Jan. 21, 2003

Well, it’s happened again. I’ve never followed the NFL or the Philadelphia Eagles that closely, but I still can’t believe that the Birds have managed to squander their second straight opportunity to reach the Super Bowl.

The defeat was fairly historic, too. Despite the benefit of home-field advantage, the Eagles lost 27–10 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final Philadelphia home game at Veterans Stadium.

I can’t think of another major U.S. city that has endured such a drought without a championship in any professional sport. The 76ers’ sweep of the Lakers in 1983 — that was 20 years ago, if you’re keeping score at home — was the last time that Philly fans basked in the glow of a national title.

More often than not, Philadelphia teams simply fail to rise to the occasion. Look at their track record in championship sporting events over the last 30 years:*

  Event Won Lost
Eagles Super Bowl (none) 1981, 2005
Phillies World Series 1980 1983, 1993
76ers NBA Finals 1983 1977, 1980, 1982, 2001
Flyers Stanley Cup Finals 1974, 1975 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1997

That’s a combined record of 4-for-17* among all Philly teams that have reached the finals (unlike the Eagles, who are already cleaning out their lockers instead of boarding a flight to San Diego).

Is it too much to ask for something to cheer about every few decades or so?

* Update: Two years after this post, the Eagles added to the collective misery by losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. But Philadelphia’s championship drought finally came to an end when the Phillies came through with a World Series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008.

[ No. 39 ]

Jan. 6, 2003

Yesterday, my weekly trip to the supermarket seemed a little out of the ordinary, but I couldn’t figure out why. The parking lot was unusually crowded for a Sunday, and I found the store aisles clogged with dozens of shoppers. Finally, upon finding some strangely empty shelves in the bread aisle, I realized what was going on: the local weather forecast was calling for another snowstorm, our third of the season thus far.

I simply don’t understand why everyone in the Philly region seems to panic over a few inches of snow — as if that will confine them inside their houses for days. I’ve lived in other areas, including State College and upstate New York, where residents remain unfazed by harsh winters. When will the folks around here learn to cope? Unless they’re calling for a major blizzard or ice storm, there’s no need to stockpile food.

And while we’re at it, why do people always buy milk and bread when bad weather is on the way? Personally, I’d make sure to have some hot chocolate mix and marshmallows on hand — and maybe some popcorn and a good movie from the video store, too.

[ No. 38 ]