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Fan_Since_64

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#12 - Randall Cunningham
« on: April 29, 2009, 08:47:21 PM »



#12
Randall Cunningham


Randall Cunningham played quarterback for the Eagles from 1985 thru 1995, and was perhaps one of the greatest – and most enigmatic – players that the Birds have ever had.

Randall was drafted in the 2nd round out of the Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1985, after excelling at both quarterback and punter in college. He saw action in his first regular season game, a 21-0 loss to the Giants, after starting QB Ron Jaworski had taken a brutal battering. Coming into the game in the 4th quarter, he completed just one of seven pass attempts and threw an interception. Cunningham was the starting quarterback the next week at home against the Rams, completing 14 of 34 passes for 211 yards with 4 INTs and 5 sacks, but also rushing 10 times for 90 yards in the 17-6 loss. He followed up with his first winning start, 19-6 at Washington, throwing his first TD pass (17 yards to RB Earnest Jackson) and rushing for another 60 yards. Cunningham was clearly a very raw talent and Jaworski eventually returned to the starting lineup. While his passing statistics were mediocre, his running ability was evident in his 29 carries for 205 yards (a 7.1-yard average), and his exciting style of play made an impact.

A new head coach, Buddy Ryan, arrived in 1986 and, during the offseason, the team traded for another veteran QB, Matt Cavanaugh. Once the regular season began, however, it was Jaworski starting with Randall being brought in on third down situations. In the second half of the season, he was back in the starting lineup. Accumulating a 1-3-1 record, he had his first 100-yard rushing game (110 yards in 14 carries) in a 13-11 loss to Detroit and threw for 298 yards with three TDs in a thrilling 33-27 overtime win at Los Angeles against the Raiders. Cunningham led all NFL quarterbacks with 540 yards rushing (8.2 average), but the team’s QBs as a whole led the league in being sacked a record 104 times (Randall was the unfortunate recipient of 72 of them).

Jaworski was gone in 1987 as Coach Ryan entrusted Randall with running the offense. He didn’t disappoint during the strike-interrupted season, as the team went 7-5 when the regular players were on the field (as opposed to the 0-3 record with replacement players), including three straight in the direct aftermath of the strike. Cunningham threw just one interception in his last 139 pass attempts and ranked 6th in the NFC in passing. He had his first 300-yard passing day (314) in a 34-31 overtime win at New England. For the year, he ranked third in the NFC in passing yards (2786), TD passes (23), and INT percentage (3.0). His 505 yards rushing (6.6 average gain) made him the first NFL quarterback to lead his team in rushing since Chicago’s Bobby Douglass in 1972.

With an increasingly strong defense and Cunningham’s development at QB, the Eagles crossed a major threshold in 1988, winning the NFC East with a 10-6 record. After a slow start, the Birds won six of their last seven games and, while Randall could be inconsistent, he also became recognized as a dangerous offensive weapon with his strong arm, tremendous mobility, and improvisational skills. His TD pass to TE Jimmie Giles in a Monday Night Football contest against the Giants, after being knocked off his feet by LB Carl Banks, added to Cunningham’s mystique and was part of a game in which he threw for a season-high 369 yards and three TDs in a 24-13 win. For the year, he passed for a then-team record 3808 yards, which ranked 2nd in the NFC, along with his 24 TD passes. He once again led the team in rushing (624) yards, which, while impressive, also underscored the lack of an effective running game. The loss to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Divisional playoff, as fog shrouded the field, did not diminish Cunningham’s stature; he was named NFL MVP by the Maxwell Club, was a 1st team All-NFC selection by Pro Football Weekly and UPI, 2nd team All-NFC by the Associated Press, and went to the Pro Bowl.

