Mike Richards creates his own breakaway, then buries a beautiful backhanded flip shot over Ottawa’s befuddled goaltender, 4-1 Flyers. 90 seconds later, he nets a wrist shot that essentially ices the game. Meanwhile, on the TV to the left, the Eagles have gotten off to a historic start, and somewhere between Richie’s two gorgeous goals, Michael Vick’s Eagles score (again) in an exhilarating first quarter against beloved Donovan McNabb and the Redskins. Hell, even the Sixers weren’t losing (thanks to a day off). Either way, what a Monday night it was. Through all of the insanity at PJ Whelihan’s, more stands out to me than just the two great showings from our teams. I realize that this type of simultaneous success is unheard of in many places, but for the last decade in Philadelphia, it's never been out of the question.
“Don’t gloat Dan, it was just a couple regular season games”…. That’s absolutely true and I’m not gloating at all, I’m just making an observation. These are our hometown teams and we are passionate about them. Either way, love us or hate us, I think one thing is certain: There is not one city in this country right now where professional sports are more riveting, more exciting and more engulfing than Philadelphia.Now let me explain by taking a glimpse at three teams that are currently rockin’ and rollin’ in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Eagles: What can you say about this team? If they aren’t exciting to watch then I don’t know what is. How about that drubbing of the Redskins? LaRon Landry, I think you learned your lesson: don’t talk smack to DeSean Jackson because he will straight up embarrass you. I hope you have some aloe, because the burn marks from the first play of that game are going to hurt.
I can’t say anything about Michael Vick that hasn’t already been said. Pay the man and keep him in green, he is one hell of an athlete. Let’s not forget LeSean McCoy, who is looking eerily like Brian Westbrook circa '04-'07. Giants fans beware, you may have finally put Westbrook behind you, but you’re not out of the woods yet…
Of course we won’t forget, and we’ll always be grateful for the success #5 brought to Philly. The Eagles may never have been more exciting to watch for so many consecutive seasons than they were from ‘99-‘09. We had five championship pushes, even more playoff appearances, a whole bunch of division titles and wins, 4th and 26 and many other fond memories.
Right now though, Vick is running the offense better than the man our entire system was designed for (#5 in burgundy) and he’s got much better weapons at the skill positions than “Mr. Sleepy in the Super Bowl” ever had. Now that’s a scary thought. Buckle up; it’s going to be a fun finish this season.
The Flyers: With a nucleus of Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Jeff Carter, what’s not to like? Right now the Flyers are rolling and they’re a blast to watch. Rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky could be the future. It’s too early to tell but Bob could be that one last missing piece that has kept the Flyers from dynasty status.
Mike Richards is the captain that the Flyers have searched for since Bob Clarke. Claude Giroux is becoming one the most prolific goal scorers in the league, as is Jeff Carter. Additionally, Dan Carcillo honors the spirit of the Broad Street Bullies in every game he plays and serves as a spark plug.
Giroux and Carter both signed lengthy contract extensions which should all but ensure a highly competitive team for years to come. Oh, and they’ve won 9 of their last 10 games and have scored 18 goals in the last three…
The Phillies: Don’t worry; I didn’t forget our knights in shining armor. All I can say is thank God for Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Brad Lidge, for truly saving the sports soul of this city. The curse of Billy Penn haunted our perennially competitive sports teams for 25 years. Heartbreak was the common theme as our teams always fought hard, made playoff runs, got everyone excited only to tragically crash and burn somewhere near the finish line.
But then along came this current Phillies team. A homegrown group of young talent, they swept everyone in off their feet and took Philadelphia on a wild and unfamiliar ride through October in 2008. I will never, ever forget Harry Kalas with the call… “Brad Lidge stretches. The 0–2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball!” The rest is history folks. They have been the City’s darling ever since, and I’d say rightfully so. They gave a long suffering fan base reason to believe once again.
This just in: Congrats to Roy Halladay, who was unanimously selected as the 2010 NL Cy Young Award Winner… (Man, it’s been a great 24 hours).
The current combination of the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers has created an amazing blend of excitement, talent and promise both now and for the anticipated future. Lastly, I can’t write an entire article like this without mentioning the most passionate and overall best fans in sports. So hats off to you phans, your contributions do not go unnoticed.
Bottom line: Philadelphia is one hell of a sports town, it always has been and it always will be. In fact, just last night Jon Gruden made it clear on the Monday Night Football broadcast when he described Philadelphia as “the greatest sports town in the America.” Thanks Chucky.
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