"Eagles Win! Eagles Win! Eagles Win!"

Sunday afternoon, Eagles fans will hope to hear those words repeated once again by legendary broadcaster Merrill Reese.

This season is notable for Reese, who is celebrating his 40th season as the radio voice of the Eagles on Sportsradio 94.1 WIP. He's the longest-serving current play-by-play announcer in the league, a tenure that started with an Eagles win against the Giants way back on Dec. 11, 1977.
Before that first Eagles game, Reese was doing morning sports at WWDB and working part time at WIP when he was woken up at 2 a.m. with the news that Charlie Swift, then WIP’s play-by-play announcer and sports director, committed suicide.

"I was like, 'What?' It hit me like a ton of bricks," Merrill recalled to CBS Philly. After he ended his morning broadcast, he received a call from WIP's Dean Tyler, who told the young broadcaster, "Merrill, you're doing play-by-play. Who's doing color?"

Since that first game, Reese has gone on to call two Super Bowls, six NFC championship games and more iconic Eagles moments than most fans can probably recall.

So what keeps him going after all these years?

"I'm scared to death every Sunday morning of an Eagles game," Reese said. "I think that comes from how important it is to me. You'll never see me eat before a game in the dining room. I can't. I won't eat until after the game."

Reese revealed a bit of his process to the Inquirer's Karen Heller in an interview before the 1996 season:

"TV play-by-play is just captioning a picture,'' he explains. "But my job is to paint the picture. I can't give people merely explosions of emotion. There are a lot of mechanics involved.''

To this end, he created an exercise he calls STDD - Score, Time, Down, Distance - which he gives his listeners every 90 seconds.

And it isn't easy calling a football game about a hundred yards from the field, trying to identify up to 106 players, half of whom are new to you every week.

Still, it's the explosions of emotion that make Reese the ultimate fan, giving voice to the fans' visceral reactions.

"Obviously, network TV cannot reflect a bias,'' he says. "Nor would I if I was doing network television. But you can still show the excitement of a big play, regardless of who it affects. There are certain network announcers who truly are bland. I don't think it has to be.''

Reese says his favorite call of all time was a relatively recent one: DeSean Jackson’s game-winning punt return to cap off the Eagles' improbable comeback win over the Giants in what has since been dubbed “The Miracle at the New Meadowlands.”

Reese told NJ.com's Randy Miller that, as is his custom after big plays such as this, he gave a CD of his call to Jackson, who responded by giving the broadcaster a little hug in the locker room. After Jackson was cut by Chip Kelly, Reese wrote the wide receiver a handwritten note and sent it to the Redskins:

"Dear DeSean, thank you for some of the most memorable moments in my broadcast career. I wish you continued success and good health."

Another call Reese is fond of happened during a Jan. 11, 1981 game against the Cowboys, which featured Wilbert Montgomery's 42-yard touchdown run, leading the Eagles to become NFC champions.

"My greatest single memory of the Eagles-Dallas Cowboys series," Reese told the Delaware County Daily Times. "The game itself was amazing in that from the very beginning the big explosion was Wilbert Montgomery off the right side for a 42-yard touchdown. And then early in the game, John Bunting tackled Tony Dorsett behind the line of scrimmage, threw him for a big loss. But when Montgomery broke through on the right side and scored that touchdown, you knew they were going to the Super Bowl."

Here are Reese's eight other favorite calls, as compiled by CBS Philly:

3. Nov. 19, 1978: The first “Miracle in the Meadowlands,” when Herm Edwards scoops up a fumble and goes 26 yards for a score to beat the Giants, keeping the Eagles' playoff hopes alive.
4. Nov. 10, 1985: Ron Jaworski hits Mike Quick (Reese’s broadcast partner for the past 19 seasons) for a 99-yard touchdown in overtime to beat the Falcons.

5. Dec. 2, 1990: Randall Cunningham somehow eludes Bruce Smith in the end zone and finds Fred Barnett for a 95-yard touchdown against the Bills.

6. Oct. 3, 1993: Eric Allen's 94-yard interception return for a touchdown helps cap an Eagles comeback against the Jets.

7. Dec. 10, 1995: Cowboys coach Barry Switzer calls the same play twice in a row and fails to pick up a first down, sealing an Eagles comeback victory.

8. Oct. 10, 1988: Randall Cunningham defies logic and gravity after being hit straight on by Carl Banks on "Monday Night Football."

9. Dec. 20, 1992: Eric Allen saves the day with a pass deflection on the final play to secure a victory over the Redskins.

10. Nov. 22, 1992: Vai Sikahema punctuates an 87-yard punt return by punching the goal posts in one of the most iconic moments in Eagles history.