Welcome to Philadelphia, Where Mediocrity Rules
Looking back on the 24 years without a championship in Philadelphia, one saying comes to mind:
“I’ve gotta laugh to keep from cryin’.”
It’s been like watching a car wreck for the better part of generation—it's awful, but you just can't turn away.
What has become of the Philadelphia Eagles? Their NFC title dreams are all but shot—and it's not even Halloween.
The only question is whether Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb will be the first to go. My money is on McNabb.
As much yardage as the QB has produced on the field, he’s equaled it in controversy...and you know what controversy without a championship equals in Philadelphia?
You guessed it—a one-way ticket out of town.
At the end of the season, McNabb will have two years remaining on his contract. With the unexpected progression of Kevin Kolb, owner Jeffrey Lurie may have to make the tough decision.
As for Reid—if he needs to tend to family issues, so be it.
Lay down your pride, Andy. You've been blessed with warning signs that Tony Dungy and thousands of other parents never got.
And then there are the 76ers. GM Billy King and owner Ed Snider are calling 2007-08 “Phase Two” of a three-phase project.
I call it “Let's wait 'til next summer when we have $15-$20 million to spend, and pray that someone wants to come here.”
With a team full of 2’s and 3’s, the Sixers will get killed in the post. I do like guards Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, and Lou Williams—but after that all you have is Samuel Dalembert, who needs help on the blocks to really be effective.
At just 6'7", Reggie Evans is being counted on too much to fix the team's rebounding woes.
On the ice, the Flyers used to be the city's steady source of championship hope.
Last season was the worst in franchise history. After a 1-6-1 start, coach Ken Hitchcock was fired, GM and Flyer legend Bobby (call me Bob) Clarke resigned, and the Flyers limped to a league-worst 22-48-12 record.
The traditionally physical team is trying prove it can cut in the “New NHL”—a league ruled by speed. Out are Peter Forsberg and other veterans. In are goalie Martin Biron, defensemen Jason Smith and Kimmo Timonen, wingers Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul, and the prize of the free agent season—Daniel Briere from the Buffalo Sabres.
Briere is an undersized center who can get up the ice faster than most. He's also one of the most accurate scorers in the league. Briere is currently fifth in the NHL in scoring, a large reason why the Flyers are off to a 4-1 start.
And, finally, we come to the Phightin’ Phillies.
This season, the Phils became the first franchise in all sports to reach 10,000 losses. They are, needless to say, no strangers to futility.
Since Charlie Manuel’s arrival in 2005, the Phils have had two near misses at the postseason, and Manuel bore the brunt of the town’s frustration.
To his credit, though, Manuel held the troops together this season after a 4-11 start and a confrontation with sports talk radio host Howard Eskin. The Phils chased the Mets all season, and fought through injuries to stay within seven games of the NL East lead at the beginning of September.
And then the unthinkable happened.
Charlie’s bunch won 13 of 17 down the stretch to take the East crown—the greatest comeback in Major League history. In Philly, team and fans alike had visions of their first trip to the World Series 14 years.
But it was not to be.
The Phils were swept by the NL Champion Colorado Rockies in the NLDS, and are left to look to the future as the offseason begins.
Third base, starting pitching, and the bullpen will all be priorities this winter. For his efforts, Manuel was rewarded with a new two-year deal.
As it stands, Philly sports are at a crossroads. The Flyers and Phillies are on the upswing, the Eagles' window is closing, and the 76ers are caught between the future and the past.
As for me—I’m just hoping to survive the next wreck.
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