As a Philadelphia sports fan, I demand two things.
First, I demand that teams win. I pay money and invest in these franchises by buying tickets and jerseys. I want to be rewarded with wins.
Second, if they cannot win, which they sometimes teams just are not built to win, then I demand that they give their all 100% of the time.
These are the two pillars of Philadelphia sports fans. When one of these pillars is not met, there is a problem. But when neither pillar is met, that’s a major problem.
Of the two teams that occupy the Wells Fargo Center, neither will make the playoffs this year. One is supposed to lose, the other is supposed to win but is losing anyway.
And only one of these teams I respect. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the team that plays ice hockey.
The Philadelphia 76ers play fourth string in the city. If the Flyers and Sixers play on the same night, I’m watching the Flyers. I believe hockey is a better sport than basketball.
However, things are turning upside down this fall. The Flyers are a bad team built by bad management. This season, with their record at 4-9-1, they are almost unwatchable. But my anger towards the team is not just because they lose. It’s because there is a lack of effort when they lose. Players look lackadaisical. There is no urgency. It’s almost as if they know they suck, so why bother play? The team has not played a full 60 minute game this year.
Management isn’t exactly helping either. Ed Snider, with his statement on saying the Flyers don’t need a change of culture, is burning to the ground the franchise he so proudly built with his bare hands. Paul Holmgren has given ridiculous contracts to aging defenseman. The notion that the organization knows what they are doing is false, and nothing is changing for the foreseeable future.
Similarly to the Flyers, the 76ers are a bad basketball team. The team has only four, maybe five NBA caliber players on their roster. Their biggest star is rookie Nerlens Noel.He may not even play this season. Coach Brett Brown’s squad was picked to finish last in the league, with some questioning whether they would win even 15 games.
So why do the Sixers have my attention over the Flyers? They care. The team wants to win. They heard the stories on how they might be one of the worst basketball teams in history. They know fans want to lose for the betterment of the future. But they give their all night in and night out. Opening night was supposed to be a disaster. Playing host to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, the 76ers were supposed to get annihilated. Yet they shocked the league and upset the defending champions. That win was not a fluke as many people thought, as they started out the season 3-0 with wins over the Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls, with Derrick Rose back in the lineup. The team has fallen back to earth, falling in their last two games. But they earned my respect for playing hard every game.
I’m also excited about the team’s’ future. Unlike the Flyers, Sixers management has a plan. Sam Hinkie has the blueprints in place that will take a couple years to develop, but once executed, will put the Sixers back to a competitive nature. By acquiring high draft picks, the goal is that the team will be able to draft talent and build a young, talented basketball team.
At first, fans were left shocked and upset when the Sixers traded All Star Jrue Holiday on draft day. But the trade landed the aforementioned Noel, and they used their first round draft pick on Michael Carter-Williams, who has been fantastic this season.
What do the Sixers have to do with this? The Sixers have a plan in place on how to fix their problems. They want to win, and are taking steps on getting back to being competitive. And their team is playing hard. I respect that, and I will watch as many games as possible until they prove me otherwise. I’m excited about their future.
The Flyers are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They have so much young talent offensively to be an explosive team. But thanks to poor management, have a terrible defense, no prospects to be excited about and are completely strapped for cash. The front office has no plan for the future. They’re still in “fix now” mode, however they are far away from a quick fix. They need a plan for the future. But there is no plan, nor will there be any time soon. The worst part is that players aren’t putting out the effort expected by Flyers fans. They have yet to play a full 60 minute game. They are slow getting back on defense. It’s almost as if they know they won’t make the playoffs already, and want to get off the ice as soon as possible.
I’m already frustrated with the front office. I’m upset the team is losing. But when there is a lack of effort, that is the last straw for me. I’m a Philadelphia fan. But if the team I support 100 percent of the time isn’t giving 100 percent, why should I?
The Flyers should take a cue from the local basketball team. Develop a plan for the future. Acquire prospects. Dump bad salaries.
But most importantly, give everything they have on the ice for an entire game.
That’s the only way losing is remotely acceptable.