Philadelphia is routinely referred to as the City of Brotherly Love. In recent years, however, Philly has transformed into the City of Brotherly Rivalry. I’m talking, of course, about the intra-city battle between the Boys at the Bank (Phillies) and the Birds of the Linc (Eagles) for the heart of the city.
The Eagles have historically sat atop the perch of the Philadelphia sports landscape. But since 2007, the Philadelphia Phillies have used four-, soon-to-be five-consecutive Red Octobers to submarine the Eagles’ claim as the marquee franchise in town.
Five straight NL East crowns (well, as soon as the regular season ends), two NL MVP’s, one NL Cy Young winner, two (and counting) trips to the Worlds Series and one World Series title have made the Boys of Summer the talk of the town all year round.
In addition to all of the on-field success, the Phillies have been winning the battle for the back page by generating excitement through savvy acquisitions both during the season and in the offseason.
Over the past four years, the Phillies’ brass have acquired All-Stars Brad Lidge, Cliff Lee (twice), Roy Halladay, Placido Polanco, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence to team up with their homegrown stable of All-Stars in Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. The bold moves have made it possible for the Phillies to win many games on the field and many hearts off of it.
Never one to be outdone, Jeff Lurie, the owner of the Eagles, has taken notice of the Phillies’ popularity surge and decided to splurge himself. Immediately after the NFL lockout ended, Lurie and Joe Banner, the team president, spent over $100 million dollars in contracts (via free agency and trade) to acquire Pro Bowlers Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown and Vince Young, as well as recent Super Bowl champion DT Cullen Jenkins.
And if that weren’t enough, the Eagles seized the opportunity to dominate local and national headlines by making Michael Vick—the most electrifying and controversial player in the NFL—a two-time $100-million-dollar man.
Despite the so-so showing in the preseason, the newly assembled Eagles “Dream Team” has generated a Super-Bowl-or-bust type of buzz; they’ll undoubtedly be the most talked about and most scrutinized franchise in the NFL this season.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are in the midst of putting a bow and ribbon on their franchise record-setting season, as they set up their devastating starting rotation in pursuit of yet another World Series run.
This inter-athletics, intra-municipality rivalry between the two franchises has inadvertently morphed Philadelphia into the City of Blockbuster Moves—all of which proves that when the Phillies and Eagles do battle, it is the fans of Philadelphia who emerge victorious.