The Phillies would never admit to cheering on the failures of their next-door neighbors, but somewhere in the front office, an executive is smiling.
Eagles nation bid farewell to the 2005 season last night, among other things. After a 42-0 rout at the hands of the Seahawks, the most lopsided in the history of Monday Night Football and one of the worst in franchise history, all signs point toward the crumbling of Camelot.
The good news is next season will bring a fresh start, less drama and a healthy return for quarterback Donovan McNabb. The bad news is there are too many holes to assume a Super Bowl return, let alone a playoff return. In the time it takes to revamp the Xs and Os this summer at Lehigh, a new class of talented teams, including Seattle, will have emerged younger, hungrier and better. Self-motivation, effort and the desire to win will be critical.
But don’t count on it. Even the best teams don’t stay on top for long.
How does this effect the Phillies, a justifiable second-fiddle to a team that played in the Super Bown just 10 months ago? To start, it's less of a distraction. How much more attention can possibly be paid to a season that is now being regarded as a bump in the road? How much more can be written or discussed on sports radio?
How much more before it all goes out of style?
The Phillies should view this opportunity as chance to rocket back into the spotlight, even if it takes opening their wallet a little wider. The hiring of an experienced GM like Pat Gillick has sparked new interest, and I would even go so far as to say "confidence." An even bigger splash would occur if they deal for a stud pitcher, which is what the team needs most. As reports have indicated, don’t be surprised if it becomes a reality, though time is running out. Nothing puts people in the seats like winning.
Based on this new Eagles development, the Phillies can start their own chapter in December, impossible to do the last few seasons. They already have a solid foundation worth seeing. Players like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley finished red-hot. They’re young, they’re hungry. They’re just plain exciting.
Wouldn’t it be something to hear a “Phillies” chant instead of an “Eagles” chant in Citizen’s Bank Park this summer, or will fans turn their backs and walk away, just like thousands did last night at halftime?
Either way, your hometown nine is closer to the prize than the team in green, by virtue of their 0-0 record.