On Thursday night, Dick Vermeil was elected to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022. On Friday morning, the former Eagles head coach spoke to Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro about the honor. Here is a sample interview. The full 12-minute interview can be heard Tuesday on the Eagles Insider Podcast, presented by Lincoln Financial Group.
EI: What have been the feelings over the past day or so?
DV: “When something like this happens, it’s for me, you start thinking about everyone who has contributed and you hope – I know I am – I hope that everyone has touched my work in any capacity. It takes time to appreciate the contribution they made to me. I am the product of the efforts of many people. It’s a great feeling. I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve received, but it’s rewarding to know and to be affirmed how many people have believed in my coaching style no matter how hard I’ve worked. It’s very rewarding and I’m very grateful.
“I know how much I appreciate the help of everyone around me. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.”
EI: You took over an Eagles team that had been in the doldrums for a long time. Why did it turn?
DV: “Luckily for me, there were some good football players. No draft picks (due to trades), but (Eagles Hall of Fame linebacker Bill) Bergey was there. (Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver) Harold Carmichael was there. John Bunting was there. Frank LeMaster was there. Jerry Sisemore, Guy Morriss, Randy Logan, Charlie Smith, were there.
“But they had to consolidate and improve. And even if they were good, they had to do better. You know, good players lose games too. You have to improve everyone’s performance. You have to be sure – and so do I. I can remember, I believe it very much – my best player at that time was Bill Bergey .The way he bought in as soon as he knew what we were doing, the way he came in he was a very hard worker, a hard worker on the training ground. And he was a top player, probably the highest paid player. And then John Buntings and Harold Carmichaels, all these guys jumped in and did the same thing, so anyone new came into the program he had an unbelievable culture of meeting, of being respected on that football team.
“We take (Eagles Hall of Fame quarterback Ron) Jaworski in and build him into the ability he should have been, you know, it takes time to build a quarterback, it really does. The problem today is you’re not getting enough. It’s time to coach them on the field. You don’t, especially in tight spots. I feel for these young coaches. “
EI: Do you think you can pinpoint a turning point where you knew you were on the right track in Philadelphia and knew this team was going to be a Super Bowl type of team?
DV: “It’s easy to take it. The fifth game of the season, our fourth year. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the World Championship last year, a powerful football team, and we beat them. It’s a big disappointment. That told me, that told me my players, our organization, we’re doing good things. “