It may sound a bit cliche, but winning is contagious and both the Sixers and Flyers are experiencing that first-hand thanks to the Lombardi Trophy won at Super Bowl LII being housed right across the street.
It’s February 15, exactly 11 days after the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII, defeating rival Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 41-33, in the second highest scoring title game of all-time. The parade itself is a week old, and yet the city of Philadelphia is still finding ways to celebrate it’s first Super Bowl championship. That’s not limited to the fans either, as both the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers have been feeling the brotherly love themselves.
Ever since the Eagles hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, both teams have played some of their best basketball and hockey respectively. The Sixers are the NBA’s fourth-hottest team, having won five straight (all at home) heading into the All-Star break, and the Flyers just lost their first post-Super Bowl game on Thursday. Doing so in overtime however, the team kept up their streak of getting at least one point in their five games since February 4.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 15, 2018
It may sound cliche, but winning is contagious, and considering the Sixers had been just 1-4 and the Flyers winless in their last four prior to the Eagles winning the Super Bowl, its clear both of these teams are riding a bump thanks to the Lombardi Trophy being housed right across the street.
Philadelphia is unique in that four of its five major sports teams (excluding the Philadelphia Union), all play in the same sporting complex. Being one of the only true cities with teams in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL, the close locale of the stadiums is something no other city can really boast. Sure, Chicago has its four teams in the same city but it still is nearly six miles to get from Soldier Field where the Bears play to Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs. It’s 27 miles to travel from Detroit’s Comerica Park, home of the Tigers, to The Palace of Auburn Hills, where the Pistons play. And New York, while they can boast the most professional sports teams of any city, technically doesn’t even have a football team, as both the Jets and Giants play in East Rutherford, NJ. Philly on the other hand, according to sportmapworld, which tracks the distance between any two stadiums in the world, lists the distance between Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center as well as Citizen’s Bank Park and the Linc, at a whopping zero miles. This allowed for Wells Fargo to light up green and the Philadelphia Phillies to display two huge banners, one wishing the Eagles luck in the playoffs, another congratulating them as champions after they won.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 5, 2018
That’s not to say that the close proximity is the only reason for the winning ways both the Sixers and Flyers are enjoying right now, but it helps, especially because it makes it much easier for the four teams to attend each others games and show their support, actually being genuine fans of one another. This is especially true right now, as prior to the Eagles’ win, all of these coaches and managers could really relate to each other and the struggle of a city being starved for not just a title, but a competitive team of any variety, in several years.
Led by Joel Embiid, who may only be surpassed by Jason Kelce as the quintessential Philadelphia athlete, the Sixers and Eagles have shared a close bond all season long. Prior to the Super Bowl, in a game where the Sixers played the Heat, they celebrated Brotherly Love Night. The Sixers wore their Brotherly Love city jerseys and the first 10,000 fans in attendance received green Brotherly Love t-shirts which featured the Eagles and Sixers logos. In addition, Franklin the Mascot was donned in Eagles gear, the dancers and dunk squad combined for a performance of “Fly Eagles Fly” and each of the players received custom Eagles jerseys.
Dario Saric on why Sixers have been so good at home: "Maybe that kind of Eagles atmosphere……you can feel the atmosphere(in city) is different."
— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) February 13, 2018
Prior to this game, Carson Wentz, who received a Sixers jersey of his own, and Alshon Jeffrey, were active on social media supporting Embiid and Ben Simmon’s cases to make the All-Star Game. But the close ties go back even before that, as Embiid has been a regular attendee at Eagles games and Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who was a guest at training camp, is a very vocal supporter of the team and the job his counterpart, Doug Pederson, has done all season long.
When it came time for the Super Bowl, Embiid was there, alongside teammate Justin Anderson. Rhys Hoskins, who garnered stardom in his own right during his rookie season last year for the Phillies, was there too, and admitted to feeling inspired afterwards.
“I really have fallen in love with the way the city of Philadelphia rallies behind its sports teams and the passion they show for them. I’m lucky enough to be part of the Phillies and get that feeling, but just to see the group of fans that were there at the game, the passion that they have throughout the whole game, that’s really easy to be a fan of…Not that I wasn’t hungry before, but if that doesn’t fire you up and motivate you to be on the other side — not as a fan, but as an athlete — I don’t know what does. I had people come up to me [in Minneapolis] and say, ‘We’ve been waiting for this our whole lives.’ Just the raw emotion and passion. It makes you hungry to have that as a player, and to be part of a city like that is special.”
Just like Embiid, Hoskins has embraced a true love of the city and its sports fans, something that will bode well for him as he continues his career. But he isn’t the only Phillie to have love for what the Eagles and what they were able to do for Philadelphia, as both Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels, neither of whom play for the team anymore, were spotted enjoying themselves while watching the Eagles Super Bowl parade, Chase Utley sent a good luck video alongside the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the Phillies made videos where former and current players showed their support for the city’s football team.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 4, 2018
Brown said it best right after the Super Bowl victory when he spoke to Crossing Broad
“We want to play in the playoffs. We have five games (in a row) at home. To be able to look across the street and see what the Eagles did and how they did it, it’s an amazing story. They lost Carson (Wentz), they found a way as a staff and organization to just move on and get it done…When you feel the city and watch that team, when you live in this city, you recognize the stories of perseverance and you recognize that here we are too, right across the street. We want to share some of that. The snapshot that we all feel with the emotions of this city after it happened, you feel it, you hear it in the streets and it’s just a hell of a story that we take great pride in sharing a tiny portion of their excitement.”
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It is no surprise that the energy the Eagles have brought to the city has resonated with the other three major pro sports teams and motivated them in their own quests for championships. Both the Sixers and Flyers are experiencing it now and with baseball season right around the corner, the Phillies will hope to find their winning ways as well. And if winning really is contagious, well, let’s just say it’s winning season and everyone in Philadelphia is ready to catch the bug!