Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
Philadelphia is considered to be one of the biggest sports cities in all of the United States of America. Fans are passionate about every team that represents the City of Brotherly Love. Although it hasn’t been easy for Philly fans to watch their teams over the past few years. The Eagles went 10-6 in both of the first two years of the Chip Kelly era before falling to back-to-back 7-9 seasons; one with Kelly and the other with new Head Coach Doug Pederson. The Phillies have had a top 10 pick in each of the last three MLB drafts (including the number one overall pick in 2016), and the 76ers have set, broken, and set records for the most losses in an 82-game season in NBA history. The Flyers made the playoffs last season and are trying to again this year but before that they hadn’t made the playoffs since 2012. But with all of Philadelphia’s struggles in recent years… it appears there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The last time the Eagles made the playoffs was in 2013, in Chip Kelly’s first year as a Head Coach. Kelly has since been fired from his job as the Head Coach of the Eagles, hired as the Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers and fired again as the Head coach of the 49ers. That all happened in the last calendar year. Kelly brought in veteran, injury riddled QB Sam Bradford from the then St. Louis Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams) for someone who at one point was considered to be the future of the Eagles in Nick Foles. After Kelly was fired the Eagles brought in former NFL back-up QB Doug Pederson as Head Coach and he, and General Manager Howie Roseman traded two first round picks to the Cleveland Browns for the Number 2 overall pick in the draft so that the Eagles could draft a guy that they thought could be their future at Quarterback. The Eagles selected 6’5 Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State University. In his first season Wentz was thrust into a starting role in week one after the Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for their 2017 First-round draft pick. Wentz started all 16 games for the Eagles, throwing for 3782 yards, 16 Touchdowns and 14 Interceptions. He set a rookie passing record for completions by a Quarterback and was very impressive, showing off his athleticism almost every week. Not to mention he did all this with what is referred to as the worst Receiving Corps in football. Not to mention the Eagles also have a young defense that finished in the top 10 in almost every defensive category. If the Eagles can add a few pieces here and there; there is no reason to believe that this team can’t be exciting to watch in the future.
The Phillies have had it rough in recent years. After winning 5 consecutive National League East Division Titles from 2007-2011, including two World Series appearances and one Championship in 2008 the Phils have fallen in recent years. Once considered a power house, the Phillies finished with a record at 81-81 in 2012, 73-89 in 2013 and 2014, 63-99 in 2015, and 71-91 in 2016. Not finishing above third place in any of those seasons. However, it appears there are better days ahead. As we get ready to enter the 2017 MLB season there isn’t a living sole on the Phillies who was here when they won the World Series in 2008. This is the first year that players of the likes of Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard aren’t on the Phillies payroll for the first time since 2000. The Phillies also have the third best farm system in baseball according to the Bleacher Report, and haven’t had less than 3 players on MLB.com Pipelines top 100 baseball prospects since 2014. Young players in the Big leagues like Maikel Franco, Cameron Rupp, Tommy Joseph, Cesar Hernandez, and Odubel Herrera all look like they could be mainstays on contending Phillies teams of the future. There is one thing all of those guys need to look out for; young competition. JP Crawford is the No. 1 Shortstop prospect in baseball and Number 7 on Pipelines top 100 prospects. Nick Williams, Andrew Knapp, Jorge Alfaro, Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn are all some of the Phillies top prospects. The Phillies also have a very good young pitching staff and even better pitching prospects in the minors. Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez are all set to be in the starting 5 this season. Jake Thompson, Ben Lively, Ricardo Pinto and others are all down in the minors trying to make their way up. And on top of all of that are some young relievers that we are going to get a chance to look at this upcoming season. Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez, and Joely Rodriguez look to be a young corps to build around in the bullpen. The Phillies need to develop their young talent and they will be back in the playoff hunt in no time.
The 76ers have been the worst team in professional basketball in each of the past three seasons. Recording 19 wins in 2014, 18 wins in 2015, and 10 wins in 2016. Setting a new record for the most losses in an 82 game NBA season in NBA history in each of the past three seasons. 76ers fans have basically become accustomed to losing. Especially after the 76ers drafted Kansas Center Joel Embiid with the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft and he missed all of his rookie season… and his second season with a leg injury. It appeared that 76ers fans couldn’t catch a break. Then last season the 76ers received the first overall pick in the draft where they selected LSU Forward Ben Simmons with the first overall pick. With Embiid scheduled to return and Simmons ready to tear it up in his rookie season; sixers fans had hope. That is until Simmons broke his foot and it was announced that he most likely wouldn’t be back until after the NBA All-star break. That meant that Embiid, as a rookie, would have the Philadelphia spotlight on him and boy has he ever risen to the occasion. Embiid is averaging just over 20 points a game, just under 8 rebounds, and around 3 assists per game. He is the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the year and despite his recent claim to fame he won’t be representing the 76ers at the All-star break. Embiid hasn’t been the only good player on the 76ers either. PG TJ McConnell has been statistically the most clutch shooter in the NBA this season, Dario Saric is averaging just under 21 points per game, and Ersan Ilyasova is doing it all on the Court. Don’t look now, but the 76ers could be back in the playoff hunt sometime in the near future.
The Philadelphia Flyers gave Philadelphia sports fans a new hope last season after it had been 2 years since any kind of Philadelphia sport had been in the playoffs and the Flyers snuck in with great play down the stretch. Unfortunately, they lost to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs last year. But with key players like Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux, Jakob Voracek, and Shayne Gostisbehere all returning the Flyers were the favorite of the Philly teams to make the playoffs again. It’s been a very up and down season to this point for the Flyers. They have a record of 27-22-7 record, which is 5th in the Metropolitan division. They have been the definition of inconsistent; especially at Goaltender. Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth have not played at the level they both played at last season. This team can be great but they are still missing a few pieces here and there that are keeping them out of the elite. If they can put it all together sometime in the near future, the Flyers have all the young talent in the world and could easily be great for a very long time.