Not that it’s surprising, but Jeffrey Lurie’s comments at the NFL Annual Meeting about avoiding “short-term solutions” confirmed that the Eagles joined the Philadelphia sports “Patience Party.”
Close your eyes and imagine a glamorous lounge with fancy carpets, sophisticated leather chairs, big screen TVs and four large digital calendars in LED lights. Sitting in those chairs and staring at those calendars are the people in charge of your beloved pro teams, the franchises you spend your hard earned money on and sit in sometimes unimaginable conditions of either the sweltering July’s or frigid December’s to watch play.
Those calendars are the long term projections of when your teams intend on being good enough to compete for a championship. Not one team believes they’re really close to that goal, and they’re OK with taking a slow and safe path.
In fairness, going all in and making irresponsible moves to duplicate the 2011 Eagles “Dream Team” isn’t the way to go. But, the complete opposite extreme is wrong as well.
All four teams need to find an even medium and show more sense of urgency in this demanding, yet loyal town.
My question to the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers is what have you been doing the past five to six years to finally get to a point where all four need to be mediocre or worse at the same time?
Why did the Eagles wait seven years to realize they needed a young, promising quarterback to replace Donovan McNabb? Why did they fail on their evaluation of Kevin Kolb? Why did they allow a revolving door of signal callers to come into their building with home grown talent LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in their prime? Why did they allow an ego maniac like Chip Kelly to flush those cornerstones down the drain?
These are decisions enabled by Lurie, who has the audacity to preach patience after such decisions.
How come the Phillies waited so long to move on from their declining core that won a World Series in 2008, and not replace them with sufficient major league talent with the payroll they have? Why does the fan base need to wait for an entire new crop of home grown players to come up basically at once like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels? After 2011, it should’ve been an even balance of replace and replenish, not one or the other.
In recent years the Flyers have gone away from their always make the playoffs mentality, to wait for the kids to develop in the AHL and junior leagues so hopefully a super team can take the ice at Wells Fargo and dominate. What’s taking so long to bring up players like Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim and Anthony Stolarz? Why is Claude Giroux allowed to continue to wear the captain’s “C” when he’s underperformed since going into that roll?
Ron Hextall’s plan is refreshing from what the Flyers were doing under Paul Holmgren, but why is Hextall taking so long to bring the kids up so they can get NHL experience? Why does it seem like Dave Hakstol uses young, promising Travis Konecny a lot less than he should? The Flyers are a mess with mixed signals.
Then, there’s the rebuilders of rebuilders, crème de la crème, of dressing down a franchise to its bare bones and hitting the ultimate “re-do button,” your 76ers. Their extreme method of starting over resulted in potentially franchise changing talent in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric. But, Embiid and Simmons are medical mysteries managed by a group of medical misfits. If neither has a healthy career, “The Process” fails.
Let’s be honest, Philadelphia doesn’t have a great history of winners. The Eagles are Super Bowl-less, the Phillies won two World Series in 133 years, the last time the Flyers won the Stanley Cup was 42 years ago and the Sixers have never been close to elite since the late ’70s and early ’80s, minus one magical season in 2001. Also, this widespread jog to greatness could result in all four being excellent at once, which would be special like 1980.
However, this city cares too much about its sports teams, is too loyal and spends too much money to have all four teams take their time at once. If anything, pull names out of a hat and take turns.
The fans deserve better.
Before I forget…
-While their 28-47 record isn’t anything to crow about, Brett Brown has done a remarkable job with the 76ers this season. I really hope everything works out for them so Brown has the chance to coach a fully stacked team. The man earned that opportunity.
-It’s only a matter of time before the Flyers are officially eliminated from playoff contention, thus it will be the third time in five seasons they call it after 82 games. Again, not the Flyer way. Someone must take the hit, whether it be a player, or even the second year head coach.
-Healthy or not, Aaron Nola’s spring isn’t anything to be happy with. He has allowed 18 runs in 19 1/3 innings pitched, with an ERA of 8.38. Nola was the seventh overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. Not that these type of comparisons usually occur in baseball, but the Phils passed on outfielder Michael Conforto, who is going to be a promising Met for a long time, and utility guy Trea Turner, who eventually made his way to the Nationals and is also a talent. I know most, if not all, baseball minds think pitching is the key to success. It’s actually hitting. The Phillies didn’t win in 2008 because their rotation was lights out. They won because they hit and sported a great bullpen. Passing on Conforto and Turner will come back to bite.