If you divide the Philadelphia sports scenes into two general categories, you’ll get the franchises and the fans. One is on top of its game while the other isn’t even mediocre.
One just gained national recognition for owning the NFL Draft with an estimated record crowd of 250,000 attendees over three days, while the other can’t even sniff postseason success, let alone clinch a birth.
Remember May 10, 2012? That’s when the eight seeded 76ers, with the help of Derrick Rose’s injury, upset the top seeded Chicago Bulls in six games to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. That’s the last time any major Philadelphia sports franchise won a playoff series or game, if we’re focusing solely on the Eagles.
But we’re not.
Since then, not including this current Phillies season, which will join this group in only a matter of months, there have been 20 full seasons between the Eagles, Phils, Sixers and Flyers without postseason success. As of Thursday morning, including Wednesday’s Phillies loss at the Chicago Cubs, and all postseason games since May 10, 2012, Philadelphia sports is 692-998. That’s a .409 winning percentage.
I know I’ve written columns like this one before for PhillyInfluencer.com, but after witnessing what happened on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway during the NFL Draft, shame on the city’s franchises for stooping to such low standards, preaching and promoting long, patient rebuilds while one of the best sports fan bases in America aches as a result.
The New York Yankees are leading the AL East as of Thursday morning, in the early stages of a youth infusion, just like the Phillies claim is coming. However, the Yanks never bottomed out for multiple seasons, let alone at all like the Phils did. They at least remained competitive.
The Boston Celtics are two victories away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Since winning the NBA Finals with “The Big 3” in 2008, they’ve missed the postseason once. They essentially went through one season of “tanking.” Did they luck out in acquiring a superstar unexpectedly in Isaiah Thomas? Absolutely. But that proves you don’t have to acquire “assets” and high draft picks to become great like the 76ers have tried to do over recent years.
The New York Giants have won two Super Bowls since since the 2007-08 football season, doing so with 10 and nine regular season wins, something Howie Roseman has indicated isn’t good enough. The closest the Eagles came to The Lombardi Trophy in recent years was this past weekend when it was showcased at the draft.
The Nashville Predators, as the last wild card in the west, are one victory from reaching the Western Conference Finals with Peter Laviolette as their head coach. The Flyers lack so much “jam,” they’ve missed the playoffs three times in the last five seasons, even though the franchise historically rarely misses the postseason.
For less than a month since the Flyers and Sixers put bows on lackluster seasons, the NBA and NHL playoffs have provided constant flow of entertaining stories and drama. Major cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington DC have been privileged to watch local teams compete in electric atmospheres and situations.
Oh yeah, the Sixers are busy revealing a new court design that their cornerstone players may never play on because of injuries and the Flyers are jumping off couches (at least Ron Hextall is) because lottery balls went in their favor.
The fact is, Philadelphia is too big with too loyal of a fan base to sit on the sidelines any longer when big postseason games are being played. As I’ve written before, standards must be higher.
Starting with this upcoming Eagles season, playoffs shouldn’t be a “maybe,” they should be a “must.”
There’s no reason the Eagles with their offensive additions and defensive line bolstering (again) that they shouldn’t make the postseason as a wild card.
There’s no reason the Phillies with the influx of talent being crowed about at Lehigh Valley, as well as the supposed check book John Middleton suggests he’s willing to dish out, that the Phils shouldn’t be a wild card team in 2018.
There’s no reason the Sixers shouldn’t be a postseason team in 2017-18, assuming Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will be healthier than ever.
And there’s no reason, ever again, the Flyers should miss the playoffs, especially considering the money they charge for tickets and talent that’s blossoming in the AHL and juniors.
Enough is enough. This city deserves better.
Before I forget….
-Since Philadelphia and its fans did such a wonderful job hosting the draft, the NFL shouldn’t even think twice about returning next year. If Chicago is fortunate enough to receive two in a row, why not Philly? And a draft in Dallas? Don’t make me laugh.
-Even though the outlook for Sidney Jones’ recover from an achilles injury is good, the Eagles took a huge risk picking the Washington corner in the second round. They need to stop failing on these early draft picks, because if Jones doesn’t pan out, it will set them back at least two more years. There’s no way Howie Roseman will be able to survive that potential blunder, right?
-The Phillies have a hustle issue. After Pete Mackanin let Freddy Galvis slide without any punishment, Maikel Franco and Odubdel Herrera have been culprits. In fact, Herrera followed his non hustling moment with a bat flip home run later in the game. I’ve been a big supporter of Mackaninn, but if he is in fact a lame duck manager, a hustle issue on a mediocre team isn’t going to help his cause of getting a new deal.
-The Flyers miraculously were awarded the number two overall pick in the NHL Entry Level Draft. However, the last two second overall picks in Philadelphia sports history were Evan Turner and James van Riemsdyk. There’s a reason I’m not jumping off the couch like Ron Hextall was. This selection must be an impact player who doesn’t live in the minor leagues for almost half a decade. Patience should not be attached to whichever kid they select.