RC: That was one of the misquotes of my career. A person asked me, "How do you feel about the game?" I said, "I feel like this. There are four people I look at, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Walter Payton. I want to be like those guys. They work hard, they've got the faith to carry a team, they've got the courage, the strength." I said, "I want to be like Michael Jordan." I didn't put myself in a class with Michael Jordan, because Michael's a basketball player and I'm a football player. It got misconstrued, and people said, "Randall Cunningham thinks he's Michael Jordan." Two years later, though, people are saying, "You're the Michael Jordan of the NFL." I don't say anything. I say thank you. It goes in one ear and out the other.
SI: What was all that stuff about you being like Michael Jackson?
RC: My senior year of college I decide I'm going to get a curl in my hair, because that was when Michael Jackson was changing his look, and I was a Michael Jackson fan. I went and bought a leather coat that was similar to the black one he wore in [the video] Beat It, I think it was. It was a short, black leather coat. It was a way to look back then; there's things you go through in life.
SI: And then you showed up at your first Eagle training camp with that T-shirt.
RC: Yeah. The shirt said: IF YOU WANT TO TALK, CALL MY AGENT. I didn't realize all the controversy that it would cause. It was a way for Jim Steiner, my agent, to get his company out there. Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, the Refrigerator, all of us [who were represented by Steiner] had the shirt. I just wore it because it was a T-shirt that was given to me. Some people took that as being cocky. People judge you quickly on your appearance, [and] I was a young quarterback coming out of UNLV and I said, "Give me three years as a solid starting quarterback and I believe I could take the team to the Super Bowl." Everyone said, "Oh boy!" First I've got a Jheri-curl, I'm Michael Jackson. Then it's, "Want to talk? Call my agent." Now this guy's talking about the Super Bowl. He's lost it, is what people thought. I was just going by my previous record. Almost every third year in my [football] career, I've taken a team to a championship.
SI: Is Philadelphia different, as far as sports go?
RC: People in Philadelphia really love football, first of all. Sports are very, very important to them. And I think the gambling that goes on in Philadelphia is...there are a lot of people that bet on pools and things like this.
In college there weren't people betting on pools. People [in Philadelphia] are really into...maybe it's illegal gambling. I might play blackjack or craps every once in a while, but sports gambling—you don't know who's going to win, so why would you want to put your money on it? That's the way I look at it. I wouldn't put my money on sports gambling at all.
In Philadelphia, they really get into it, and when a team loses they take it all out of proportion. The writers are negative [and] the talk-show hosts sometimes come off negative.
SI: Did it hurt last season when the idea went around that you got [head coach] Buddy Ryan fired?