bowl-MVP Nick Foles in the middle of it all.

With Erving, Schmidt and Clarke firm, Dawkins became more of a question vs. “The Answer.” As great as Dawkins was for a long time, Iverson, as mercurial as he was in Philadelphia, has more star staying power because of his electric prime that included four NBA scoring titles.

Dr. J had the signature high-flying dunks. Schmidt delivered the long-bomb home runs. Clarke racked up the goals, assists and checks. Iverson’s high energy as an offensive producer was undeniable.

Unfortunately for Dawkins, his defensive dominance wasn’t enough to crack the top four across sports with so much flash and substance ahead of him. That’s no Rushmore to judgment — and it doesn’t diminish from the fact he’s the overall best and beloved Eagle from this generation.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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