How Ron Jaworski Helped Change the Way We Watch Football
Philadelphia Magazine‘s Richard Rys spent time with Ron Jaworski and profiled the former Eagle great.
Below are a few excerpts from the article.
Dressed down in jeans, a purple fleece and loafers with no socks, the 64-year-old leans back in his chair, watching coaching film of every offensive play of the Eagles’ win over the New Orleans Saints two days earlier. “I could complete passes against them,” he says, knocking the Saints’ defense while explaining how Sam Bradford beat a cover-three scheme on one particular play. “I love this shit.”
Jaworski admits it took some convincing for him to come to Philadelphia in 1977. After growing up outside of Buffalo in a blue-collar family and working at the Ryerson Steel mill as a teen, he wasn’t soft. But he’d played against the Eagles once as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, in a Monday-night game at the Vet that ended in a 42-3 humiliation for the home team. Jaworski recalls dodging golf balls thrown from the stands and wearing his helmet on the sidelines for protection. When coach Dick Vermeil recruited him to be the cornerstone of his new offense in Philly, the team hadn’t had a winning season in 11 years. Jaworski thought: Do I really want to go to that town?
JAWORSKI CALLS HIMSELF the “Johnny Appleseed of football,” and while he laughs when he says it, he’s really not kidding. In 2012, at La Famiglia in Old City with one of his Soul partners, Martin E. Judge, the quarterback had a brainstorm fueled by rich pasta and a couple beers — Let’s bring football to China! About four months later, there’s Jaws at the negotiating table of a grand conference room in Tiananmen Square, shaking hands with the Chinese secretary general. The China American Football League is scheduled to launch its inaugural season there next fall, with plans in the works for arena games in Mexico. “It was surreal,” says Jaworski, who expects to add a few trips to China to his already packed schedule. Proselytizing for the game and carrying the good word across the globe to the People’s Republic was, he says, “one of the great moments of my life.”
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