August 03, 2022 3 min read
Longtime football coach Dick Vermeil will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug 6 in Canton, Ohio… and he will cry. It’s one of the many endearing traits of a coach who is revered in the game and beloved in the city of Philadelphia. Despite having won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams, Vermeil enters the Hall as a Philadelphia Eagle. Vermeil told John Clark of NBC10, “Philadelphia is my home team. It’s where I live and deeply identify with the community.”
Former Eagles Linebacker Kevin Reilly played under Coach Vermeil and also helped run Vermeil’s golf tournament supporting the Boy Scouts of America for several years, one of Vermeil’s many charitable efforts. Reilly shared this with us about his dear friend, “There are three people that I know that have reached stardom and have never forgotten where they came from; Howie Long, Jay Wright and Dick Vermeil. Coach gives of his time, never turns someone down when they ask for an autograph or needs help with something. He’s one of those incredible people in NFL coaching standards, who never forget where he came from.”
In 1999, Vermeil entered the world of wine making. He continues to nurture his passion for vino and has built a brand that has not just survived, but thrived for over 20 years now. Vermeil often talks about “family” when he talks about the Eagles. He approaches his wine business in the same way.
Vermeil’s call to the Hall is well deserved. He can turn a football program around faster than he can turn grapes into wine. In all three NFL head coaching jobs with the Eagles, Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, Vermeil turned the program around within three years. Over 15 years as a head coach, he amassed a career record of 126-114, 3 division titles, 2 trips to the Super Bowl and 1 Super Bowl victory. He's one of only seven coaches to lead two NFL franchises to the Super Bowl.
Prior to becoming an NFL coach, Vermeil honed his skills on the college football sidelines. He was UCLA's head football coach for the 1974 and 1975 seasons. "He compiled a record of 15-5-3 while in charge of the Bruin program, including a victory in the 1976 Rose Bowl Game over top-ranked and unbeaten Ohio State. Vermeil was named the 1975 Pac-8 Coach of the Year." When he hasn’t been on the sidelines, he’s contributed from above the field, in the broadcast booth. Vermeil spent 14 seasons as an analyst for both CBS and ABC.
Philly fans are notoriously tough on athletes and coaches. They expect an all-out effort, honesty and loyalty. If you reward them with sustained dedication and toughness, they will reward you. Vermeil understood this, as he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “They liked my work ethic approach. At that time [while coaching the Eagles], we were pretty structured, pretty disciplined, pretty demanding. I also had a Monday night radio show that I was able to talk to people directly. I think they identified with me, and that I was honest and direct and if I couldn’t answer the question, then I couldn’t answer.”
The journey to Canton wasn't a straight line, but conventional measures don't always get you where you need to go, if you're trying to get to the top. So, while Philadelphia wraps its arms around their all-time favorite football coach on Aug. 6, Vermeil won’t likely be the only one shedding a tear. Expect his speech to be moving and gracious and kind and from the heart. It’s who he is and it’s why he’s “as much a part of the fabric of Philadelphia as the cheesesteak and Rocky Balboa.”
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