By Dave Spadaro
The idea, says head coach Doug Pederson, is to foster camaraderie, provide some reminders about what the Philadelphia Eagles are all about, and give players a moment to think about the daily mission when they are in the NovaCare Complex. With that, the Eagles players walked into the building to open the offseason conditioning program on Monday and were greeted with a stunning graphics upgrade in the players’ area of the building.
From the time they walk through the players’ entrance and get to their lockers, the team will notice the dramatic change, one that includes sweeping graphics with inspirational phrases from history, bold images from great franchise moments of the past, and a game and recreation area that is second to none.
“I think it’s important that the players gain a sense of the tradition of the franchise and to see the way the images project and just jump out at you,” said Pederson, who was part of the effort to initiate the project along with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman. “The game room that we have helps form that bond, brings on some friendly competition and brings everyone together.
“It’s tremendous. We want the NovaCare Complex to be a place where our players enjoy coming to work and we’ve accomplished that with these designs on the walls. I love it. The feedback I’ve gotten is that the players love it. It’s exciting. It’s electrifying to see how this all turned out.”
The project began in late November/early December with some conversations and an early plan. Once the season ended, the graphics were added in Phase 1 of the upgrade. Players who have been in the NovaCare Complex prior to the start of the offseason program have been blown away by the look, feel, and the fun of the additions.
The project covers five areas in the players’ section of the building, starting in the lounge area connected to the locker room, and it all links perfectly together. Here is a walking tour.
Three of the greatest players in the history of the Eagles adorn the walls when the current members of the roster enter the NovaCare Complex – Chuck Bednarik, Reggie White, and Steve Van Buren. A quote from legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi that reads, “What you see here, what you say here, what you hear here, let it stay here when you leave here,” is the last thing players see as they exit the building.
It is a rotunda the players pass through several times during the day, and the intent for the graphics is to provide a sense of purpose.
“It’s supposed to be a constant reminder of who we are and why we’re doing it,” said Jon Ferrari, the team’s director of football compliance. “It’s inspiring when you look up and see the quotes and it’s a daily reminder to detail your work. We talk about greatness a lot. What does that really mean? We have quotes on the wall from Muhammad Ali, Booker T. Washington, Vince Lombardi – all great thinkers and motivators of people.”
The team dressed up the door and the area in the hallway as one enters the locker room, staying true to the branding used on the helmets on gamedays. Stunning. Instead of white walls, midnight green jumps out and grabs your attention.
The Pop-A-Shot basketball game is in the back of the locker room – which is now fitted with surround sound – and in the players’ lounge, connected to the locker room, the players have a business center, a barber shop, and a variety of games to keep the competitive fires going. There is a full-scale shuffleboard table, foosball, bubble hockey, a pool table, a ping pong table, cornhole, a dart board, and a video arcade machine for the gamers.
So cool, with graphics consisting of a combination of Philadelphia city scenes and great Eagles moments – there is Randall Cunningham flying into the end zone against Green Bay, and there is Bednarik knocking out Frank Gifford, and images of Eagles Hall of Famers Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook, and Bill Bergey.
“Players love this already, and I can’t wait to see how much fun they have and how they build camaraderie when everyone gets here,” Delimitros said. “Believe me, they want to win.”
ATHLETIC TRAINING ROOM
Instead of what was a perfectly fine, functional, yet a bit antiseptic feeling in the athletic training room, the makeover screams “Philadelphia Eagles” with team graphics throughout the rooms, along with quotes from the likes of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
“We felt like when you walked in here before you noticed the training tables and that’s what you usually see in a space like this,” Ferrari said. “We want it to say more ‘Eagles,’ to have that kind of theme.”
Before walking into the modern, spacious weight room at the NovaCare Complex, the players look up and see a quote from Muhammad Ali: “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
Inside the room, the Eagles have hung banners signifying their NFL Championships of 1948, 1949, and 1960, along with their NFC Championship banners from the 1980 and 2004 seasons.