The highlight of the 1989 season came in a game at Washington in which Randall passed for a career-high 5 TDs while setting then-franchise records for pass completions (34) and passing yards (447) in a wild 42-37 win. He followed it up two weeks later with another 400-yard passing effort (401) and a team-record 62 pass attempts, although he also threw 4 interceptions and the Eagles lost, 27-13. Overall, while the Eagles returned to the postseason as a wild card team with an 11-5 record, Randall’s numbers were down and he expressed frustration with the offensive playcalling. The death of his mentor, QB Coach Doug Scovil, only added to the problems, and there were grumblings about Randall being distracted by off-field activities and not preparing adequately. Not all of the issues with the offense could be placed at Cunningham’s feet, however, for major injuries plagued the receiving corps and Coach Ryan sought to make the offense more conservative and ground-oriented. While the team increased its rushing yardage total (2208 from 1945 in ’88), it was still Randall Cunningham leading the way with 621 yards. That the team – and Randall – played poorly in a 21-7 loss to the Rams in the Wild Card playoff only added to the feeling that the Eagles had taken a step backward. In spite of it all, he was named to a second Pro Bowl.

Randall had his finest season in 1990, recording Eagles career highs with 30 TD passes, 7.45 yards per attempt, and a 91.6 passer rating. In addition to leading the NFC in touchdown passes, he ranked 3rd in passing yards (3466), completion percentage (58.3), and INT percentage (2.8 ). He also rushed for a career-high 942 yards on 118 attempts (an 8.0 average gain). Along the way he threw 4 TD passes and ran for a career-high 124 yards in a 48-20 win over New England and provided another significant highlight moment in a game at Buffalo when he barely avoided being sacked in the end zone by DE Bruce Smith and fired a long pass to WR Fred Barnett that resulted in a 95-yard TD. Randall was selected as NFL MVP by the Professional Football Writers of America and the Maxwell Club, NFL Offensive MVP by Pro Football Weekly, NFC Offensive MVP by UPI, received consensus 1st team All-NFL honors, and went to the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year (and last time with the Eagles). Still, the season ended on a sour note with a lackluster loss to Washington in the NFC Wild Card playoff, and controversy flared when Randall was briefly relieved by backup QB Jim McMahon.

The 1991 season started with a new head coach, Rich Kotite, who as offensive coordinator in ’90 had developed a rapport with Cunningham after a rocky beginning. The season didn’t last long for Randall, however – in the opening game at Green Bay he suffered a knee injury that knocked him out for the year. The expectations were great upon Cunningham’s return in ’92, especially with the addition of an added weapon, RB Herschel Walker. It certainly appeared that those great expectations would be met when the Eagles started the season with four straight wins, with Randall throwing 8 TD passes against just one interception and being named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September. However, the play diminished during a 1-3 stretch that followed, and Randall was pulled in the second half during a dismal 20-10 loss at Dallas. Benched for a game, he returned to lead the team on a 5-2 tear to finish out the season and gain a wild card berth. A come-from-behind win in the NFC Wild Card playoff exorcised some postseason ghosts, but again there was a letdown as the Eagles lost badly to Dallas in the second round. All told, Cunningham had the best completion percentage as an Eagle (60.7) and ranked 4th in the NFC in passing (87.3 rating), yards per attempt (7.23), and INT percentage (2.9) and received 2nd team All-NFL recognition from the AP.

The 1993 season ended prematurely for Randall, with a broken leg suffered against the New York Jets in the 4th game. The week before, he had passed for 360 yards and 3 TDs in a 34-31 win over the taterskins to take the team to 3-0. What had started as a promising season went for naught, and the team finished out of the postseason running. 

Cunningham started the 1994 season with 344 yards passing, including a 93-yard non-scoring pass to Walker, in the opening 28-23 loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands. The Eagles roared out to a 7-2 record, only to lose the last seven games of the season. Randall’s performance was indicative of the team’s record – at the 7-2 mark, he had completed 169 of 299 passes (56.5 %) for 2248 yards with 14 TDs and 8 INTs; in his remaining starts, he completed 96 of 191 passes (50.3 %) for 981 yards with 2 TDs and 5 interceptions. Playing poorly and taking criticism from teammates (one of whom referred to him as a “cancer on the team”), he was benched for the last two games.

With a new head coach, Ray Rhodes, and offensive coordinator, Jon Gruden, in 1995, Randall found himself benched in favor of Rodney Peete after a 1-3 start. A brooding presence on the sideline for the rest of the season, his last appearance with the Eagles came in relief of an injured Peete in a 30-11 loss to Dallas in the NFC Divisional playoff in which he completed just 11 of 26 passes.

