By Steve Beck
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The other day at a family party, my Cousin Vinny (yes, I really have a Cousin Vinny) described the current Philadelphia sports scene to a tee.
It went like this … (in Vinny’s distinctive voice):
“The Flyers are underachievers.”
“The 76ers have been stripped down to its core.”
“The Phillies have been destroyed by its general manager.”
“The Eagles are heading in the right direction, but they are years away.”
And in those four simple sentences, my Cousin Vinny summed up how just about every sports fan in Philadelphia is feeling these days.
Let’s examine the current state of the four professional teams in Philly:
The Flyers, Stanley Cup-less since 1975, are riddled with bad (i.e. expensive) contracts and are still searching for that franchise goalie who can carry a team to a title. Let’s be honest Flyers fans, do you have confidence that Steve Mason can bring this team to a Cup?
Like Cousin Vinny said, the 76ers have stripped down their organization to its core and are in full-on rebuilding stage. The team hasn’t won a championship since 1983 and they are coming off a 19-win season. Yes, the team has two top-10 picks in the NBA Draft later this month, but even if they hit a home run with both picks (and that’s a big IF), the team is still years away from being legitimate contenders.
Onto the Phillies. They won the World Series in 2008, but let’s honest, that seems like decades ago. The outlook for this team can be described in one word: bleak. The core of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz are for all intents and purposes, shells of their former shelves. By the time this team is title contender again, Cliff Lee will be long gone and Cole Hamels will be well into his mid-30s. And it would be nice to say “hey, we have a minor league system filled with promising stars,” but that is hardly the case. Ask yourself this: when’s the last time the Phillies drafted, developed and brought up a star player from their system? It’s been a LONG time. The icing on the cake is the clamoring of fans to fire General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. The Eagles are coming off a 10-win season, a NFC East Division title and a playoff berth. Chip Kelly has a full NFL season under his belt. Nick Foles is coming off an incredible year. And LeSean McCoy is arguably the best running back in the NFL. But, DeSean Jackson is no longer in Eagles’ green, and injuries crop up in the NFL all the time and the Eagles stayed relatively healthy last year. It’s would be a stretch to label the Eagles legit Super Bowl contenders, at least for the next season or two.
In conclusion fellow Philadelphia sports fans, keep your head up, it can’t get much worse. Or can it?