The Mayor of Sports Town
by Joe Tully
WHICH PHILLY TEAM WILL BE THE NEXT CHAMPION……. IF ANY???
As I sit hear still mending from a broken heart (i.e see Flyers losing to Devils), I wonder…… whichPhiladelphia sports team will be the next to win a championship? Will it be Vick? The controversial figure who leads the Eagles? Perhaps, the monster pitching trio for the Phils? How about them Sixers? Or could it be Giroux pushing the Flyers???
It is a perplexing question that is broken down by each sport. Why? Because not only do you have to analyze each of the teams, but you must analyze each of their opponents in their division as well.
As I wrote a few weeks ago about the Phillies (http://totallydriventv.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/mayor-of-sports-town-is-the-phillies-reign-over/), I made it pretty clear that the Phillies on their way down in the NL East. I still stand by statements because the main thing that eliminated the Phils last year will be their demise this year. The lack of offense is so glaring. Cliff Lee currently has a 1.95 ERA is 5 starts. Guess how many wins? How about ZERO?!!!! His 1.95 ERA basically means he pitches very well, but the Phillies don’t win. They have the best starting pitching in the league and since my last article, they have been better hitting. But still not enough to win the division. Another interesting stat which doesn’t bode well for the Phillies, Roy Halladay is statistically their 5th best starter right now. His ERA of 3.20 is the highest out of the Phillies 5 starters. CouldRoy be on the decline as well?
That leads to my next topic. In the NL East, who will win if the Phillies do not? Currently there are two teams better than Phillies for team ERA in the NL East, the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins. With that said, as bad as the Phillies have been offensively, the Nationals and Marlins both rank lower in team batting average. The Mets just came intoPhiladelphiafor a 3 game sweep. Atlantais young and surging as well. Leaving the Phillies out of the equation and the rest of the NL East could be determined by a flip of a coin. I think this plays into the Phillies favor because if everyone beats each other, someone has to win. If the Phils can get hot like the Cardinals did last year and the Giants the year before, anything can happen. But as I stated before, I think the “Reign is Over!”
Last year the Eagles won the last 4 games of the year. Many experts stated that if the Eagles can sneak into the playoffs, they would have been a dangerous team. I still think they would have lost to either the Giants, Saints or 49ers. This offseason, Head Coach Andy Reid said something I never would have thought I heard. When talking about the 2011 Eagles defense (which was god awful), Reid outwardly stated, “I goofed!” As pompous as Reid has been over the years, I think this is a first for him to actually admit he was wrong. He then backed that up with some fantastic off season moves (although Reid is not the GM, he still has a say in personnel moves). The Eagles traded a 4th round draft pick to the Houston Texans for stud linebacker DeMeco Ryans, a young pro bowl middle linebacker that was very well respected by his team mates. In other words, a leader! Something the Eagles sorely missed last year. Then on draft day, they moved up to take Fletcher Cox, a projected top ten pick that fell in the Eagles laps.
Besides adding to the team from external means, the Eagles also signed the keys to their high potent offense. They franchised WR DeSean Jackson and extended RB LeSean McCoy’s contract. Those two moves proved that the Eagles are serious about continuing to score points.
So, what teams will be the biggest threat to the Eagles in the NFC East. The Giants are coming off a Super Bowl win. Usually that can spell content on a team and it’s very rare in the NFL for a team to contend after a Super Bowl win. But the Giants are still a talented team and now have to say this after two Super Bowl wins…. well coached. The Dallas Cowboys had a playoff birth in their hands last year and then lost the last two games. I don’t see them as a threat but it’s still the Cowboys. The Washington Redskins made a splash in the draft by taking RG3 (Robert Griffin III). He is extremely talented but he is a rookie and as well as Cam Newton played last year, rookie QB’s rarely make the playoffs.
Can Reid’s 13th year be a charm? I am thinking this team has the potential to do some damage. Last year, the 49ers were the darlings of the NFL to head to the Super Bowl. The Eagles were dominating them 21-0 at one point. So, as disastrous a season they had last year, they were still only one game from making the playoffs, one game behind the Super Bowl Champions.
Going into the playoffs, if you told me the Flyers would eliminate the Penguins in 6 games, I would have said were going to the Stanley Cup Finals. After that became a reality, I really thought the Stanley Cup was a strong possibility. The Devils had other plans, a team that was not as talented as the Flyers, but played a much better brand of playoff hockey. The playoff experience should only make the young Flyers team hungrier next year. This offseason, the Flyers really only could lose Matt Carle to free agency and the young nucleus will stay in tact. Is Bryzgalov the answer to the Flyers goaltending woes? It wasn’t his fault that the Flyers lost against the Devils, no, but he definitely could have made the series a lot closer. This was Bryz’s first year as a Flyer and for what he did in March, he should deserve another shot. If his March occurred in April or May, this team could still be playing.
With that said, I still say the Flyers have an excellent shot next year. They are young, they are talented and if they can stay healthy and add another stay at home defensemen, it could be their year. Unfortunately, the teams in their division will also get better. The Penguins will haveCrosbyfor a full year and the Rangers are a young well coached team that have the best goalie in hockey, Henrik Lundvquist.
Finally, the Sixers. Doug Collins should be a magician because he is pulling tricks out of his hat to have this Sixers team in the 2nd round of the playoffs. They have some good young players but also have two contracts that weigh the team down. Elton Brand and Andre Iguadola’s contract need to be expunged somehow in order for this team to grow. The Sixers still have a ways to go to be considered contenders. With the real Dream Team inMiami, the Sixers will have to wait for that team to be dismantled to have a true shot at a Championship.
Based off of my analysis, below are the teams in order that have the best shot at a championship:
1a) Flyers (very young and talented, can only get better)
1b) Eagles (Reid admitted he was wrong, maybe this is his year)
3) Phillies (pitching wins championships….unless you can’t hit)
4) Sixers (When Lebron gets old, the Sixers will have a shot)