Cunningham sat out the 1996 season but returned to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings as a backup to QB Brad Johnson. When Johnson went down with an injury early in the ’98 season, Randall put together an outstanding performance, achieving career highs with 34 TD passes and a 106.0 passer rating. The Vikings went 15-1 in the regular season, only to lose the NFC Championship game to Atlanta. Randall played one more season in Minnesota before closing out his career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2000 and Baltimore Ravens in ‘01.

For his career with the Eagles, Randall completed 1874 of 3362 passes (55.7 %) for 22,877 yards with 150 TDs and 105 interceptions. His passer rating was 78.7, he averaged 6.80 yards per attempt, and threw for over 300 yards on 13 occasions and over 400 yards three times (tied with Sonny Jurgensen for the most in Eagles history). The Birds went 63-43-1 in his regular season starts.

Cunningham gained more yards rushing than any other quarterback in NFL history (4928), with 4482 of those yards coming with the Eagles (on 677 attempts for a 6.6-yard average). He had a season high of 942 yards on 118 carries (8.0 avg.) in 1990, and scored a total of 32 rushing TDs in his Eagles career. His best single-game rushing total was 124 yards on 8 carries against New England in ‘90, which included a 52-yard TD run. Altogether, he had three 100-yard rushing games for the Birds.

Randall punted on occasion, with some spectacular results. While never the regular punter for the Eagles, he did have a total of 12 punts over his career, for 620 yards (a 51.7 avg.), including the longest punt in team history (91 yards vs. the Giants in 1989) and an 80-yarder vs. Dallas in 1994.

Cunningham ranks 2nd in team postseason history with 113 pass completions for 1390 yards, and 3rd with 214 pass attempts. He was perhaps at his best in the fog-bound divisional playoff game at Chicago in which he completed 27 of 54 passes for 407 yards (the attempts and yards remain Eagles playoff records), but his 1-4 record as a starter in the postseason highlights the fact that his playoff performances were too often disappointing. His longest postseason pass play was for 66 yards to TE Keith Jackson vs. Washington in the NFC Wild Card playoff following the ’89 season (he also had a 65-yard pass play to Jackson in the “Fog Bowl” at Chicago; neither play resulted in a TD). He rushed 28 times for 206 yards (a 7.4 average gain) with one TD, with a high of 80 yards on 7 carries in the loss to Washington.   

There were questions about Randall Cunningham’s personality and leadership skills that could fill a book, yet he was an athlete of tremendous ability who could perform amazing feats on a football field and redefined what it meant to be a mobile quarterback. For some of us, he will always hold a special place of honor in spite of his limitations. There were disappointments, to be sure, but there were also many amazing performances and never-to-be-forgotten plays to fill in the overall picture.

Randall Cunningham’s career record with the Eagles:

PASSING

Year
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
G
6
15
12
16
16
16
1
15
4
14
7
Att.
81
209
406
560
532
465
4
384
110
490
121
Comp.
34
111
223
301
290
271
1
233
76
265
69
Pct.
42.0
53.1 
54.9
53.8
54.5
58.3
25.0
60.7
69.1
54.1
57.0 
Yds.
548
1391
2786
3808
3400
3466
19
2775
850
3229
605
YPA
6.77
6.66
6.86
6.80
6.39
7.45
4.75
7.23
7.73
6.59
5.00
TD
1
8
23
24
21
30
0
19
5
16
3
INT
8
7
12
16
15
13
0
11
5
13
5

RUSHING

Year
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
G
6
15
12
16
16
16
1
15
4
14
7
Att.
29
66
76
93
104
118
0
87
18
65
21
Yds.
205
540
505
624
621
942
0
549
110
288
98
Avg.
7.1   
8.2   
6.6
6.7
6.0
8.0
0.0
6.3
6.1
4.4
4.7 
TD
0
5
3
6
4
5
0
5
1
3
0
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 08:55:29 PM »

Other Eagles who wore #12:

