1960 NFL Championship Game
Eagles hold off future dynasty of Lombardi, Packers
In what turned out to be the final game for a future Pro Football Hall of Famer, the 1960 NFL Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles catapulted the National Football League into the 1960s. Professional football at the time was slowly becoming America's favorite sport, finally stepping out of the long shadows of baseball and college football. Evidence of this was seen by the crowd of 67,325 spectators, resulting in the highest gate receipt for a championship game in NFL history and the highest player shares up to that time.
Van Brocklin's antics were just what the doctor ordered as Philadelphia's upbeat attitude before the game may have helped the team when facing adversity. It certainly helped early on as the Eagles turned the ball over two times in the first quarter. The Packers, though, could only take advantage of one of those turnovers with a field goal by Paul Hornung.
Hornung kicked his second field goal of the day in the second quarter to give the Packers a 6-0 advantage. At that point, after fluttering on offense for the entire first quarter and half of the second quarter, the Eagles found their stride. In quick-strike fashion, Van Brocklin found Tommy McDonald on successive plays of 22 and 35 yards to score a touchdown. On their next series, Philadelphia marched 66 yards to the Packers' eight-yard line, settling for a field goal and a 10-6 halftime lead.
Both teams demonstrated bend-but-don't-break defenses in the third quarter, allowing one another to gain plenty of yards without putting any points on the board. The scoring drought ended early in the fourth as Packers quarterback Bart Starr guided his team on the ground and in the air over an 80-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Max McGee.
But the Packers quickly had the air let out of them as Ted Dean returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Packers 39-yard line. Dean parlayed the great return into a five-yard touchdown run, giving the Eagles a 17-13 lead.
Philadelphia's defense, which gave up 401 total yards on the day, settled down and rode out the victory. "60-Minute Iron-Man" Chuck Bednarik made the game-saving tackle as he pulled down Packers fullback Jim Taylor deep in Eagles' territory with only eight seconds to play.
"Old Van completed them when Eagles needed them," commented Lombardi on Van Brocklin's performance. Van Brocklin retired after the game and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Two of his teammates -- Bednarik and McDonald -- also found their place in the Hall.