Philadelphia, the sports city, is an enigma. On one hand, you have a Flyers team that has recently fallen out of grace due to four-and-a-half years of mediocrity under Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol. Now, they find themselves in the playoff hunt, albeit early in the season. Fans are excited, and with good reason. The kids are up, they’re in a playoff spot, things are going great!
On the other hand, you have a team like the Philadelphia Eagles. Two seasons ago saw them win the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Things haven’t been the same ever since.
The past two years, the Eagles were pinned with lofty expectations. Many saw them as favorites, both years, to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Last season, they made the playoffs, but suffered a loss in the divisional round at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. The fans took solace in the fact that, “at least the Cowboys didn’t make it further than us.”
Fast-forward to week 14 of the NFL season. The Eagles are 6-7, tied for the NFC East lead with the Cowboys, but not owning the tie-breaker. Call it a fall from grace, call it what you will. The fact of the matter is, they haven’t lived up to the hype surrounding this team to begin the year.
What you have here is two teams in the exact opposite position. For the past few years, the Flyers have been mediocre, or bad. The Eagles have been stellar, and usually favorites to win their division. Sure, the Eagles brought home a Super Bowl victory and the Flyers haven’t sniffed a Stanley Cup. That’s the main contributing factor to this fanbase and their outlook.
Now, Flyers and Eagles fans are usually one in the same. If you root for one team, you’ve got to root for the other three, right? Thats a discussion for another time…
Regardless, these past couple seasons have seen Eagles fans clamoring “Super Bowl or bust,” and rightfully so. The team, entering the season, has looked great on paper. The end result, however, doesn’t match the initial description. Just ask this guy.
While it’s easy to get ahead of yourself when looking at a team on paper, erring on the side of caution is the better approach. The Flyers looked pretty good on paper entering this season, but many pegged them to finish behind the New York Rangers, and the “vastly” improved New Jersey Devils.
It’s tempering expectations. It’s being optimistic, even though you know the end result may not be a Lombardi trophy, or Stanley Cup for that matter. While the Flyers do look better on paper, and have been playing much better as of late, there’s no reason to run around claiming they’re coming for a Stanley Cup.
Would it be nice? Dumb question.
It’s ok to take a step back every now and again to just enjoy recent successes your favorite team is experiencing. There’s no need to declare “Stanley Cup or bust!” just because the Flyers have had a great month of November. Just because one analyst favors the Flyers as the Stanley Cup champions, doesn’t mean you have to live or die by his words.
Set your own expectations, enjoy the game as a fan. Clamoring for the most coveted prize in the NHL only disappoints yourself when it doesn’t happen. It’s ok to be cautiously optimistic about the Flyers right now. After being preached patience for so long, things are finally starting to pan out, which is great! No need to demand a Stanley Cup right away, but ok to expect this team to be better than they have in the past few years.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre