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Yesterday: A look at Eagles vs. Tampa games

The Eagles were in Tampa Monday night to meet the Buccaneers in a battle of unbeaten 2-0 teams. Philly already has played in two competitive games, and they will face a stiff challenge against Tampa’s defense as well as reinvigorated quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Do you remember any classic Eagles-Bucs matchups from the past? Philly has an overall 10-11 record against Tampa, and there have been some memorable meetings.

It has been a tight series with the Eagles scoring 397 points and the Bucs registering 392. Over the years, the Bucs have played the role of spoilers, winning their share of Eagles’ heartbreakers.

There also have been some familiar players who have worn uniforms for both teams.

In this week’s edition of my Yesterday column -reminiscing about sports and pop culture from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and sometimes beyond - I’ll take a look at the Eagles-Bucs history as well as recalling some familiar football names from the past.

And, besides baseball, what product made Joe DiMaggio famous again? Do you remember Sean Love? And who was The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?

Tampa Tidings: The series began Sept. 18, 1977, and it was Tampa’s second year in the league. Tampa still had not won their first game and would be marred in a 26-game losing streak until they beat the Saints on Dec. 11, 1977.

Legendary USC head coach John McKay was the first Bucs coach, and Floria hero Steve Spurrier was their first quarterback.

In their first meeting, the Eagles posted a 13-3 victory at the Vet. Ron Jaworski threw touchdown passes to Keith Krepfle and Tom Sullivan, but he also had two interceptions on his 14-for-24, 147-yard day.

Who was the Tampa Bay quarterback that day? It’s a great trivia question, and the answer is Randy Hedberg, who threw for just 66 yards and was sacked five times.

Is Ricky Bell a familiar name? In the early days of the Bucs, he was their prime running back. In this game, he rushed for 53 yards.

A game you may well remember was when the teams met two years later in an NFC Divisional Playoff game during the in 1979, and the Bucs recorded a 24-17 victory. Tampa jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Eagles began to respond.

Bell thrashed the Eagles’ defense for 142 yards on 38 carries, and quarterback Doug Williams threw for 132 yards with a touchdown and interception. Tampa ran 55 times on their 70 snaps in the game.

Unfortunately for them, Tampa fell back to a 2-14 record in 1983.

Playoff Postings: The two teams also met in the postseason on three different occasions.

The Bucs’ 2000 and 2001 seasons ended in playoff loss in Philadelphia. On Jan. 19, 2003, however, the Bucs recorded one of the worst losses in Eagles’ history when they defeated the Birds, 27-10, in the NFC Championship Game, the last Eagles’ game played at the Vet.

Tampa’s Ronde Barber’s 92-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter sealed that victory.

Some Forgettable Moments: In 2003, the Bucs visited Philadelphia for the regular season unveiling of Lincoln Financial Field and produced a dominant 17-0 Monday Night Football victory on opening weekend. Their next meeting, on Oct. 22, 2006, brought another unforgettable moment for the Buccaneers as kicker Matt Bryant won it, 23-21, with a team-record 62-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Going back to 1991, the Eagles were down to Brad Goebel – remember him? – their fourth-string quarterback, but they held a 13-0 lead with just under five minutes to play.

But punter Jeff Feagles dropped a punt snap, giving Tampa Bay a first-and-goal, and the Bucs’ greatest fourth-quarter comeback began. Chris Chandler tossed a touchdown pass to Robert Wilson. After an Eagles three-and-out, Chandler threw another TD to Bruce Hill with 1:09 left. Rod Harris fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Tampa Bay recovered, snapping their 0-5 start.

Bucs’ Love: Former Marian and Penn State standout Sean Love was once a member of the Bucs. The guard, who was a 10th-round pick of the Cowboys in the 1991 draft, was signed by the Bucs in ’93 after stops with the Cowboys, Giants, and Bills as a practice squad player.

Love played in three games with the Bucs in ’93 and six games the following season. He went on to play for two seasons in Carolina (11 games and one as a starter) in ’95. Love was released in ’96 and bounced around with the Bucs again along with the Jets and Eagles.

His final season was with the XFL Orlando Rage in 2001 when he started 10 games.

Going Both Ways: Over the years, 53 players have played for both the Eagles and the Bucs.

Ironically, there have been three quarterbacks who have gone both ways.

Mike Boryla played for the Eagles was with the Eagles from 1974-76 and with Tampa in 1978; John Reaves (Eagles, 1973-74, Bucs 1987), and Jeff Garcia (Eagles 2006-09, Bucs 2007-08).

Legendary Tampa tight end Jimmy Giles played for the Bucs from 1978-86 and then for the Eagles from 1987-89; running back Charlie Garner was with the Eagles from 1994-98 and with the Bucs in 2004, DeSean Jackson was with the Eagles from 2008-20 and was with the Bucs from 2017-18; and running back LeSean McCoy was with the Eagles from 209-14 and the Bucs in 2020.

Don’t Cry Uncle: On this date in 1964, the TV series, “The Man from U.N. C. L. E. debuted on NBC. It was a little before my time, but I do remember the show. Robert Vaughn played Napoleon Solo and Davin McCullum played Illya Kuryakin. It was an international agency to battle organized crime.

If you’re a trivia buff, you may remember that U.N. C. L. E. stood for United National Command for Law and Enforcement. There were plenty of gizmos and gadgets to battle THRUSH, the crime syndicate.

It was a parallel to “Get Smart,” a better remembered show and a true classic. Maxwell Smart and CONTROL battled KAOS.

I did have a Man from U.N.C.L.E. extended toy camera as a kid.

Another Classic Game: One of the truly rare games to find from back in the day is the VCR Quarterback Game from the mid-1980s. The 1986 version had the Dolphins and 49ers on the cover.

It is a game where you shuffle cards, roll dice, call plays, and then watch our favorite NFL teams run them on a VCR tape. The game claimed there no two games were never the same, and game provided “hundreds of hours of fast-paced action.” At the time, it was only NFL interactive VCR game available.

I never had this one, but it would be cool to own it, considering the VCR option. It can be found on eBay, and it is pricey.

A Good Cup or Two: Back in the 1970s, Joe DiMaggio found a niche as the spokesperson for the Mr. Coffee coffee maker, which replace the traditional percolator. My mom had a traditional Corning Ware one, and I remember heating it on the stove.

Mr. Coffee was a transcendent item, whose profits topped the $150 million mark in 1979. DiMaggio also again became a recognized household reference like he was in the 1950s.

It was simple, yet it was sophisticated for its time.

Memory Lane: Each week, I’ll look back at a former player, coach, manager or media personality from our yesterday.

Do you remember Travis Lee? The lefthanded hitting first baseman spent three years with the Phillies from 2000-02 after he was acquired from Arizona in the Curt Schilling trade. In 366 games with the Phils, Lee hit .268 with 34 homers and 174 RBIs. He spent nine years in the majors with other stops at Arizona Tampa Bay, and the New York Yankees. Lee hit .256 in 476 career games.

Feedback: Your ideas, thoughts, and comments are welcomed at tnsports@tnonline.com