PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Merrill Reese is celebrating his 40th year as the play-by-play broadcaster of the Eagles, a tenure that is currently the longest for any play-by-play announcer in the NFL team. Merrill has called two Super Bowls, six NFC champion games and has seen countless games and players that have played for the Eagles over the last four decades. This is Merrill’s take on some of the best players and moments he experienced in the broadcast booth.
Best coach: “Dick Vermeil. He’s the best coach I’ve ever been around. I mean Andy Reid was very successful and a very, very good coach. But Dick had charisma unlike any other coach in this city. He’s still a hero here. His picture is still up on billboards. The mention of Dick Vermeil’s name evokes joy and excitement in Philadelphians. Dick’s No. 1. Andy was great, very approachable. I loved Ray Rhodes and Buddy Ryan. I never got to know Chip Kelly. He wasn’t a people person. He didn’t communicate. I like Doug Pederson a lot. The first time I spoke with Doug is more than I spoke to Chip in the three years he was here.”
Best player: “Reggie White. I know that there are players in my time calling games that had great careers, but no one really comes close to Reggie. He dominated games. He forced teams to game plan their entire offense to stop him. What’s more was that Reggie was as great a man off the field as he was on it. He’s one of the all-time greats and in my opinion the greatest defensive that ever played the game. My only regret is that Reggie could have played his whole career with the Eagles. But I don’t think there’s any question about it, in the time I’ve been broadcasting Eagles’ games, Reggie was the best player I ever saw. Wow, what a treat it was watching him play.”
Most exciting player: “This is easy—Randall Cunningham. He was so dynamic, so unpredictable you just never knew what Randall would do next. He could beat you with his legs, with his arm, and with his feet (remembering the memorable 91-yard punt he had against the Giants). Randall had almost super hero qualities. I remember the Monday night Carl Banks bounced off his legs and Randall finding Jimmie Giles in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Randall looked like Elastic Man on that play. He was so fun to watch. Go through the 10 most excited plays in Eagles’ history and Randall will be a big part of many of them.”
1. Dec. 10, 2010 vs. Giants: DeSean Jackson’s 65-yard punt return tears the heart out of the Giants faithful on the final play in the greatest comeback in Eagles’ history.
2. Jan. 11, 1981 vs. Cowboys: Wilbert Montgomery finds an opening on the right side and goes 42 yards to propel the Eagles to the NFC championship.
3. Nov. 19, 1978 vs. Giants: The first Miracle in the Meadowlands, when Herm Edwards scoops up a fumble and goes 26 yards for a score, which keeps the Eagles playoff hopes alive.
4. Nov. 10, 1985 vs. Falcons: Ron Jaworski hits Mike Quick for a 99-yard touchdown in overtime to beat Atlanta.
5. Dec. 2, 1990 vs. Bills: Randall Cunningham somehow eludes Bruce Smith in the end zone and finds Freddie Barnett down field for a 95-yard touchdown.
6. Oct. 3, 1993 vs. Jets: Eric Allen’s 94-yard interception return for a touchdown in an Eagles’ victory in which they were trailing 21-0 in the second quarter.
7. Dec. 10, 1995 vs. Cowboys: “Ground Hog Day” they stop them again. Dallas ran the same play on a fourth-and-one gamble at its 29 in the waning minutes of an Eagles’ comeback victory.
8. Oct. 10, 1988 vs, Giants: Randall Cunningham defies logic and gravity after being hit straight on by Carl Banks on “Monday Night Football.”
9. Dec. 20, 1992 vs. Redskins: Eric Allen saves the day with a pass deflection on the final play of the game.
10. Nov. 22, 1992 vs. Giants: Vai Sikahema’s 87-yard punt return when he punched the goal posts.