The Philadelphia Eagles are back in the NFC Title game for the seventh time since Jeffrey Lurie bought the team back in 1994.
When Lurie took over for Norman Braman, even as far back as the mid-90s he used the San Francisco 49ers as the team to try and emulate as he built a winning culture in the City of Brotherly Love.
Since Lurie has taken over, the Eagles have been one of the most consistent teams in football. A Super Bowl title, plenty of marquee playoff wins, and two conference championships for a team that, until that point, had rarely built a consistent winner.
Yet as the team prepares to try and get back to the Super Bowl on Sunday, they’ll have to go through the team that Lurie wanted his original franchise to model.
The 49ers in the late 80s and early 90s were a beacon of successful football. Whether it was Steve Young or Joe Montana, the Niners won in a bevy of ways that made mediocre franchises like Philadelphia jealous. It didn’t come as a surprise then when Lurie’s first hire of his tenure was former 49ers defensive coordinator, Ray Rhodes.
Rhodes helped San Fran win the Super Bowl in 1994 and brought over the West Coast offense. While Rhodes’ tenure in Philly didn’t exactly work out, the West Coast offense became a staple of how the Eagles operated with the football.
Eagles have been in good hands
Lurie has since nailed head coaching hirings after his first miss with Rhodes. Andy Reid, Doug Pederson, and Nick Sirianni all share the honor of leading the Eagles to a conference championship as early as their second or third seasons.
But as Philadelphia has won, the 49ers have been as consistent, if not more for the better part of the last decade.
The emergence of the Shanahan zone offense has helped San Francisco reach the conference championship for the third time in four seasons. Kyle Shanahan and the rest of his staff are still searching for their first title and the sixth in team history.
It all comes to a head on Sunday.
The franchise that Lurie wanted to emulate when he first became an owner is now in his way as he searches for his second Super Bowl. And while the 49ers are certainly a model of sustained success, Lurie’s run with the Eagles has turned them from mediocre to the cream of the NFL crop.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire