Close. It only seems to matter with horseshoes and hand grenades – if only it counted for Super Bowls and World Series, would the city of Philadelphia be heading into the work week with their heads held high. Instead, after a heart-wrenching 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphians across the nation are nursing a collective emotional (or in many cases a very real) hangover, leaving fans of our city’s sports teams to wonder: is this some kind of a cruel joke?
In the span of 99 days, Philadelphia has lost three straight championship games – starting with the Phillies loss to the Houston Astros in the World Series, followed by the Union’s loss to the Los Angeles FC in the MLS Cup Final, and now yesterday’s loss in the Super Bowl. It feels like a bad dream, like all of these losses shouldn’t have been possible, not in the same season.
Here’s why it’s not as bad as it seems.
Fortunately, Ricky Bobby’s famous “If you ain’t first, you’re last” mantra only applies to the silver screen and not to real-life professional sports franchises, even more specifically the Philadelphia Phillies. Unlike the Eagles, the Phillies did not have a dominant regular season – but they had stretches of dominance scattered throughout. Rob Thomson’s eight game win streak upon taking the interim manager title. Another nine game win streak soon after, the first since 2011 en route to a historical resurgence in the dog days of summer and the team’s first playoff berth in 11 years and first World Series appearance since 2009. As painful as this string of losses have been, it’s even more promising for what’s to come. For the Phillies and the Eagles, the loss in the championship round of their respective sports could signify the beginning of a dynasty. In 2022, both teams proved more than capable of demolishing their opponents and worthy of being named amongst their leagues’ elite. Now, just get ready for next year.