In 1943, having lost many team members to the WWII effort, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers combined into one ragtag team to keep the game going and keep spirits high on the homefront. The men who stayed behind included those who had been deemed physically unfit, worked in the industries that produced war materials or those who were supporting a family with young children. Such deferments only left the Steelers with six players on their roster and the Eagles 16. Rather than suspend operations that year as the Cleveland Rams were forced to do the two teams merged and played as one through the end of the regular season. The team, which was known officially as the Philadelphia Eagles but by fans as the "Steagles," finished 5-4-1 and a total attendance of 129,000 was a record for both teams. In 2003, the surviving members of the Steagles were honored at a Steelers/Eagles preseason game on the 60th anniversary of the 1943 alliance. The Steelers also merged with the Chicago Cardinals for the 1944 season.
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