November 19th is the 30th anniversary of “The Miracle at the Meadowlands,” when Herm Edwards picked up a last-second fumble and ran it back for a game-winning touchdown against the New York Giants.
The play’s uniqueness—a last-second hand-off when the opponent can’t stop the clock? A fumble? A return TD?—has stirred imaginations for decades, not just locally, but nationally.
So what better time for a good, yet slightly sad, question: how many such nationally iconic moments have involved Philadelphia sports teams, players, and coaches? Unfortunately, fewer than you’d think.
Here are the 15 images and events that already have stood the test of time, or certainly figure to do so. The goal is nationally iconic; not those legendary local moments that are burned into the brains of the Philly faithful.
Mike Schmidt’s home run in Montreal in 1980, for example, was a classic—but a lack of national TV exposure doesn’t make it iconic. And Wilbert Montgomery’s 42-yard touchdown run against Dallas in the NFC Championship game was nationally covered but simply hasn’t endured.
Not all of the moments were kind to Philly. Joe Carter and The Fog Bowl don’t take Philly fans to their happy places. But it’s hard to argue that Carter and the playoff loss to Chicago aren’t iconic.
And so, here’s the list, with YouTube links where possible. Have your own thoughts—or is something missing? Let me know.
1. Wilt’s “100” sign
2. Bednarik standing over Gifford
3. Schmidt’s leap onto McGraw
4. Carter’s homer off Mitch’s pitch
5. Lidge celebrating on his knees
6. John Cappelletti’s Heisman speech
7. Doc defying gravity against the Lakers
8. Dwayne McClain’s raised arm
9. The Miracle of the Meadowlands
10. Bobby Clarke’s toothless grin
11. Bunning’s Father’s Day no-hitter
12. Chocolate Thunder flyin’, Robinzine cryin’
13. Iverson and “practice”
15. The Fog Bowl