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McNabb, Jurgensen, Eagles and Redskins

Sonny Jurgensen against the Eagles in the 1969 preseason. (By Bill Ingraham - AP)

Almost immediately after Donovan McNabb was traded from Philadelphia to Washington, veteran D.C. sportswriter Rick Snider began comparing it to the Sonny Jurgensen trade, from Philly, to D.C., on almost exactly this day in 1964. It was another veteran Eagles celebrity QB who had been booed in Philly, and was now being traded to Washington with potentially years of productivity still in his future, causing an instant media storm. Here's Snider:

Those who fail to know history are destined to repeat it. The Philadelphia Eagles once traded quarterback Sonny Jurgensen to the Washington Redskins. Sonny went on to reach the Hall of Fame. The Eagles didn't go anywhere with their half of the deal.

Time to go to the archives. Like, way back. April 1, 1964:

Washington Post, A1

The Redskins yesterday traded quarterback Norman Snead for quarterback Sonny Jurgensen of the Philadelphia Eagles and exchanged defensive backs, giving up Claude Crabb for Jimmy Carr. In both instances, Washington swapped youngsters for more experienced pros. Bill McPeak, coach-general manager, said it is imperative for the Redskins to win in 1964.

Jurgensen, controversial $30,000 a year man, will be 30 in August as he starts his eighth pro season. Snead, 24, who was paid about $21,000 by the Redskins, has been here three seasons.

Shirley Povich, This Morning

In the second inning of the Senators-Orioles exhibition game today a home run soared over the leftfield fence. In the box seats, Leo DeOrsey asked, 'Who was the hitter?' The hero of the moment was identified as John Orsino, husky Baltimore catcher, and then DeOrsey asked another question. It was the perfect non-sequitor.

'How do you like Sonny Jurgensen?' he asked. If this was not sheer incoherency it had the sound of such because Jurgensen never hit a home run in his life, plays an unrelated game and is the ace quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The temptation was to inquire of DeOrsey something nifty like 'are you nuts, or something?' But suddenly there was the reminder that he was the acting president of the Washington Redskins and apt to talk football out of season. His companion contended himself with saying, 'What is this with Jurgensen?'

'Well," DeOrsey said, 'at 4 o'clock this afternoon we're announcing in Washington that we've traded Norm Snead to the Eagles for Jurgensen. Also Claude Crabb goes to the Eagles and we're getting Jimmy Carr, a defensive halfback, too. This is the big deal we were working on.'

News Story, C1

Snead and Crabb were the targets of boos here last year as was Jurgensen in Philadelphia. The Eagles finished last in the Eastern Division of the National Football League with a 2-10-2 record and the Redskins finished sixth, 3-11. McPeak defended the deal for 3-year veteran Snead by saying that 7-year veteran Jurgensen is much more advanced and can win quicker for the Redskins....

McPeak recalled that he always had spoken of Jurgensen as one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL, naming Y.A. Tittle of the New York Giants and Johnny Unitats of the Baltimore Colts as the others.

Jurgensen is the fastest at unloading the ball and has the strongest arm in the NFL, McPeak said. He pointed out that Jurgensen can take a rush well and usually eludes the first rusher....

The Redskins are going for broke next season, McPeak said in explaining why he is trading off youngsters like two-year veteran Crabb for seven-year veteran Carr. McPeak said he is convinced you can't win without experienced players.

Fan Reaction, C1

The news that the Redskins had traded quarterback Norman Snead to Philadelphia for Sonny Jurgensen shot around town like an electrical current.

It woke people up. It was one of the most exciting things that has happened since the Old Nats moved to Minneapolis. It gave the sports gentry something to talk about.

Almost everywhere, there was praise of Coach Bill McPeak for having the courage to trade off 'his boy.'...Nowhere was there an unkind word about Snead, the man. "Finest boy that ever pulled a pair of Redskin pads over his shoulders."

But Snead the player; yes, quite honestly, they were glad to see him go to the Eagles. Wished him well, but...."

