Grading the 2018 Sporting Success of Boston vs. Philadelphia
We take a look at the four major teams in each city and grade their 2018, based on success and potential.
If we had a hypothetical one-way ticket to any destination in the world right now, we would consider only two cities, Boston and Philadelphia. That’s right, we don’t care about private villas in Bali or sunbaking in the Maldives, we’re heading straight to Boston or Philly to sample their thriving sports scene.
When the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots on February 4th, they gave their sports-mad city its first ever Super Bowl triumph. Almost three months later, Philly and Boston (the largest city in New England) have continued to provide both of their cities with an epic 2018 in sports.
There is still three championships to be on this year (NBA, NHL and MLB), but let’s take a look at the current state of both city’s sporting landscapes to determine who has enjoyed a better year so far, grading each team on their 2018 success and potential.
A thrilling eight point win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl will forever be remembered in the “City of Brotherly Love”, and backup quarterback Nick Foles will probably never have to pay for another beer after successfully filling in for the injured Carson Wentz.
Starting quarterback Wentz was in MVP form prior to his season ending ACL injury in December, just one month before the playoffs began. And while most media experts and many Eagles fans thought Philly’s Super Bowl dreams were over once Carson went down, backup Nick Foles had other ideas, leading by example throughout the playoffs and overcoming the Patriots in the biggest game of his life. Grade: A+
The Philadelphia 76ers continue to “trust the process”, and won 16 consecutive games to storm into the NBA playoffs as the third seed in the East. The mismanagement of number one draft pick, Markelle Fultz, who missed most of the regular season due to a mysterious shoulder injury weighs negatively on their grading, but 33 year old J.J. Reddick and his leadership qualities have been a clever, and important addition for the 76ers.
After six years without a postseason appearance, this young Sixers squad has an exciting future ahead of them, and if everything goes to plan, they could even emulate the Eagles’ success as early as this June. Could Australia’s own Ben Simmons dethrone his mentor LeBron James in the East? Grading: B+
After a strong regular season, the Flyers fell flat in the first round of the playoffs against last year’s NHL champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing the series 4-2. While there is no shame in being defeated by the Penguins, the manner of the four losses in this series was somewhat humiliating, as they Flyers conceded a total of 25 goals across those four games.
They were using the Eagles’ Super Bowl heroics as an inspiration for their postseason, with forward Jake Voracek saying “When you see that parade, you want to take part in one yourself”. Unfortunately for Voracek and his teammates, there’ll be no parade for the Flyers this year. Grading: C+
In the MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies are coming off a disappointing 2017, where they finished last in their division with a dismal record of 66–96. Just days into the 2018 season, new manager Gabe Kapler was loudly jeered by Phillies fans thanks to some questionable pitching rotation decisions, but things are beginning to improve for the 2008 World Series champions.
They are currently 2nd in the NL East - a division which was meant to be a two-horse race between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets - and Kapler has even won over a few fans. Grading: C
Philadelphia’s Overall Sports Grade: A
The Eagles’ first ever Super Bowl win carries more weight than other sporting success (or disappointment) in Philadelphia so far in 2018.
A gut-wrenching Super Bowl loss to the Eagles combined with former backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo starring in San Francisco was a bitter pill to swallow for Patriots fans, but let’s remember, the Pats did win five Super Bowls between 2002 and 2017!
Some media outlets continue to report that all is not well at the Patriots, with rumours of unrest between Belichick and Brady, along with an uncertain future for larger-than-life tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
Tom Brady is currently 40 years old, and unfortunately, he can’t play forever. Will the Pats regret trading Jimmy G? Watch this space. Grade: B
Many pundits were quick to write off the Celtics’ title chances when Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the entire postseason, but the Eastern Conference could open up for the C’s if they get past the Bucks in the opening round of the playoffs, and especially if the Pacers can upset Cleveland.
We’re not saying they will win the championship this year, but Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and former first-round pick Terry Rozier, along with head coach Brad Stevens have given fans a glimpse into the exciting road ahead for the Celtics, particularly when Irving and Hayward return next season. Grade: B
The Celtics’ arena cotenants, the Boston Bruins, were one of the favourites to lift the NHL’s Stanley Cup, and enjoyed the second best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season with 50 wins.
However, the Bruins will need to overcome a tough Toronto team in the first round of the playoffs, otherwise the success of the regular season will be viewed as a waste. We’re backing them to get the job done and go on a deep postseason run, but a loss to the Maple Leafs will not be received well by their expectant fan base. Grade: A
After seeing their arch rivals - the New York Yankees - steal the headlines in the offseason by signing 2017’s home run leader Giancarlo Stanton, the Red Sox won 12 of their first 14 games this season, a franchise record. They have a strong pitching staff, but will be praying that the enigmatic David Price can enjoy a consistent 2018.
With the highest payroll in baseball (USD $223 million), the Sox are a playoffs or bust franchise, and we will need to reassess their year once the postseason concludes. Grade: B
Boston’s Overall Sports Grade: B+
This could quickly turn into an A or even an A+ depending on what happens in the NBA and NHL playoffs, while the big spending Red Sox will also help or hinder Boston’s overall grade.
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