Players have come and gone. One venue is no more (Veterans Stadium), while two others have risen on Pattison Avenue (Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field). The Philadelphia fandom experienced frustrating cases of déjà vu (three consecutive NFC Championship Game losses by the Eagles) and exhilarating highs (one significant moment comes to mind). We watched as a legend pack his bags, only to return three years later in an attempt to reinvigorate a franchise on the fast track to nowhere. We witnessed the tenuous marriage between a disgruntled wide receiver and his oft-maligned quarterback disintegrate into a national mess. We held out hope that the underachieving Orange and Black would get over the hump and we cried in triumph when the boys of summer finally ended the championship drought on a cool October night.
From the mastery of Allen Iverson (remember Tyron Lue and 60 points?) to the recent excellence of Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the final days of 2009, the decade in Philadelphia sports was certainly never dull. For all the grumbling, fans will never forget 4th and 26, Keith Primeau’s multiple postseason heroics, or Jimmy Rollin’s magical swing to win Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS. Of course, there were plenty of villains and heartache. The Flyers collapsed after holding a 3-1 series lead over the hated New Jersey Devils in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals. The 76ers ran into the Lakers dynasty of Shaq and Kobe, falling 4-1 in the 2001 NBA Finals. The Eagles were thwarted by the likes of Ricky Manning Jr., Tom Brady, and Kurt Warner (twice). The Phillies became the first professional sports team to reach 10,000 losses and continually fell short of the playoffs.
- 76ers (with five games remaining in 2009)- Regular season record: 416-399 (.510), 1 division title, 7 playoff appearances (including the one after the 1999-2000 season), 1 NBA Finals appearance, 0 championships. Best description for the decade: An opening flash of success, followed by early playoff exits and poor roster moves.
- Eagles (with two games remaining in 2009)- 103-55-1 (.651), 5 division titles, 8 playoff appearances, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 0 championships. Best description for the decade: Although the story can be rewritten in the weeks to come, the Eagles of the Reid-McNabb era have fallen painfully short of their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. Very good? Yes. Great. No, not yet at least.
- Flyers (with four games remaining in 2009)- 360-253-55-65 (94 points per year), 3 division titles, 8 playoff appearances, 0 Stanley Cup appearances. Best description for the decade: Always in the thick of the chase for the Cup, but never an elite team when it counted.
- Phillies- 850-769 (.525), 3 division titles, 3 playoff appearances, 2 pennants, 1 World Series title. Best description for the decade: Who would have guessed that the Phillies would end the title drought? They built a strong foundation around homegrown talent, including Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley, and grew into one of the greatest teams in the city's history. With the help of some key acquisitions, they became the best National League squad in more than a decade.