The Phillies’ greatest era in franchise history was from 2007 to 2011, which featured five straight National League East titles, three trips to the National League Championship Series, two to the World Series and one unforgettable parade on Halloween Day in 2008.
However, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t always add in, especially if their in a pessimistic mood, the fact that those Phils were supposed to win at least one more championship before the band broke up gradually over the following five seasons.
There’s one simple fact: it’s really hard to repeat, especially in Philadelphia. It’s why Howie Roseman’s reported acquisition of Michael Bennett is outstanding for the Super Bowl Champion Eagles, a team that should maximize its window to be the first NFL team to go back-to-back since the Patriots beat the Birds in Super Bowl XXXIX.
The last time a major Philadelphia professional sports team won two in a row was the 1974-75 Flyers. The Broad Street Bullies failed to capture three straight after getting swept by the Canadiens in 1976.
The 76ers lost in the first round to the Nets in 1984. The 1981 Phillies lost in the NLDS to the Expos following a brutal second half in a year that featured a work stoppage. The 1961 Eagles failed to make the postseason, largely in part because Buck Shaw and Norm Van Brocklin retired. The 1968 76ers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Boston Celtics dynasty in the East Finals.
The 1950 Eagles went 6-6 after two consecutive NFL Championships, which resulted in the premature firing of Greasy Neal.
The Philadelphia Warriors won in 1947 and 1956.
The Philadelphia Athletics won back-to-back World Series in 1929 and 1930, before losing in 1931 to the Cardinals in seven games. The 1910-1913 A’s won three out of four, failing to make “The Fall Classic in 1912,” later being swept by the Boston Braves in 1914.
In short, repeating in this town is unprecedented following the runs the A’s went on in the early 1900s.
Most recently, the Phillies didn’t play well enough against the Yankees in 2009, Giants in 2010 and Cardinals in 2011. Ruben Amaro, Jr. handed out bad contracts and the organization was arguably too sentimental with its icons. Recapturing the 2008 result is hard, but bottoming out is inexcusable.
If the Eagles are going to be in the hunt year after year, especially capitalizing on their current window, moves like Bennett are part one of what Roseman must do. In addition to adding talent with “no-brainer” deals, he needs to avoid sentimentality and weigh worth with reality. Roseman admitted such at the combine.
Bennett is an upgrade over Vinny Curry, who could be on his way out. The soon to be 33-year-old’s numbers were very similar to Brandon Graham’s, and that was on a defensive unit where he played most of the time, something that won’t happen with Jim Schwartz’s rotation.
Bennett’s history with anthem protests and potential problems with Seattle’s coaching staff could raise red flags for some.
Albert Breer of MMQB wrote:
“We’ll have more on the Michael Bennett trade later in the column, but I wanted to address first what the Eagles are getting from the Seahawks: A player who isn’t quite what he was and picked his spots more than he has in the past, according to the three offensive coaches I asked about him. He was also a pain in the ass for the Seattle coaches. The good news? With the depth of the Eagles defensive line, Bennett will be more of a spot player there, and Philly’s locker room, on paper, is a good fit.”
At the same time, Bennett is very charitable with his foundation.
And if that doesn’t elevate any concerns, Chris Maragos spoke very highly of him as a guest of NBC Sports Philadelphia the day the trade was reported, as well as tweeted his excitement.
This is a great move for the Birds. But I wouldn’t be surprising if Roseman pulls off more.
Before I forget…
• You get two teams with the 76ers. You’ll either witness the young, fun team that pulls out a close victory over the Cavs, or one that unravels in Milwaukee with 26 turnovers, some as ugly as throwing the ball out of bounds to no one or dribbling it off a foot. The Sixers are talented enough to finish as high as the three seed, but more realistically No. 4. They should win a first round playoff series. That won’t happen though if they cough the ball up like a hot potato, which isn’t Brett Brown’s fault. Their turnovers are self inflicted and sometimes elementary. Brown can’t dribble the ball or make crisp passes from the bench.
• The Sixers aren’t announcing a cutoff date for a decision on the rest of Markelle Fultz’s season. Until that happens, reporters will continue to ask. It’s the silliest distraction in recent memory because avoiding it is so easy.
• The Flyers go from winning six in a row to being winless in four straight heading into their Thursday night showdown in Boston. The Orange and Black are obviously good enough to make the playoffs, but what team are you getting? Sometimes they look capable of making noise and other instances they don’t. That’s the definition of frustrating and inconsistent.
• Scott Kingery is hitting .389 with an on-base percentage of .421, three home runs and four runs scored in seven games heading into Thursday afternoon’s spring training contest. If this continues, the soon to be 24-year-old must make the Opening Day roster. Forget about service time. If the Phillies and Kingery are successful years down the line, contracts will take care of themselves. John Middleton and Gabe Kapler expressed the desire for meaningful September games. The Phils aren’t maximizing that chance to happen with Kingery in Triple-A for two weeks.
• Kobe Bryant winning an Oscar for Dear Basketball got a decent amount of coverage in Philadelphia. Bryant’s Super Bowl celebration video taped on social media received similar attention. Have we forgotten that Bryant rarely embraced the area he grew up in and wanted to be the enemy in 2001?
• Speaking of 2001, Allen Iverson gave a viral interview to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Molly Sullivan during the Sixers win in Charlotte. Some speculating Iverson wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Some found it humorous. Others found it sad. Regardless of how “The Answer” was feeling, that man gave everything he had when putting on a 76ers uniform. Hopefully he’s doing well because that interview was rather uncomfortable to watch.
• Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament is this weekend. Following that is three weeks of eyes being glued to the television screen in living rooms and sports bars. I’m really curious to see how much conversation about the recent reports of recruiting violations come up during the tournament. If it’s minimal, it shows how people really feel about such reports of corruption.
• Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was “proud” of the Eagles’ Super Bowl Championship. Do you think he eventually realized that it wasn’t Kevin Kolb or Nick Folk at quarterback for the Birds?