By Justin Goodhart
Every year, many Philadelphia fans and media pundits will talk about which team is the closest to a championship in the City of Brotherly Love. In 2017, the city finally got the trophy it had longed for since its inception. The Eagles have since been less than super in the following seasons. However, there are three other teams in this city who have had varying degrees of success…unless we are discussing the baseball team.
Here’s what the rankings might’ve looked like entering the 2019-2020 seasons:
Let’s take a deeper dive as to where the teams rank as of now and what their likelihood is.
Sixers: This roster that Daryl Morey has assembled is the best this team has ever looked since the process ended. Joel Embiid playing his MVP style of basketball, Seth Curry and Danny Green being able to space the floor with efficient shooting and Tobias Harris being able to play at an all star level has put the 76ers on top of a wide open Eastern Conference. The only question mark with the group is how Ben Simmons will be able to elevate not just his play but the team around him. His defense is phenomenal, he distributes the ball well and it’s no secret that his presence alone makes the Sixers better; but the scoring will become a question mark in a seven game series. Can Ben Simmons take over a game when they need it the most? If he can, the Sixers should be a championship favorite.
Flyers: While the start to the season has been filled with some ups and downs, the Flyers have a great roster that is full of talent. The ability to score has not been an issue this season (when they aren’t trying to make the perfect pass). The deficiency with this team is its defense and how sorely they miss Matt Niskanen. But the beauty of this list is we can’t just talk about 2021, this list is a prognostic list and the Flyers have so much youthful talent that they’ll be able to grow and improve the roster as time moves on. This team may not be a championship team right now, but in two weeks we might just be singing a different tune.
Phillies: The addition of Dave Dombrowski to help improve Joe Girardi’s roster is going to be the reason this team gets there, if they ever do. They have a long way to go and a lot of holes to fill. The second part of the rotation remains a huge question mark, there’s the great JT Realmuto dilemma and also the status of Didi Gregorious who should be brought back but will John Middleton’s heart grow three sizes? Or will his 3.4 billion dollar wallet shrink even more putting the Phillies even further into mediocrity. They also have a few further questions: is Rhys Hoskins going to be able to become the all star first baseman we saw him being? What will become of Scott Kingery? What’s the status of center field and left field? Bryce Harper deserves a contender, make it so.
Eagles: It’s just so unbelievable this team is in the position that it is. Save me the “You didn’t see this coming?” After the Super Bowl if I told you they’d be a 4-11-1 team in just three seasons you’d assume I had one too many at the parade. The regression of Carson Wentz, drama, axing of Doug Pederson and the horrific spending of Howie Roseman to construct the most ineffective yet most expensive roster makes it almost impossible to believe we’ll see a contender anytime soon. The only thing that can bail this team out is Carson Wentz returning to form and Howie being able to unload terrible contracts and ADEQUATELY REPLACE THOSE PLAYERS WITH YOUTHFUL TALENT. Just saying that gives me a headache, the odds of that happening are so unlikely it’s the sole reason the Phillies future is slightly better.
I think that the intense changes in this list show that these rankings are very fluid. By this time next year we may be talking about how the Phillies are coming off a World Series championship or maybe the Sixers defending a title. However, I think for this city it’s a little harder to accept the Eagles not being where they once were considering that just three years ago on this day this town was still celebrating an NFC Title victory over the Minnesota Vikings.