BY: Tarrian Rodgers
Fly, Eagles Fly! On the road to victory! (Fight! Fight! Fight!) isn’t just an anthem for the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s more like a way of life in more ways than one. In the 27 years that Jeffrey Lurie has been an owner of the franchise all the Eagles have done is fight and win.
For Lurie, Super Bowl success is important as it is for every NFL owner. However, Jeffrey Lurie’s top priority is spreading awareness about autism and winning the Lombardi Trophy. Lurie was able to accomplish both goals after his Eagles won Super Bowl LII (52) in February 2018. This very platform gifted Lurie the opportunity to talk about autism and bring autism into the spotlight on a national scale, something done very rarely in sports. Being an advocate for autism is important for Lurie because his 37 year old brother is autistic. Due to his brother being mostly non-verbal, Lurie never truly knew how his brother felt, but always wanted to help. Today Lurie uses his success as Eagles owner to further that pursuit.
The Philadelphia Eagles are regarded among the most prominent franchises in professional sports and one of the most successful as well. Eagles are one of only eight teams with multiple Super Bowl appearances since 2004 (XXXIX and LII). The Eagles have captured nine of their 11 all-time NFC East Championships since 2001, which leads the division in that span. Overall, the Philadelphia Eagles have made the playoffs 15 times under Lurie's direction and are tied for the fourth-most postseason berths in the NFL since the turn of the century (13), which includes trips in each of the last three years. With all the winning the Eagles have done over the years the true mission and the true motivation for that success isn’t lost.
Lurie is devoted to raising critical research funds for the developmental disorder and has leveraged his resources as a professional sports owner to turn autism awareness into action.
In 2019, Lurie expanded on this commitment by launching the team's signature philanthropic initiative. “The Eagles Autism Foundation” which was set up to help drive scientific breakthroughs and establish Philadelphia as a major center for autism research and care. The foundation has centralized all of its autism efforts to create a larger impact and has raised more than $9 million for institutions focused on autism research.
Through the Eagles Autism Foundation, the organization has been viewed nationally as a progressive leader in the autism community. The Eagles became one of the first sports franchises in the country to build a state-of-the-art sensory room, presented by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and received Sensory Inclusive Certification for Lincoln Financial Field in partnership with Kulture City. The Eagles also became the first professional sports team to partner with Popcorn for the People, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating meaningful employment for those with autism and developmental disabilities.
On May 8, 2019, Lurie was presented the Commitment to Cures Award by the American Brain Foundation for his ongoing work to find cures for neurodevelopmental diseases and disorders. Jeffrey Lurie purchased the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994 for $185 Million dollars. At the time it was the most money spent on a sports franchise ever. Lurie was mocked by many for this purchase because, when Lurie purchased the team, the Eagles had a poor reputation. Lurie stood firm for his plan and successes. Two years before his purchase of the Eagles, an event took place that eventually lead Jeffrey Lurie to purchase the Eagles. In 1992, he claimed he truly was able to communicate with his brother for the first time. He realized he could do so much more than just win football games but fight for victory on all fronts. In a large way his fight and success with the Eagles was motivated by the fight of his younger brother and people who have lived with autism their entire life.