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Sacco Sez: Our quarterbacks and the Eagles

When Brock Osweiler lines up to take that first snap under center this week in Philadelphia, he will become the ninth Denver quarterback to start against the Eagles.

Philadelphia is among the National Football League franchises that Denver has played the fewest times, this being just the 13th game between the two teams since 1971. The Broncos are 5-7 overall against the Eagles.

Despite the paucity of games between the two teams, there are always some interesting reference points, and as is often the case in the NFL, it all starts with the quarterback.

Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway has the most Denver starts against Philadelphia with five, and he is the only Broncos signal caller with more than one start. When there is a gap of several years between games the players are bound to change.

From first to most recent, the starters have been as follows:

Don Horn, acquired from the Green Bay Packers by trade, and another in a long line of Denver passers hampered by a poor offensive line.

Steve Ramsey, who had the distinction of quarterbacking Hall of Famer Floyd Little's last home game, a win over the Eagles in 1975. Ramsey also was involved in one of the most significant trades in Bronco history when Denver sent him to the New York Giants in 1977 for future Ring of Famer Craig Morton.

During the regime of general manager Fred Gehrke and head coach Red Miller, the team engineered a trade with the New York Jets for Matt Robinson, who had a big arm but was largely ineffective. Robinson had one start against the Eagles during his brief Denver tenure. As one can see, the search for just the right quarterback often involves trades and free agency.

Of course, the one-of-a-kind John Elway came to the Broncos via trade and started the previously mentioned five games against Philadelphia.

When Denver was priming for its 1990's run of brilliance that would include consecutive Super Bowl wins, Bubby Brister was signed as a free agent. He started several games for Denver in 1998, including one game against Philadelphia.

We played the Eagles three times in Super Bowl years, with Elway going 1-1 in 1986 and 1989 and Brister victorious in 1998.

Another free agent, Jake Plummer, had one start against the Eagles.

Kyle Orton nearly led the Broncos to a road win in 2009.

And finally, the most recent start was by the greatest free agent signing in NFL history, Peyton Manning. His contract remains the only one in NFL history that bears the signature of a Hall of Fame general manager, Elway, and of a certain future Hall of Fame player in Manning.

Manning's 52-20 win over the Eagles on Sept. 29, 2013 was a first in 50 years for the Denver Broncos.

Amazingly, that was the first game in which the Broncos scored 50 points in five decades, with the only other occurrence being a 50-34 win over the San Diego Chargers back on Oct. 6, 1963.

I always found it fascinating that a team as consistently good as the Broncos had not managed to score 50 points, not an uncommon number over the years.

By odd coincidence, after going 50 years without scoring 50, Denver then did it two weeks in a row, following up that 2013 Eagles win with a 51-48 victory at Dallas in the next game.

Then, for good measure, Manning had one more 50-point game in 2013, a 51-28 win over the Tennessee Titans in December.

So even though we have not had a lot of games with the Eagles, there are always some interesting factoids, and as had ever been the case, it usually starts with the quarterback.

This week Brock Osweiler will start at Philadelphia as the only Denver quarterback among that grouping to have come to the Broncos twice, once as a draft choice, and most recently as a free agent.

As such, a new piece of history will be written this week in Philadelphia.

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