It’s not a laughing matter in the City of Brotherly Love. As a matter of fact there is no love between the fans and their sports teams. I should know since this is my home city.
Where does one begin to try to explain what has happened to the Philadelphia sports scene?
The Philadelphia Phillies are in the middle of a rebuild as they have traded the majority of their core players and went young. Yes, you guessed it their record has suffered and the fans while loyal still offered a side eye to the organization as the reset button was hit a year or two too late. The Phillies are trying to dig themselves out of a hole and fight for a Wild Card spot, which is surprising after the last two seasons they had where they finished with 63 and 73 wins respectively.
Their young guys must not put too much pressure on themselves to try to duplicate the success of the Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels but they cannot afford to sit on their hands while the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins pass them by for another season. The Mets young talent showed their promise in 2015 as they reached the World Series and now the faithful, yet impatient fans at Citizen Bank Park are getting antsy.
You can’t go from Division titles to two straight World Series appearances then to 63 wins all in six seasons and don’t expect some coldness from the fans. Get it together Phillies.
During the preseason it was thought that the Philadelphia Eagles were Super Bowl contenders with the moves Head Coach Chip Kelly made but it’s a fine line between expectations and results and the Eagles have been a complete disaster. It’s too much to run down the list of players they either cut, traded or let walk but let’s just say he did a complete roster upheaval. The team was left in the hands of Mr. Fragile, Sam Bradford whom had a so-so season in 2015.
Chip Kelly is gone but he left a train wreck behind him as GM Howie Roseman has done his best to right the ship. Leading rusher DeMarco Murray is gone, Fletcher Cox is being paid JJ Watt money and they drafted a QB with the second pick in the draft. The wide receivers must begin to play with a purpose or the Eagles might be in store for another disappointing season. The NFC East is up for grabs once again and while another 7-9 campaign could be in the future the team could be looking at the future with Carson Wentz behind center.
As bad as last season went they still have a shot at the division and the playoffs this up coming year. That is not a testament to their will power but the state of the NFC East. The Eagles have missed out on the playoffs the last two years.
While the Eagles and Phillies sucked it up last season their neighbors, The Philadelphia 76ers have taken losing to another lever. The tank plan has gone on way too long and their current roster is by far the worst in the league, then you add the issues of trade rumors involving last season’s top pick, Jahlil Okafor and it seems for every step forward they take them seem to end up backwards.
The 2016 off-season looked to be their time to make a move. They had the number one pick in the draft and took Ben Simmons put struck out completely in the free agency market with below than average players. The East is weak but they are weaker. The players are playing for pride now and that doesn’t seem to be enough of a motivator. This should be the year Nerlens Noel and Okafor become a stars but they look uncomfortable on the floor together. There is no real backcourt chemistry between whoever is staring one game, then the next. Coach Brett Brown looks like he is ready to jump to the D-League.
The struggle will go on for a few more years and that’s sad for this loyal fan base.
Out of the four major sports the Philadelphia Flyers have had the most success and that’s not saying much as they have not managed to make it past the first round of the playoffs the last four years. The Flyers don’t have that player who can take over a game and while Claude Giroux leads the team in scoring he lacks that WOW factor most teams have. He does have help with the one of the best set up men in NHL with Jakub Voracek but assist alone will not help the team advance. Head Coach Dave Haskot must find the right mix of power, speed and defense if the Flyers are to make a serious run.
The fans are still behind the Broad St. Bullies but they must believe in themselves, if the chemistry clicks and Giroux, Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds can manage to get each other in better scoring positions the city can easily have a winner on their hands.
With each new season brings new chances and while the Phillies are the only team playing for anything meaningful they have the city’s attention now. The Eagles season is around the corner and if they cannot decide who the starting QB is we can expect much of what they offered the last two years. The Flyers gave the city hope for a minute but the 76ers took that away with their miserable off-season.
This is the life of a Philly sports fan, miserably, lonely and hateful but throughout all they fight, believe and cheer. The Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers are theirs and they wouldn’t have it any other way.