Shirley Povich, This Morning

The age factor, 29 for Jurgensen and 25 for Snead, was no concern of the Redskins, DeOrsey said. 'McPeak said he wanted the old pro quarterback for our kind of club. After all, Y.A. Tittle is 36. Also, Jurgensen will take some of the heat off our coaches. Unlike Snead, Jurgensen will call his own plays, McPeak knows.'

Dealings with Jurgensen could be a bit chancey, DeOrsey was reminded. In training camp last year he suddenly walked out on the Eagles in his demand for more salary, and won it. 'We're not stupid,' DeOrsey said. 'Chuck Cherundolo, our assistant coach, has talked to Jurgensen and is satisfied with his attitude. Besides, it is stipulated that there is no deal if all the players involved do not sign and report to their new clubs.'

Neither is Jurgensen's reputation for living it up a concern of DeOrsey's, he said. 'Sure, he likes to frolick a bit, I hear, but some of our better football players do, you know. One of my early heroes on the Redskins was Wee Willie Wilkin, the best tackle in the league. Remember, Willi was no angel.'

Of course, by the next day, the reporters were quoting Jurgensen himself. Doesn't get much better than this.

Asked about being booed in Philadelphia, Jurgensen said he is very used to that, even after throwing five touchdowns in one game. He said he is going to eliminate the booing in Washington and make the fans watch something other than the band.

When he said that maybe the Redskins will have a little color now, he was asked if he would provide it in view of his playboy reputation.

"No,' he said, chuckling. "I'm coming to Washington to win games only."

And Jurgensen's thoughts on Philly trading McNabb to D.C.?

"These people never learn," he said, via @RedskinsBlog.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 4, 2010; 11:41 PM ET
Categories:  Media , NFL , Redskins  
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Next: Andray Blatche's triple double heartbreak


who is Norman Snead

Posted by: gpoi | April 5, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully that's the guy the Eagles will pick with the 37th overall pick in the draft.

Posted by: dmorgan6617 | April 5, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

When I heard about the McNabb trade, I first thought of this similiar trade. I'd take Jurgensen over McNabb any day but it's definitely going to be interesting to watch. I pray we get Okung in the draft. Having traded 2nd round pick makes it all the more likely Redskins will trade #4 spot for additional picks. Hope Bruce Allen knows what he is doing.

Posted by: RedCherokee | April 5, 2010 3:05 AM | Report abuse

I LOVE that photo!!! Did they not ever touch the ground when playing FB in '69?

Posted by: charley42 | April 5, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Sonny never won a Super Bowl. Mcnabb has never won a Super Bowl. See the pattern. I can't remember if he ever won a playoff game. Mcnabb may have another year or two
Redskins got 10 years out of Sonny.

The Redskins aren't any closer to making the playoffs then they were with Campbell.
Mcnabb is not the final piece to puzzle to get to the Super Bowl. He maybe worth 2 victories and Redskins may go 6-10.

Only thing worse than a rookie QB with an awful OL line is an old injury prone QB with anawful line.

Typical Danny Boy Snyder move all show and no go. Which coaching and ownership group has a better record of making football moves that work? It sure ain't the Redskins. Maybe Reid and compnay know something Danny Boy doesn't. Actually there is a 100% chance that Reid and the Eagle's owners know something that Snyder doesn't.

Mcnabb may play one season here and go and Mikey are coach will be gone in two years.
No Elway no playoffs!

Posted by: sheepherder | April 5, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Who's Snead? Dude, if you're gonna call yourself a fan, you gotta learn your history.

I've always been a McNabb fan, even when 'Cuse was torching the Hokies, and even while despising the Eagles. But unless we get those draft picks back for Campbell, this is a bizarre move. Though, admittedly, it should make the losses more fun to watch than they would've been with JC.

Posted by: RIP-21 | April 5, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

And for those old enough (and lucky enough) to remember, Jurgensen torched Philadelphia for years after. Norm Snead was a good QB, and later went on to play for the Giants, but no way could he compare with Sonny. One of the most favorable (if not the most favorable) Redskin trades in history.

I just can't get excited about McNabb. He's been the enemy for much too long.

Posted by: MJR720 | April 5, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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