Why Norman Braman is the ultimate Eagles Villain


All week at NBC Sports Philadelphia, we're debating the biggest villains in Philly sports history. Today we begin with Eagles. Here's Reuben Frank's argument on why Norman Braman is the biggest villain in the history of the Birds. You can vote here

Reggie White. Clyde Simmons. Eric Allen. Seth Joyner.

Is this a list of guys on the all-time Eagles team or a list of guys who bolted from Philadelphia solely because of Norman Braman?

It’s both.

White may be the greatest defensive player ever. Simmons was a two-time all-pro. Allen was a six-time Pro Bowler and should be a Hall of Famer. Joyner was the best outside linebacker of his generation. 

Keith Jackson was a record-setting all-pro tight end. Keith Byars was the top pass-catching back of his era. Wes Hopkins and Andre Waters were ferocious book-end safeties

In the span of three years, Braman let every one of them go.


Braman is the ultimate Philadelphia villain because he gleefully, knowingly, willingly and systematically oversaw the dismantling of one of the most popular teams in Philadelphia sports history.

We’re not going to know the results right away,” Braman told the Inquirer in March of 1993 when asked about letting all the team’s free agents leave without as much as a legit counter offer. 

“This is going to take time. I’d like people to be patient enough to wait to see the results on the field before automatically condemning us.

Can we condemn you now, Norman?

You think Chip Kelly was bad for cutting ties with LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Nick Foles? 

Multiple that by about 10.

Fortunately, Jeff Lurie came along and rescued the franchise. But the damage had been done. 

Braman was cheap, yeah. But that was only part of it. Heck, just days after losing Reggie the Eagles signed defensive end Tim Harris to a three-year, $4.7 million deal. Typical mis-judgment by Braman and his cronies thinking the former 49er could replace Reggie White. Harris lasted four games.

So it wasn’t really the money as much as Braman wanting to purge the roster of every player that had been loyal to Buddy. Which was pretty much all of the team’s good players.

“I wish I had the opportunity to retire there,” White told the Inquirer before signing with the Packers. “But it’s not going to happen. It hurts. I never really ruled out the Eagles, but they ruled me out. If anyone is running me out of town, they are.”

Today: Eagles Villains 
Barrett Brooks on Michael Irvin  
Derrick Gunn on Jadeveon Clowney 
Dave Zangaro on Chip Kelly 
The Eagles Villains honorable mentions 
• Vote here

Braman was the ultimate outsider. He bought the team as an investment, not out of any passion for football or the city of Philadelphia.

Heck, he didn’t even live here. He was a Miami auto dealership magnate who had as much in common with the average Eagles fan as a Martian.

“Buddy cared about winning,” Joyner said in his famous 1992 interview with the New York Times. “Braman cared about making money.”

Braman charged players for their socks. He never tried to upgrade the team’s decrepit Veterans Stadium practice facility. He hired Rich Kotite, for crying out loud. And he let some of the greatest players in franchise history walk away without so much as a wave good-bye.

He did irreparable harm to the franchise, alienated players and fans and laughed all the way to the bank.

Norman Braman is the greatest villain in Philadelphia sports history.

Vote here! 

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