How many Eagles are in the Hall of Fame?

Vince Young threw three picks and still found a way to lead the Eagles to an unlikely 17-10 win over the New York Giants on Sunday night.

He routinely approached Riley Cooper as if to show everyone their best impersonations of Norm Van Brocklin and Tommy McDonald.

And when Jason Babin forced Eli Manning to lift the ball, he might as well have been Reggie White in the eyes of Philly faithful.

While the current Eagles are doing their best this season, no one like Van Brocklin, McDonald and White will induct them into the Hall of Fame.

Come to think of it, the Eagles don’t have many players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, the Eagles have inducted 18 players.

The caveat is that, unlike baseball, the Pro Football Hall of Fame does not assign a player to a specific team when elected to the hall.

The website features players like Mike Ditka (1967-1968), James Lofton (1993), Art Monk (1995), and Richard Dent (1997) as the Eagles.

It’s safe to say no one actually buys it.

So why didn’t the Eagles get love from the Hall of Famer?

Well, for one thing, the franchise has historically been bad. Players who don’t win Super Bowls don’t get as much attention. Do you think Joe Namath will be inducted into the Hall of Fame if he doesn’t win Super Bowl III?

The other factor is that the games just haven’t been that good over the years. Sure, there have been a handful of really good games. But great players?

They’re certainly hard to come by, but I’m willing to make five players who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

It’s a tough sell, but I’m trying to make the case for each of these players to get a spot in Canton.

Harold Karmichael

Let’s start with the hardest sell and work our way down.

Harold Carmichael holds franchise records in receiving (589), touchdowns (79), and receiving yards (8,978). The list includes Hall of Famers Tommy McDonald and Pete Pihos.

He was a constant during a time when the franchise was constantly trying to rebuild. He went through several quarterback rotations but still found a way to get into the top 10 after receiving eight touchdowns.

Carmichael was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and led the league in receptions and receiving yards in 1973.

In 1980, he led Eagles receivers in receptions (48), yards (859), and touchdowns (nine) as the Eagles made their first Super Bowl appearance.

The 6’8-inch receiver was a prime target in the redzone but was also a strong runner in the open field.

He ranks 21st in career touchdown receptions.

Wilbert Montgomery

Wilbert Montgomery is best known for his 42-yard touchdown streak against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship.

The run gave Philadelphia a 7-0 lead en route to a 20-7 win.

Montgomery was the most important player on the offensive side of the ball in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

He is the all-time leading rusher in Eagles history with 6,538 yards and led the NFL in 1979 with 2,006 yards in all-purpose yards.

Randall Cunningham

Randall Cunningham never led the NFL in a major passing category, and yet he changed the way quarterbacks played the game.

Sure, Fran Tarkenton was elusive, John Elway could tune and walk and Steve Young was dangerous in the open field.

There was no one who could move like Cunningham and performed the impossible routine on a weekly basis. He had the ability to dodge defenders, which would keep him from buckling the defender’s knees in the open field.

His playmaking ability prompted the team to use a spy to keep Cunningham at bay. Things didn’t go well as he eventually became the leading rusher among NFL quarterbacks with 4,928 yards.

The record has since fallen to Michael Vick this season.

But if Cunningham hadn’t dominated the NFL in the late ’80s, would teams be looking for athletic quarterbacks like Vick to lead their teams?

Sometimes stats have to take a backseat and the evaluation has to rely solely on the player’s skill on how future generations would play the game.

Al Wistert

Al Wistert was an eight-time All-Pro selection in nine seasons with the Eagles. He played on both sides of the ball and was captain from 1946 to 1950. The data is significant as the Eagles won back-to-back titles in 1948 and 1949.

In 1948, the Eagles won their first championship with a 7-0 win over the Chicago Cardinals. Wistert and the birds followed this championship in 1949 with another. This time they shut out the Los Angeles Rams 14-0.

No other team in NFL history has ever recorded back-to-back shutouts in championship games.

There are no stats that boost his status other than his All Pro pick. But shouldn’t we appreciate them? He was recognized as one of the best players in the league by those who covered the NFL during his tenure.

Why can’t we believe in their credibility and bring this guy in Canton?

Brian Mitchell

This might not be a hard sell to convince you he’s a Hall of Famer. The problem here is that many do not consider him an eagle in any way.

Now let’s get that out of the way.

Brian Mitchell is a redskin. However, he had three great years in Philadelphia. During his limited time in Philly, he returned four kicks for touchdowns, which is a decent total when he had nine in Washington.

With the last Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers in 2002, he set the record for kick and punt returns for touchdowns as an Eagle.

I mention the date because it marked the 13th year of Mitchell’s prolific career, and it also says something about how Mitchell is addressing his return obligations.

He didn’t rely on speed or lack of people. He was a returner who went straight and either hit the hole or ran through defenders. No one will mistake him for Devin Hester, but he could well double as a full-back given his sheer size and strength.

Mitchell has 13 nonoffensive touchdowns, which ranks fourth in NFL history, and his 23,316 all-purpose yards are second in NFL history. He also led the NFL in all-purpose yards three times, dwarfed only by Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who accomplished the feat five times.

Someday he’ll come in.