COACH: BUCK SHAW
DID YOU KNOW? VAN BROCKLIN, WHO PLAYED JUST THREE SEASONS IN PHILADELPHIA, RETIRED RIGHT AFTER THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
IT WAS A DAY for the old, the bold and the wise. The Philadelphia Eagles, in the positions that count most—quarterback, linebacker and defensive back—are an elderly, intelligent team; the Green Bay Packers, in the same positions, are equally intelligent but younger. By the end of the bright December afternoon in Philadelphia, the seasoned wisdom of age had triumphed over the bold wisdom of youth, and the Eagles were the champions of the football world with a 17-13 victory over Green Bay.
One spectacular, well-devised kickoff return set up Philadelphia's game-winning touchdown. Ted Dean, a rookie, rolled 58 yards down the field on the strength of a kickoff-return play built into the Eagles' system by coach Buck Shaw in only 10 minutes a couple of days before the game. The play was devised by assistant coach Charley Gauer, who had noted that two men on the right side of the Packers' kickoff team were fast and one was slow. Setting up special blocks, the Eagles opened a long, wide chute for Dean, who held up momentarily until blocker Tim Brown could get out ahead of him.
It was a brilliant play and certainly the key that unlocked the last door for the Eagles. From the Packers' 39, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, at his competent best, fooled the Packers' defense. Eschewing his strong passing game, except for a short shovel to halfback Billy Barnes, he gained with running plays, Dean diving over from the five for the winning touchdown.
Before Dean's kickoff runback, it was the Eagles' well-devised defense that laid the groundwork for victory. "We gave them the outside," said Chuck Bednarik. "Their runners are tough, but they are not too fast. We didn't want them busting up the middle, so we closed the middle off."
This strategy worked very well. The Packers' powerful runners—Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung and Tom Moore—did break loose now and then, but the Eagles' defensive line tried stunts for much of the game, and just often enough they worked.
This became evident early. In the first quarter the Packers twice recovered fumbles around the Eagles' 20-yard line yet came up with only three points. (They later scored three more on another field goal.) Once, for the first time this year, the Packers were kept from a first down inside the Eagles' 10. It was clear then that this was a day for the Eagles.
From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, January 9, 1961