Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.
Part of the allure of growing up a Philadelphia sports fan is hearing the tales about the guys your dad was mesmerized by back in the day. Wilbert Montgomery was my dad's favorite Eagle, and for good reason. In perhaps the biggest Eagles win ever outside of the 1960 season, Wilbert ran for 194 yards while helping the Birds beat the hated Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship in 1980. And he did it on the home turf at Veterans Stadium in front of rabid fans that would remember it forever -- my dad included. "It was colder than hell, I had an army rain coat that went down to my shins. We got cardboard and put it under our feet to keep the cold away. We were standing behind the 300 level. When Montgomery ran up the middle for a touchdown, it was just unbelievable, the Vet went wild. We forgot about the cold real quick," my dad remembers with a smile.
Montgomery played eight seasons in Philadelphia and was an All-Pro twice. Wilbert was a quiet guy who put his team first. He still holds the team career rushing record with 6,538 yards and the single season rushing record with 1,512 yards in 1979. "When Wilbert is healthy, he is the finest player in the game," quarterback Ron Jaworski said of Montgomery. "Some backs might run better, some might catch a little better, but no one does everything as well as he does." Wilbert was traded on the downside of his career after the 1984 season for Garry Cobb and later won a Super Bowl as a part of Dick Vermeil's Rams coaching staff in 2000.
Drafted 11th overall in the first round of the 2003 entry draft, ahead of teammate Mike Richards (24th), Jeff Carter is a guy who feels like he's been wearing orange and black forever. In reality, he's in his sixth season with the Flyers and is a scoring threat every time he's on the ice. He came into the league with tremendous pedigree, including All-Star-caliber play in the OHL and tremendous showings representing Canada in World Junior competition. Carter is currently in his fourth straight season with 29 or more goals, including 46 in 08-09. A seemingly unassuming guy, his game can get big in a hurry, whether it's with a huge hit or, more often, a goal. Carts has one of the best wrist shots in the game and showed heart while battling through injury on the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 00-10, scoring 5 goals in 12 playoff games. Carter and Richards led the Philadelphia Phantoms to a Calder Cup in 2005, and their fates continue to be linked, with each signed to the Flyers for the rest of the decade.
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