The Maxwell Club named Randall Cunningham its NFL player of the year Tuesday, and in accepting the award, Cunningham agreed with team owner Norman Braman that the club's "bad boy image" had to go.
Randall Cunningham said the Philadelphia Eagles have to tone down their act if they hope to reach the Super Bowl.Braman, who fired coach Buddy Ryan Jan. 8, had said he was uncomfortable with the team's image and expected new coach Rich Kotite to establish more discipline.
Cunningham was chosen for the award over runner-up Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers, Houston's Warren Moon, Buffalo's Bruce Smith and the 49ers' Jerry Rice. Montana won it last year.
The Maxwell Club also announced that Art Shell of the Los Angeles Raiders had been voted the NFL coach of the year over Buffalo's Marv Levy, followed by Kansas City's Marty Schottenheimer, the 49ers' George Seifert and Jimmy Johnson of the Dallas Cowboys.
Cunningham, who won the award in 1988, became the first two-time winner since Johnny Unitas, who won it in 1959, 1964 and 1967.
"People don't like playing the Philadelphia Eagles. That's just how it is," he said. "It always seems that the teams that are more humble beat us. We've taken that (image) to a limit. . . . We have to tone it to the right tone. Clean it all up."
Cleaning it up might help with officials, he said.
"Maybe they will say, `These guys aren't as dirty as we thought,"' Cunningham said. "Maybe we won't get as many penalties called. Then, maybe we won't lead the league in penalties. They won't think we're undisciplined."
Cunningham cautioned that it might take a year for Kotite to restore the team's unity.
"He's a workaholic who knows how to win," Cunningham said.