Ray Rhodes’ era as Eagles head coach began with a bang and then fizzled, but three fan favorites were added during his final run in 1998.
If any era of Philadelphia Eagles football could ever be classified as a rollercoaster ride, it would have to be the four seasons that began with Ray Rhodes taking the torch from Rick Kotite. Maybe you can throw Doug Pederson in this category, but it’s hard to remember another head coach that enjoyed so much immediate success and fizzled just as quickly as he rose to prominence.
Rhodes wouldn’t win a Super Bowl like Doug did, but in his first two campaigns at the helm, Philly notched a 20-12 record and earned consecutive trips to the postseason. Rhodes was riding high. In his first playoff game as an NFL head coach, he led the Birds to a 58-37 victory over the Detroit Lions. The 58 points scored on that day is still a franchise postseason record.
Following the 1995 season, he was named the NFL’s Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, and Pro Football Weekly. The momentum unfortunately wouldn’t last.
Despite a solid sophomore campaign, everything came crashing down swiftly. Rhodes led the Eagles to a 9-22-1 record during years three and four and would be fired following the 1998 season, one that ended with a disappointing 3-13 win-loss total.
Despite its ending, Ray Rhodes’ era can be credited with the selection of some of the greatest players of the team’s modern era during the drafts they were discovered in. They all enjoyed their most successful seasons under Andy Reid. Duce Staley, Brian Dawkins, and Bobby Taylor come to mind, but ahead of what would be Rhodes’ final season, a trio of young Birds would be added.
They went on to pan out nicely. Along the way, they became fan favorites. Here’s a tip of the cap to them as we move toward another selection meeting at the end of April.