John Roberts (HB/DB, 1933-34)
Ed Matesic (TB/DB, 1934-35)
Art Buss (T, 1936-37)
Herschel Ramsey (E, 1938-40)
Kent Lawrence (WR, 1969)
Tom McNeill (P, 1973)
Bill Troup (QB, 1975)
Bob Holly (QB, 1984)
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QB Eagles

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2009, 08:57:35 PM »

Whoa that was a close one.
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2009, 09:04:30 PM »

 :-D Yeah, not too much danger of a tie
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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2009, 10:16:10 PM »

not even close to any competition on this one.  i've been waiting for this one to come out for a week....not because there was any doubt who it would be, i was just wanted to read 64's write up on him.  well done.  :yay

[and was perhaps one of the greatest – and most enigmatic – players that the Birds have ever had.

although i do think it's safe to remove "perhaps" from the write up.  randall is one of the greatest players that the birds have had, regardless of uniform number. 


yes, i'm nitpicking. 
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PhillyPhreak54

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2009, 11:46:47 PM »

Seeing that 1991 stat line hurts.

Great write up Six Fo.
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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 12:14:01 AM »

and technically, cunningham's last appearance for the eagles was in the playoff win against detroit in 95.  he came in for mop up duty in the 4th quarter.  i remember watching the game and when he took off running the vet went nuts.  i'm guessing that's not included though since it was playoffs and everything so far seems to be focused on regular season. 

64 - if it's not too much trouble, would you be able to include playoff stats as well for future editions?  maybe just for the skill positions. 
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PhillyPhreak54

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 12:24:43 AM »

Sarge, his last appearance was the next week in Dallas. I was at the game and they got whipped. That was the week when he left the team to go be with his wife while his kid was born.

Peete got hurt and Randall had to come in. Woodson knocked some snot bubbles outta him and in came Randall and they couldn't do shtein all afternoon.

Sad to see him struggle so much that day
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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 06:47:55 AM »

and technically, cunningham's last appearance for the eagles was in the playoff win against detroit in 95.  he came in for mop up duty in the 4th quarter.  i remember watching the game and when he took off running the vet went nuts.  i'm guessing that's not included though since it was playoffs and everything so far seems to be focused on regular season. 

I was at that game. little trivia: Anyone remember what song they used to play after a win (this song always reminds me of that game) that season? I heard it on the radio the other day.
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 08:29:48 AM »


64 - if it's not too much trouble, would you be able to include playoff stats as well for future editions?  maybe just for the skill positions. 

I do include playoff stats in the text, but will consider adding them along with the career records.

As Phreak pointed out, while you're right, Randall made an appearance in the playoff win against Detroit, the last game was the next week when he relieved Peete at Dallas. Not such a good memory.  :-\
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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 11:42:38 AM »

yeah, i did completely forget about that.  probably on purpose. 

thanks for bringing it back up.  dicks. 
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ice grillin you

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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2009, 12:17:08 PM »

i've been waiting for this one to come out for a week

you need to get out the desert homie


you aint gonna see randall in no oil panting

12 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 5
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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2009, 04:59:19 AM »

Quote
in a game at Buffalo when he barely avoided being sacked in the end zone by DE Bruce Smith and fired a long pass to WR Fred Barnett that resulted in a 95-yard TD.

I was at this game.  One of the greatest plays I've ever seen.  From where I was sitting, he just seemed to get swallowed up by a wall of red and blue.  Then all of a sudden, you just see the ball come flying out and Fred Barnett running underneath it... damn.

I've got a Randall jersey that I got signed by him on June 7, 1992 that is my favorite piece of Eagles memorabilia.

Randall = G.O.A.T.
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Re: #12 - Randall Cunningham
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2009, 11:01:42 AM »

and technically, cunningham's last appearance for the eagles was in the playoff win against detroit in 95.  he came in for mop up duty in the 4th quarter.  i remember watching the game and when he took off running the vet went nuts.  i'm guessing that's not included though since it was playoffs and everything so far seems to be focused on regular season. 

I was at that game. little trivia: Anyone remember what song they used to play after a win (this song always reminds me of that game) that season? I heard it on the radio the other day.
this is not that song, but it's an oldie:
http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2008/02/20/1988-eagles-song-buddys-watching-you/
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