Flyers Late Season Troubles May Be Attributed to Phillies Phever

Todd DragerContributor IApril 13, 2011

The Flyers are tailspinning into the 2011 NHL playoffs. The boys in orange and black have lost five of their last six games (two in OT or a shootout), have lost first place in the East,and have looked  out of sync with each other on the ice. So what can this late season drop off be attributed to?

One easy explanation is that the Flyers are just coasting through. They locked up a playoff berth weeks ago and just don’t have the full motivation to give their best effort on a nightly basis. Another reason is that the Flyers are just tired. The season is 82 games long and that puts a toll on the body. Another is that they just simply peaked at the wrong time. During most NHL seasons, any team will put together a strong run for a certain number of games and it seems that momentum plays a larger role in the NHL season. Maybe the Flyers run just came at the wrong time this year.

But maybe it’s something much more complex and crazy than that. Maybe the Flyers are suffering from what I’ll dub “Phillies Phever.”

Let me explain.

Our city has hosted a lot of decent teams over the past 10 years. Whether you like Reid or not, he has kept the Eagles in contention nearly his entire tenure. The Sixers haven’t had their best decade, but with a competent coach now in Doug Collins and several young stars in the waiting, they look as if they’re ready to turn things around too. The Flyers have been in the playoffs 9 of the past 10 years. And the Phillies, well they helped the city breathe a collective sigh of relief in 2008, finally ending our championship drought. 

But here are some startling statistics.

Over the past four years, the Phillies and Flyers records when both are in action have been very closely related. The Flyers began their late-season struggles this year at roughly the same time that the Phillies began Spring Training. In their final 25 games, the Flyers went 9-9-7(36 percent win), but before this time, went 38-14-5 (66.6 percent win). So when the eye of the town shifted from orange and black to red and white, the Flyers began to shift as well.

In fact, this trend hold true for the past four years, which is every year that the Phillies have been a serious NL powerhouse. The Flyers late-year performance is shown to be completely the opposite of how the Phillies started off their season. The following tables show the Flyers record in March and April (end of their year)and the overlapping Phillies record over the same time period (start of their year).


  Flyers Phillies    
Year W L W L %
2011 7 13 7 2 77.78%
2010 9 13 5 1 83.33%
2009 10 12 3 3 50.00%
2008 10 8 2 4 33.33%

As you can see, when the Phillies start out hot, the Flyers seem to struggle.

What’s even more bizarre is how both the Flyers and the Sixers react to the Phillies beginning their season.

When all three teams have intersecting regular seasons:


    Flyers Sixers Flyers+Sixers Phillies
Year Dates W L W L Win % W L Win %
2011 Apr 1-11 1 4 2 3 30.00% 7 2 77.78%
2010 Apr 5-11 2 1 1 4 37.50% 5 1 83.33%
2009 Apr 5-12 2 2 0 5 22.22% 3 3 50.00%
2008 Mar 31-Apr 6 2 1 2 1 66.67% 2 4 33.33%

In every year since 2008, when the Phillies began their season on a hot streak, the Flyers and Sixers went cold. When the Phillies started out cold, the Flyers and Sixers were hot.

It’s a bizarre statistic and it's tough to figure out a good reason behind it. What could account for this drastic change? Is this just pure coincidence or is there actually a correlation between the teams successes? Do the Flyers and Sixers really react to how the Phillies are performing? It seems doubtful, but you and I aren’t professional athletes.  Is it beyond reasonable to think that the Flyers and Sixers can catch “Phillies Phever?”

Probably. But it's one of the more fun explanations out there nontheless.

One thing is for certain. At least one team has shown to carry the Philadelphia sports fan load over this time period over the past few years.

Who would you like it to be in April this year?

Written By Todd Drager
Republished with permission from