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#1 - Tony Franklin
« on: March 11, 2009, 07:04:42 PM »

Tony Franklin

Barefoot kicker Tony Franklin, who played for the Eagles from 1979 thru 1983, was drafted by the Birds in the 3rd round of the ’79 draft out of Texas A&M after an impressive college career in which he once kicked two field goals of over 60 yards in the same game.

The kicking game had been a disaster in ’78, and had cost the Eagles dearly in the playoff loss at Atlanta. Tony turned things around quite impressively during his rookie season, booming a 46-yard field goal in his first regular season game (a 23-17 win over the Giants) and four three-pointers in a 26-14 victory at New Orleans in his third contest. His dazzling 59-yard field goal at Dallas on Monday Night Football set a still-standing team record. Altogether, Franklin connected on 23 of 31 field goal attempts, and received 2nd team All-NFC honors from UPI. However, his worst moment as an Eagle came on a kickoff in the postseason of his rookie year, when he went against head coach Dick Vermeil’s orders to kick deep late in the loss at Tampa Bay and instead attempted an onside kick that failed, bringing the coach’s wrath upon him – a problem he would encounter often during his career with the Eagles.

In spite of the outstanding rookie season, Vermeil openly questioned Tony’s “disco cool” lifestyle and maturity. Franklin went through difficulties in his second season, barely connecting on half of his field goal attempts (16 of 31), including three misses from distances of 49, 36, and 56 yards in a 22-21 loss at San Diego. He also suffered a block in the Super Bowl loss to Oakland. As a result, he faced competition entering training camp in 1981 from Alan Duncan, the “Preaching Placekicker” from Tennessee, who was drafted in the 7th round.

However, when the ’81 season commenced, it was Tony Franklin placekicking for the Eagles, and he rebounded by connecting on 20 of 31 field goal attempts, which included a number of clutch kicks in close games, most notably a 43-yarder vs. Atlanta that resulted in a 16-13 win (his other two field goals in that game were from 36 and 34 yards). The Eagles as a team faltered in the second half of the season and lost a first-round playoff game, but Franklin’s kicking was hardly to blame.

Tony played for the Eagles through the 1983 season, after which he was traded to New England for a 6th round draft pick. He had a Pro Bowl season for the Patriots in 1986, and finished his career with Miami in 1988.

Overall in regular season play, Franklin kicked a total of 80 field goals out of 128 attempts (62.5 %) and 172 extra points for the Birds. Broken down by distance, he was a perfect 6-6 from 1 to19 yards, 18-21 from 20 to 29 yards, 28-39 from 30 to 39 yards, 22-44 from 40 to 49 yards, and 6-18 from 50 yards or more. He scored 412 points, with his season high being 105 in 1979.

Aside from the botched kickoff and blocked field goal attempt, there were many better moments for Tony in the playoffs - he ranks second in the following postseason career categories: points scored (36, shared with Harold Carmichael and Wilbert Montgomery), field goals (7), and PATs (15).

While he had the occasional dry spells, he was generally dependable with good range. Some fans just never quite could figure out how he could kick barefoot – it always looked painful, but it sure worked for him.

Tony Franklin’s career kicking record with the Eagles:

 6-  9
FG %

« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 02:49:24 PM by Fan_Since_64 »


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Re: #1 - Tony Franklin
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2009, 11:04:01 PM »

Great write up Fan!  :yay

My personal Franklin story is that my sister and I met him (my dad worked on his feet, he's a podiatrist) when he was still playing.

He promised us he'd kick his next FG for us, we were SO excited..well, I was anyway, my sister was too young to get it.

So the next game we he missed his next 3 FGs in a row.  :-D

Talk about feeling like a jinx!
"Oh, yeah. They'll still boo. They have to. They're born to boo. Just now, they'll only boo with two Os instead of like four." - Larry Andersen


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Re: #1 - Tony Franklin
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2009, 09:58:12 PM »

Since I did this for #6, might as well do it for the other numbers, too. Here are the other Eagles who wore #1:

Happy Feller (PK, 1971 - worse than bad)
Nick Mike-Mayer (PK, 1977-78)
Gary Anderson (PK, 1995-96 - the runner-up)


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Re: #1 - Tony Franklin
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 02:44:11 PM »

I wasn't aware that kickers at that time could take it upon themselves and make their own calls (as in the on-side kick). Interesting. I think the last barefoot kicker, and the only one during my era of football was the guy from the rams.
I said watch the game and you will see my spirit manifest.-ILLEAGLE 02/04/05

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