Hub vs. Brotherly Love: Ready for another Boston-Philly battle?
READY FOR ANOTHER BOSTON-PHILLY BATTLE?
Chowder vs. Cheesesteaks. Old North Church vs. The Liberty Bell. Ben Franklin vs. ...well, Ben Franklin (he spent time in both cities). Boston and Philadelphia have a rivalry that stretches back to the nation's founding.
The two cities get another shot at each other in Super Bowl 52 as the Patriots again take on the Eagles for NFL supremacy as they did 13 years ago (New England 24, Philadelphia 21).
It got us to thinking of some of the more memorable sports skirmishes between the Hub and the City of Brotherly Love:
RUSSELL VS. CHAMBERLAIN
They are forever linked as one of sports greatest head-to-head rivalries. In the 60s, it was Russell's defense and rebounding for the Celtics, against Chamberlain's scoring for Philadelphia Warriors, then 76ers (and later the Los Angeles Lakers) Chamberlain usually won the individual stat battles but Russell (11 titles to Chamberlain's two) got the rings.
BRUINS VS. FLYERS 1974 STANLEY CUP FINALS
The Big, Bad Bruins vs. The Broad Street Bullies. Bobby Orr vs. Bobby Clarke. It doesn't get more old-time hockey than that. Orr and the Bruins came out of the short end of the matchup as the Flyers, born in 1967, captured their first Cup with a hard-fought, six-game series victory. Philly closed out the Bruins before a raucous home crowd at The Spectrum behind a 30-save performance from Bernie Parent in a 1-0 victory, denying Orr his third Cup with the Black and Gold.
CELTICS VS. SIXERS 1981 AND '82 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
The Russell-Chamberlain legacy was passed down to Larry Bird and Julius Erving. In Bird's second season in the NBA, his Celtics met Doc's Sixers in a seven-game classic for the right to move on to the NBA Finals. Boston came back from a 3-1 series deficit and won Game 7 at the old Garden, 91-90 as Bird rallied the C's from a seven-point deficit in the final minutes to win it on left-side, bank shot with less than a minute to play. Boston went on to beat Houston for the NBA title. The Sixers got a measure of revenge the next season. The C's again rallied from a 3-1 series deficit in the East finals but were handed a rare Game 7 loss at the Garden, where the "Beat L.A." chant began as Boston fans serenaded the victorious Sixers. Despite the chant, Philly would go on to lose to Magic Johnson and the Lakers in the '82 NBA Finals.
BRUINS VS. FLYERS 2010 EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
It's one Bruins fans would love to forget as their 3-0 series lead turned into a seven-game nightmare of a loss. The Flyers also trailed 3-0 in Game 7 before rallying against the B's and Tuukka Rask for a 4-3 victory - Simon Gagne scored the game-winner in the clincher - to add the Bruins to the ignominious list of teams that blew a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series (hello, 2004 Yankees). The Bruins would get a measure of revenge by sweeping the Flyers in 2011 on their way to winning the Stanley Cup.
SUPER BOWL XXXIX: PATRIOTS VS. EAGLES
This one was a three-point victory for the Pats (24-21) in Jacksonville as they won their third Lombardi Trophy in four years (a feat they'll try and bookend against the Eagles on this Super Sunday) to solidify themselves as an NFL dynasty. Still, it never seemed as close as the final score as Donovan McNabb and the Eagles threw up on themselves (literally and figuratively) with some poor clock management as they tried to rally against New England. Deion Branch was named the game's MVP - the only non-Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP in Patriots history - after he caught a Super Bowl-record-tying 11 Brady passes for 133 yards.