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The biggest losers from Super Bowl 52

The biggest losers from Super Bowl 52

The fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will have a parade on Thursday, celebrating our first Super Bowl victory. It’s a celebration of Doug Pederson, Nick Foles, and every man on this roster, and every Eagles roster before it. It is a day of good vibes, happy thoughts, and free beer. It is, quite simply, a day for Champions.

But hey, it’s also fun to acknowledge there were some pretty big losers this Sunday.

There was Tom Brady, the sorest loser of all, who didn’t shake Nick Foles’ hand and showed that five Super Bowl rings can’t buy you class. There was Cris Collinsworth, who maybe, just maybe, was secretly hoping the Patriots would get Numero Six. There was even President Trump, who’s probably bummed his close personal friends won’t be able to visit this offseason.

But there’s no bigger loser than the New York Giants.

Sure, the Dallas Cowboys fans, with their two playoff victories in the past twenty-two years, have to be feeling pretty crummy. Same with Washington, who also has just two playoff wins in the past quarter-century. Watching Foles have more postseason success in a month than they’ve had in a generation is the sort of thing that will make a 75-year-old oil man scream into his pillow.

But there’s no bigger loser than the New York Giants.

Giants fans have built their bravado for the past quarter-century on the idea of RINGS. Eli Manning has RINGS; it doesn’t matter that he’s a goof, or that he’s handed out interceptions like hugs, or that he has the leadership qualities of a month-old avocado. Eli has RINGS, and he got them against Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots, defeating the GOAT quarterback and the GOAT coach on the world’s biggest stage, and being the only team on the planet who was able to make that claim.

Well, the only ones, until Sunday night.

The Eagles' Super Bowl victory diminishes the Giants only real accomplishment in the millennial age. Don’t get me wrong; they still have two to our one, and four overall. I’m sure every Giants fan who fell back on the line ‘The Eagles have never won a championship!’ in arguments the past thirty years will still be quick to point this out. Inarguably, they still have that (for now).

But it seems safe to say the sting of that sentence doesn’t burn nearly as bad as it did a week ago.

Through all their bravado, Giants fans know the truth; since the turn of the millenium, our Iggles have owned them. I mean, OWNED them. We’ve owned them so thoroughly, we should have to pay John Mara a salary. The Birds are 25-14 against New York since 2000, and 12-4 since 2010. That includes knocking them out of the playoffs in the seasons before AND after there 2007 Super Bowl Championship. It includes the Brian Westbrook miracle return to kick-start the Birds' season in 2003, and of course the Mike Vick/DeSean Jackson Miracle at the New Meadowlands. Shoot, let’s throw the 61-yard Jake Elliott game-winner from earlier this week too, just for kicks (no pun intended).

Giants fans know the Birds have been better than them in every aspect for a while. Those two Eli Super Bowls have been the spray of Febreeze over what's been a pretty stinky franchise overall. They’re 137-139 since 2000, and just 42-54 since the last Super Bowl win in 2012. That’s despite having an (alleged) franchise quarterback in Eli Manning since 2004.

The Birds, meanwhile, are 172-115 since 2000. The truth is, the Giants stopped being scary to the Eagles the same time that Y2K did. All they’ve really had to hold on to is that they’ve beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Now they’re not the only ones.

So enjoy the celebrations, Eagles fans, because there is so much to celebrate. The Balboa-esque story of No. 9, the reality that this team is here to stay, the fact that we finally get to buy these hideously ugly hats ($39.99? Worth it!)... or even just the free beer. There’s plenty of reason this week to hug your loved ones, thump your chest, and scream PHILLY PHILLY at the top of your lungs.

The misery it causes Giants fans is just an added bonus.

Philly won weird Super Bowl bet with Brockton, Massachusetts

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Mayors of Philly/Brockton

Philly won weird Super Bowl bet with Brockton, Massachusetts

Mayor Jim Kenney doesn't seem to fully understand the concept of a sports wager.

The general rule I like to follow: if you win a bet, you GET SOMETHING OF VALUE in return.

Now, the Mayor of Philadelphia won a bet with the city of Brockton, Massachusetts, and he has to SEND THEM STUFF.

Makes no sense.

Anyway, I guess the city of Brockton now has to dress their Rocky Marciano statue up in Eagles gear. Lulz. So Mr. Kenney is shipping them some goods. I hope the people of New England had to pay for it.

As Eagles fans know all too well, the official Eagles gear is not cheap.

