Marion Campbell has many fond moments from his years in Philadelphia.
A player with the Philadelphia Eagles for 6 seasons, Campbell was a member of the 1960 NFL championship team that defeated the Green Bay Packers, 17-13, for the title.
The defensive coordinator under Dick Vermeil from 1977-1982, Campbell was also with the Eagles when they made their only Super Bowl appearance, losing to the Raiders, 27-10, in 1980.
Campbell then succeeded Vermeil as the head coach and his memories of that are less fond, as he posted a 16-29-1 record before he was fired by owner Norman Braman with 1 game remaining in the 1985 season.
On Sunday, Campbell, now the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, got something nicer to remember as Atlanta rallied for a 27-24 victory over the Eagles.
“You know I really love this city,” said Campbell, making his first appearance in Philadelphia as a head coach since he was fired. “But I would be remiss if I didn’t say that it was in this city and we got a win this day and yes, it does mean a little more.”
Quarterback Chris Miller, a 2-year veteran, passed for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns as the the Falcons (2-7) beat the Eagles (4-5).
“It was an important win for me,” said Miller, who had the most productive outing of his pro career. “We needed to win. It was sweeter than wine for Marion because it was his old team.”
Said Campbell after Atlanta ended its 5-game losing streak: “We have come so close, so close, so close and there at the end, things looked like they were going to go like heck but our guys rose up and did what we had to do.
If the win was sweet for the Falcons, the loss was especially bitter for the struggling Eagles. In 5 of the last 6 seasons, the Eagles were .500 at the halfway point and then dropped their next contest en route to a losing record.
“I can’t remember any loss that’s harder than this since I’ve been coaching,” Philadelphia Coach Buddy Ryan said. “This is a tough loss for our program.”
Trailing, 10-7, at halftime, the Falcons scored 2 quick 3rd-quarter touchdowns to take command.
A 69-yard punt return by Lew Barnes set up a 17-yard Miller-to-Floyd Dixon touchdown, and defensive end Mike Gann picked up a fumble and ran 36 yards for a score to give the Falcons a 20-10 lead.
However, quarterback Randall Cunningham rallied the Eagles.
Cunningham lofted a 4-yard pass to Cris Carter in the end zone with 8:37 to play to bring the Eagles within 20-17. After the Falcons were forced to punt, the Eagles needed just 1 play to take the lead as Cunningham connected with Carter on a 50-yard touchdown pass play.
Cunningham, who was drafted by Campbell when he coached the Eagles, completed 20 of 43 passes for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Falcons came back just 2 plays after the Eagles regained the lead as Miller and Michael Haynes connected on a 49-yard touchdown pass play with 5:58 left.