Losing season after losing season, golfing instead of winning playoff series and mismanaged organizations basically sum up all one would need to know about the Philadelphia sports climate right now.
A culture of blue-collar hard work, passion and intensity is what I came to know growing up watching the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and sometimes even the Phillies. Now it all seems to have gone down the drain.
This faltering starts with ownership and management of each of the four professional sports franchises in Philadelphia. Each owner has a glaring weakness that has hurt each of their franchises in recent memory. It starts with the Flyers.
Ed Snider has owned the Flyers since they became apart of the NHL as an expansion franchise in 1966. The 82 year old Snider hasn’t seen his beloved hockey franchise win a Stanley Cup since 1975.
Since then, the Flyers, under the expectations of Snider, have tried everything in their power to win a Cup since then. The issue is, the process they have taken has been completely wrong.
The Flyers have traded away prospects for old veteran players mid-season in hopes of making a Cup run. They have signed horrible contracts with free agents; yes, Vinny Lecavalier, I am talking about you.
However, now under the leadership of new general manager Ron Hextall, the Flyers seem to be in an upward pattern.
The Flyers have lots of young talented prospects, in which Hextall has vowed to let them develop, as he is sticking to his long-term plan. It is something that Snider seems to have bought into, which is good to see.
With the Sixers, I don’t think any one person has any clue what direction that franchise is going. Moreover, I don’t even think their owner, Josh Harris, or their general manager, Sam Hinkie, have a general clue either.
The Sixers have been trying to sell the fan base on the fact that the Sixers will be better by building through the draft and basically losing on purpose in order to get better. The problem is that the upcoming season will be year three of the Sixers “tanking” plan. They have made zero progress.
They were able to grab All-American center, Jahlil Okafor, out of Duke with the third overall pick in June’s draft, they have Nerlens Noel, but other than that, the Sixers roster is filled with no-name NBA players or players who have no business playing in the NBA.
I don’t know how a fan base can take purposeful losing for more than three years.
However, the Phillies, as bad as they have been, may be on an upswing. It only took them three years to figure out that it was time to blow the team up.
The Phillies, who take pride in loyalty to their players, finally said goodbye to Chase Utley and Cole Hamels mid-season. It is to be determined whether the prospects acquired in those deals will pan out, but it is a step in the right direction.
The hiring of Andy MacPhail as new president of the team should help the franchise, too. His first big decision was terminating the contract of general manager Ruben Amaro. The franchise needs to move in a complete different direction.
And now we get to the Eagles. The Eagles may be the one team in Philadelphia that has a shot at making the playoffs, let alone getting deep into the playoffs. They just don’t have a quarterback.
Chip Kelly basically revamped the entire Eagles roster once he was given full control by owner Jeffrey Lurie and early on this season none of Chip’s moves really panned out.
The Eagles have won three out of four games, however, they face a tough and undefeated Panthers team on the road this week. It will be the most telling game of the season for the Eagles, and we will find out really how good of a team they are.
One can hope that the Flyers can surprise everyone, the Eagles can get hot, the Phillies can magically be a wildcard team next year and that the Sixers can be a viable team in 10 years, but the reality of it is, each team is far from being looked at as one of the better franchises in their sport.