Did the Sixers Really Win That Game II: The Portis vs. The Process

Did the Sixers Really Win That Game II: The Portis vs. The Process

Geez, if you only watched the ends of the last two Philadelphia 76ers games, you'd think they were owed years' worth of good karma from getting perpetually screwed in the fourth quarter or something. That's right, the basketball gods may have finally approved the Sixers' line of credit: One game (and eight days) after Brett Brown's squad came back from 20-plus down to squeak one past the Miami Heat, the team again pulled out a miracle last night in Chicago, coming from five down in the final minute against the Bulls to win 116-115. 

And boy, did this one feel like a loss, too. After surging out to a 25-7 lead in the first, the Sixers quickly relinquished the majority of their lead to the Bulls, who pulled even in the third and kept the Sixers from ever running away with it. They hit an absurd 18 threes, tying a season high, and two role players posted career highs: starting wing David Nwaba (21 points on 9-14 shooting) and bench forward Bobby Portis (38 points on 15-26 shooting, including a stupefying 6-9 from three). 

Meanwhile, the Sixers went cold down the stretch; Robert Covington missed a clean look at a three, Ben Simmons missed two of two from the line, Joel Embiid dribbled the ball off his foot. When Zach LaVine hit a tough pull-up three to put Chicago up five with a minute to go, and then Cov missed an open baseline two, it almost felt a merciful end to our suffering. 

But somehow, that wasn't it. Portis shot a long two a little too quickly at the other end and missed, and Simmons put back his own miss at the other end for a quick two to cut it to three. LaVine bricked a tough jumper with 17 to go, and J.J. got fouled at the other end to prevent a possible tying three. He made both, and then good ball denial on the ensuing Chicago inbounds led to an Embiid steal and pass to Simmons, who got fouled. 

After going just 4-9 from the line to that point, Simmons calmly nailed both his free throws to put Philly up one. Embiid stonewalled a Portis attempt near the basket at the other end with seconds to go, Denzel Valentine's putback attempt missed, and the game was over, with the Philly outscoring Chicago 6-0 in the final minute to seal the W. 

It was beautiful, man. There aren't going to be many games in this life where you give up 18 threes, allow two opposing players to go for career highs, miss 14 free throws and go down five with 60 seconds to go and still somehow manage to win the damn thing. 

But there also aren't gonna be many teams in this life with a one-two punch as potent as Simmons and Embiid. The latter picked up where he left off at the All-Star Game, scoring 30 (on 11-17 shooting, including 3-3 from deep) with 13 boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks -- just a few box score tallies away from his first 5x5 game. And the former picked up where he left off before the All-Star Game, scoring a career-high 32 (13-18 shooting) to go with seven boards, 11 assists a steal and a block. And maybe most impressive of all? The two had just three turnovers between them in 69 combined minutes. 

Ben and Jo were nothing less than dominant on offense all night. They couldn't turn the faucet off on the Bulls defensively for most of the game -- though aside from a couple slow-ish rotations in the first half, I'm not even sure they played all that badly, rather just paying the three-point defense regression to the mean that Liberty Ballers writer Sean O'Connor had long been warning fans about

But in any event, Embiid finally got the best of Portis in the final minutes, shutting him down on a couple crucial possessions (including the final one), and he made the play of the night on that inbounds steal. When you have two transcendent talents -- as Embiid and Simmons undoubtedly have proven they are, even this early in their careers -- you win a lot of games you probably shouldn't, and gravity was finally on the Sixers' side tonight. 

Of course, the Sixers might not've needed such combined brilliance from their two best players if their supporting cast was able to pick up the slack a little. But no one else was really cooking for Philly last night, and as is becoming a distressingly frequent occurrence this season, Covington hit a couple shots early and then went flat for the rest of the game. Even on the Bulls broadcast, they were talking about how Cov was gonna have to hit shots in the playoffs for the Sixers to have a chance, and they're probably right: We need Rock's defense and smarts out there, but if he's gonna routinely brick open looks in big moments, he's gonna be a liability -- and he's now 6 of his last 29 from deep. 

But that's a concern for another day -- one that seems more and more likely to actually be upcoming at this point. In the meantime, Philly is 31-25, having won six in a row, and with a creampuff game coming up next at home against Orlando, before a three-game roadie against East playoff teams (Washington, Miami and Cleveland) that represents the only really tough swing remaining on the Sixers' schedule. The playoffs seem increasingly probable, and with Simmons and Embiid playing at this level, just about anything seems possible if we get there. Pity the foolish rival execs who still don't trust the process at this point.