The legendary Eagle and Hall of Fame member died this morning at age 84.
McDonald was the speedy 5’9″ receiver who helped the 1960 Eagles win the NFL championship at Franklin Field. He caught three passes for 90 yards on the day, including a 35-yard touchdown thrown by fellow Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin.
McDonald led the NFL in touchdowns twice during his Eagles tenure. He’s second in Philadelphia history with 66 receiving touchdowns and 6th with 5,499 career receiving yards, which he accomplished on only 287 career receptions. That resulted in a 19.2 yards per reception number, which is higher than DeSean Jackson, Harold Carmichael, and every other qualified Eagle pass catcher.
He was said to be a bright personality, and was the subject of a screen play written by Ray Didinger a few years ago. McDonald is pictured here with the Lombardi Trophy after the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history:
Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald has passed away at the age of 84
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 24, 2018
More on McDonald’s career from the Hall of Fame website:
A six-time Pro Bowl selection (1959-1963 and 1966), McDonald played seven seasons with the Eagles (1957-1963), one with the Dallas Cowboys (1964), two with the Los Angeles Rams (1965-1966), and one each with the Atlanta Falcons (1967) and the Cleveland Browns (1968).
Although he was just 5-9 and 176 pounds, McDonald was extremely durable and missed only three games in his first 11 seasons. He had elusive speed and used his running skills brilliantly after making his catches, finishing his career with an average of 17 yards per catch and 84 touchdowns.
His career ratio of touchdowns-to-receptions is an impressive 1 in 5.9. He also caught at least one pass in 93 consecutive games. Used primarily as a kickoff and punt-return specialist during his rookie season, McDonald ranked sixth all-time in receptions (495), fourth in yards receiving (8,410) and second in touchdown catches (84) when he retired following the 1968 season.
That’s one hell of a career.
Statement from the Eagles:
“Tommy McDonald played the game with a passion and energy that was second to none,” said Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. “He will be remembered as one of the most exciting players ever to play his position, but what really separated him and made him so unique was the infectious personality and charisma that he brought to his everyday life. He had a genuine love for this team, for the Philadelphia community, for the fans, and of course his family. He was a man of character, both on and off the field, who exemplified all the qualities that we hope to represent as an organization. He was a champion, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and one of the most genuine individuals I have ever met. On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the entire McDonald family.”