Historically, Philadelphia teams have tended to be prefaced by the term "cellar-dwelling." I first became an Eagles fan in the early 1970s, when their best player was a place-kicker with half a foot. I think I watched them for almost four years before I could no longer count their cumulative wins on my fingers. The Phillies had single pitcher account for almost a third of their wins during one of those four years. And for most of that time the Flyers were an expansion team - a team headed for success by the end of that period, granted, but it took a while.
But for the last few years, things have gone, well, well. Since 1999 no team in the NFC has a better record than the Eagles, who have made it to five conference championship games in that stretch. Think about that. In any given year over the past decade, the odds of the Eagles - the Eagles mind you, a team that was so bad in the mid-90s that a network once actually switched away from one of their games at halftime - being in the NFC championship game are one in two. The Phillies, a team which would have to go on a five year winning streak just to have their overall cumulative record reach .500, have played meaningful baseball in late September for three years running, and won it all in October. The Flyers were in the conference championship last year, twelve months after being the worst team in hockey.
And right now, at this moment, the Eagles are less than 14 hours from playing for a trip to the Super Bowl. The Phillies are the reigning world champs. The Flyers are leading their division. I'm sure the Sixers are doing something, but any sport where teams routinely score a hundred points in increments of two is clearly irresponsible and can safely be disregarded.
Strange times indeed.
I spent much of today looking for an Eagles jersey for Lauren, so she can share the luck with Tabitha and me should the Eagles win the NFC championship. These jerseys are not easy to find, one day before the big game, but I was intrepid, nay even persistent, and finally found one in the very last place I looked. It is hard to give people your money sometimes.
So here's hoping the Birds win tomorrow. I have spent too many years cheering for them to actually expect a victory, but I can still hope.