Legendary Philadelphia sportscaster Ray Didinger called it a career last Sunday after spending 53 years covering the Philadelphia Eagles. Didinger spent 22 years with Glen Macnow discussing Philadelphia sports from 10-1 every weekend on SportsRadio 94WIP.
Didinger was there from the beginning. He witnessed the ups and downs of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise, including the move from Franklin Field to Veterans Stadium, the Dick Vermeil era, the end of the kelly green, and the Eagles’ Super Bowl win in 2017. The city looked to Didinger when there was no hope in Philly sports.
He would bring optimism to the city of Philadelphia while also being a realist. Didinger considers himself a realist, not a fan. There’s not many people in the Philadelphia media that can say that. No one will ever know the four Philadelphia franchises better than Ray Didinger. With Didinger stepping down, the city of Philadelphia will have lost a friend, a mentor, and an icon. Philadelphia sports will never be the same.
Didinger graduated from Temple University in 1968. He started covering the Eagles for the Philadelphia Bulletin in 1969 and eventually joined the Philadelphia Daily News in 1980. He has been a member of NBC Sports Philadelphia/CSN since 1998 and has covered the pre- and post-game shows since. Didinger was the first writer elected to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and he made it to the big stage when he was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Didinger received six well-deserved Emmy awards for his work at NFL Films. Didinger recently won the Reds Bagnell Award via the Maxwell Football Club for his contributions to the game of football. Didinger is a five-time Philadelphia Sportswriter of the Year winner awarded by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Didinger recently wrote a play describing the relationship between he and legendary Eagles wide-receiver Tommy McDonald. When Didinger was ten years old, he carried McDonald’s helmet to the locker room after he practiced in Hershey each day. A relationship blossomed from there. Didinger spoke to director Joe Canuso about developing that relationship into a play. Didinger had an instinct that the play would be a hit, and boy was he right. The play, Tommy and Me, showed Didinger’s desire to help his childhood hero when McDonald retired. Didinger urged the Selection Committee to consider McDonald for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but they wouldn’t budge. Didinger’s efforts eventually prevailed and Tommy McDonald was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1998. Thanks to this relationship, it was Didinger that McDonald asked to give his introductory Hall of Fame speech.
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie recently spoke of Didinger stating: “Ray is a consummate professional who analyzed the game with tremendous passion and thoughtfulness. He has been an influential voice on the Eagles Hall of Fame selection committee, providing valuable insight and historical perspective for many years. On behalf of our organization and Eagles fans around the world, we congratulate Ray on a tremendous career and wish him all the best in retirement.”
The city of Philadelphia is one of the most passionate sports cities in the country. The city will lose some of that passion with Didinger stepping down from a position that he filled for 53 years. The fans of Philadelphia always looked forward to hearing Didinger’s Eagles predictions and sought out his opinion on everything in Philadelphia sports, not just the Eagles.The city of Philadelphia won’t be the same with Didinger retiring, but one thing is for sure, Didinger will always be the “Godfather” of Philadelphia sports. Congratulations to Ray Didinger on a fantastic career and thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives. The city of Philadelphia loves you and will always love you.