Philadelphia: An unanswered passion?

This is the part of the (off)season where every attempt to alleviate the pain of waiting fails miserably.

And maybe it’s just a good time to step back from the game and think about the big picture.

Everyone knows the passion of Philly fans, and how strong is the bond between Philadelphia sports teams, the fanbase and the city itself.

Playing for the Eagles, the Sixers, the Phillies or the Flyers doesn’t only mean playing for one of the largest market franchise in the country, it’s embodying the city culture.

Now, if you’re wondering why I’m posting this on BGN, it’s for two reasons: the first is that football is the sport i feel connected the most among all, and the second one is something you will find out soon.

I’ve always been proud of being part of this special relationship, recognised from the media or even from our opponents and, even if i would have like to witness more championships as a fan, i’ve usually considered myself lucky for the fact that Philadelphia teams more often compete to win than having meaningless seasons.

At least, this was the feeling.

Then, thanks to the offseason, i took the time to check this last thought of mine.

So I decided to draw up a chart, according to few criteria.

I considered the last five seasons of the four main traditional sports (Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey) giving a score to every city for a deep playoff run or a regular season leading record, according the following metrics: 14 points to a Championship, 5 points to a finalist, 2 point to the Conference runner-ups and 1 point to the no.1 playoff seed only if they occurred in an early playoff elimination (otherwise they receive the point related to their final landing spot).

Now, we may argue about the criteria, and i know that everyone, me included, will give 5 lost finals (25 points) in exchange of a championships title (14 points), but i remind you that the purpose is to determine a team capability of constantly competing during the years, so 3 years as a finalist (15 points) will have a little bit higher value than a single winning year (14). Again, a title and a loss in the Conference Finals (16 points) will have higher score than 3 lost finals (15).

Then, i gave 2 bonus points if a city records a score in two different sports, 4 points if it’s three different sports, and 8 points if is able to gain points from every one of the 4 disciplines, which is in my opinion the quintessence of representing the city through the competition (only one city was able to accomplish that goal). Bonus points may be reduced if the score comes from a regular season top seeding and not also from the deep playoff run.

Well, these are the results. Glad to show you:

  1. Los Angeles - 61pts. (4 BP)
  2. Boston - 55pts. (8 BP)
  3. Tampa Bay - 55pts. (4 BP)
  4. San Francisco - 42pts. (2 BP)
  5. Houston - 32pts. (2 BP)
  6. Washington - 31pts. (2 BP)
  7. Milwaukee - 21pts. (2 BP)
  8. Kansas City - 21pts.
  9. Atlanta - 20pts. (2 BP)
  10. St.Louis - 19pts (2 BP)
  11. Philadelphia - 16pts. (1 BP)
  12. Toronto - 15pts.
  13. Pittsburgh - 14pts.
  14. Cleveland - 12pts. (1 BP)
  15. Nashville - 11pts. (2 BP)
  16. Las Vegas - 9pts.
  17. New York - 8pts.
  18. Green Bay - 5pts.
  19. Dallas- 5pts.
  20. Montreal - 5pts.
  21. Miami - 5pts.
  22. Phoenix - 5pts.
  23. Cincinnati - 5pts.
  24. Chicago - 4pts. (1BP)
  25. Denver - 4pts. (1BP)
  26. Carolina - 3pts.
  27. Ottawa - 2pts.
  28. Anaheim - 2pts.
  29. Winnipeg - 2pts.
  30. San Jose - 2pts.
  31. San Antonio - 2pts.
  32. Portland - 2pts.
  33. Minnesota - 2pts.
  34. Jacksonville - 2pts.
  35. New Orleans - 2pts.
  36. Calgary - 1pt.
  37. Utah - 1pt.
  38. Baltimore - 1pt.

Los Angeles is on top of the list, but they can rely on multiple teams per each sport, so you may be a fan on the wrong side of the city.

The real winner to me is Boston, helped by the Patriots dynasty of course but capable of being competitive in each of the four sports at least one of the last 5 years. That's impressive.

The surprise is Tampa Bay, helped by the NHL Lightnings titles and Tom Brady (again!), but able to land a World Series finalist in the MLB just two years ago...and there's no NBA team there!

Houston is very well positioned due to the MLB's Astros legacy, so are Kansas City and San Francisco thanks to the Chiefs (only) and the Warriors (mainly, but lets give credit to the 49ers too).

Here comes Philadelphia, with the 2017 Superbowl and just the 2020-2021 Nba Sixers no.1 Seeding in the playoffs.

11 on 38 is the middle of the group, is not very bad but it’s not even a desirable place to be, especially thinking that next year we are going to discard 15 on the 16 total points (we all know where they come from), falling to the very bottom of the list.

Again, it’s true: a championship is forever and nothing will take that away from us. Still, speaking of win it all seasons, statistically we were suppose to win a title every 7.5 years (since we have 4 teams in 4 competitions with a total of 126 contestants). It’s basically 4 titles every 32 years.

In the last 32 years (2021-1990), we can only count the 2017 Eagles and the 2008 Phillies.
In the previous 32 (1989-1958) things went way better with 6 total titles (Sixers, 1983 and 1967 - Phillies 1980 - Flyers 1974 and 1975 and even the Eagles 1960 NFL Championship game), so we can say that in the last 64 years, according to the numbers, Philadelphia is perfectly on average.

Now, the aim of this exercise is just a check on how much the fanbase is receiving back from the city sports system. Its purpose is not going into speculations on how the fans passion can damage the teams results and stuff like this.
The post itself has intentionally not being named Philadelphia: an unrequited love for two reasons: the first is because i could tell that every manager or player knows what final position his team should compete for. The disappointment is there every time they don’t meet the expectations and every offseason is always a showcase of higher targets. The second reason for that post title is a tribute to that unforgettable Eagles season and all the good memories the word unanswered reminds me.

The love is not unrequited, love is definitely there.

Hopefully we’ll have more chances to celebrate it in the close future.