FLYERS: "Elias Scores!..."
The 1999-2000 Flyers season was filled of moments we like to remember and others...not so much. Head coach Roger Neilson had to take a leave of absence in February due to detected bone cancer. Replacing him was interim coach Craig Ramsey. Not to mention, within a month of Ramsay under the helm, captain Eric Lindros suffered his second concussion of the season, forcing him to miss an extended period of time. In March, the front office decided to give the "C" to defenseman Eric Desjardins because of Lindros's extended absence. This was a squad not only anchored by the play of these two guys, but also John LeClair, Mark Recchi and rookie Simon Gagne.
Not to mention, in January, long time fan favorite Rod Brind'Amour was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Keith Primeau.
This campaign was dedicated to the lives of two very close people to the organization. In 1999, the Flyers lost their beloved long-time broadcaster Gene Hart to cancer and talented young player Dmitri Tertyshny to a freak boating accident. By the time the playoffs came around with a record of 45-25-11-3, the Flyers collected 105 points to win the Atlantic Division and acquire the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the first round of the playoffs behind the incredible goal tending of young Brian Boucher, they demolished the Buffalo Sabres easily 4-1. In the semi-finals, the Flyers faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins and found themselves down 0-2 after the first two games. However, the Orange and Black managed to win the next four, with Game 4 being the most memorable. This game went an unheard amount of five overtimes. In the end, it was Primeau who netted the winning goal.
The conference finals that season is the series that left and continues to leave a lot of Flyers fans cringing and thinking "what if..." After dropping Game 1 to the hated New Jersey Devils, the Flyers would go on to win the next three and cement themselves one game away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in four years. In Game 5 at the then First Union Center, the Devils won 4-1. Then, in Game 6 with the return of Lindros after a long time on the injured list and missing the entire postseason up to that point, the Flyers lost 2-1. Lindros scored the lone goal for the Orange and Black. Game 7 is the contest that leaves a bitter taste in Flyers fans' mouths. Early in the game, Devils defenseman and captain Scott Stevens put a vicious hit on Lindros, knocking him out cold and out of the game.
That was the final time Lindros ever stepped on the ice in a Flyers uniform.
With the game tied 1-1 late in the 3rd period, New Jersey's Patrick Elias scored the game winning goal, which was the second for him in the contest. The Devils won the series and went on to eventually win the Stanley Cup.
76ERS: Pacers Run Over The Sixers Again
After a very exciting 1999 season that saw the 76ers make the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade, the 1999-2000 season was filled with just as much excitement. In a season dedicated to the memory of the late Wilt Chamberlain, Allen Iverson made his first All-Star game and the team improved under the head coaching of Larry Brown, finishing with a record of 49-33, good for the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.
The 76ers were gradually becoming one of the cities favorite teams. To compliment Iverson were role players such as Eric Snow, George Lynch, Aaron McKie, Theo Ratliff, and Toni Kukoc, who the Sixers traded for during the season.
In the quarterfinals, the 76ers easily handled Derrick Coleman and the Charlottle Hornets in four games, 3-1. However, in the semi-finals, they met the Indiana Pacers again, the top team in the Eastern Conference. After finding themselves down to the Pacers 3-0 for the second year in a row, a Matt Geiger/Reggie Miller in-game brawl led to a Sixers Game 4 win and a Miller suspension for Game 5 back in the Indiana. The Sixers excitingly won that contest to force Game 6 back in Philly, but sadly fell to the Pacers in that one, losing the series 4-2.
Constant bickering between player and coach, Iverson and Brown, led to major off-season speculation of whether or not "The Answer" would be a 76er for much longer.
PHILLIES: In The Cellar, But Building Towards A Promising Future
The 2000 Phillies season was a tale of "the same old story" since that magical 1993 Pennant winning year. The Phils finished with a dismal record of 65-97, good for last in the NL East. They were led by third baseman Scott Rolen, first baseman Rico Brogna, catcher Mike Lieberthal and pitcher Curt Schilling. Yet, at the trade deadline, the team dealt Schilling, per his request, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla. Other notable occurrences that happened in this season was Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins made their major league debuts, on May 24 and September 17 respectively. Oh yeah, and a guy by the name is Chase Utley was drafted with the 15th overall pick in June's amateur draft.
As you can see, Burrell is not wearing his usual No. 5. When he came into the bigs, he sported the No. 33. Anyway, since the Phils finished with another losing season way behind in the standings, the Phils felt it was necessary to excuse Terry Francona (yes...the guy who won two World Series with the Red Sox) and hire fan-favorite Larry Bowa as the new manager.
EAGLES: The Resurrection of The Birds
The 1999 season finished with a losing record, but much promise with the play of rookie quarterback Donovan McNabb and first year head coach Andy Reid. The 2000 campaign was about getting over that hump and making the postseason. The Eagles did just that. In McNabb's first season as full-time starting QB, it started off with a memorable onsides kick to open the first game in Dallas and finished with an impressive 11-5 record and a trip to the postseason for the first time since 1996. Not to mention, McNabb compiled the most rushing yards this season in any of the other ones he played in with 629 yards. He also had six rushing touchdowns.
The defense started becoming a name stay throughout the league under defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, with players like Hugh Douglas, who recorded a career high 15 sacks in 2000, Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent and Jeremiah Trotter.
On the last day of the year, the Eagles won their Wild Card playoff game as they demolished the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-3 at Veterans Stadium to advance to the Divisional Round, which happened on the other end of the calender.