Here's why Philadelphia's run of 100 seasons without a championship is so depressing: Just before the era of futility began, Philly was arguably the dominant sports town in the entire nation.
I came of age in the City of Brotherly Love when the Phillies were a playoff regular and screamed my lungs out when Bob Boone dropped the foul ball and Pete Rose caught it in the 1980 World Series. I was in Section 737 of the Vet when Wilbert Montgomery broke through the Cowboys line to race to the end zone and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl. And like any Flyers fan, I was just as proud of their violence as their victories.
Then after the 1982-83 76ers swept the Lakers, everything fell apart. Rick Dempsey led the Orioles past the "Wheeze Kid" Phillies in the 1983 World Series. Sixers owner Harold Katz got too smart for his own good and shipped away Moses Malone and the No. 1 overall pick in the 1986 draft for nothing. The Eagles hire the brilliant Buddy Ryan but saddle him with the worst offensive coordinator in NFL history in Rich Kotite. And the Flyers resort to something called "Flockey Hockey," abandoning their tough guy approach in favor of finesse and falling apart in the process. Even the Rocky movies got progressively worse.
Most Philadelphians didn't care throughout '80s because the memories of those great teams were still so vivid and Dr. J, Mike Schmidt and Bobby Clarke were still around. Then we had new hope in the '90s with Randall Cunningham and the Eagles' dominant defense, that great '93 Phillies team, Charles Barkley in his prime and the arrival of Eric Lindros. But along came the Cowboys, Mitch Williams, Michael Jordan's Bulls and Lindros' father to ruin all those teams.
The new millennium brought Allen Iverson, Donovan McNabb and Ryan Howard, but they haven't gotten the job done either. Things got so desperate, we had to point to a horse, Smarty Jones, for hope. And even he choked.
Someone once asked me if I was afraid Philadelphia fans would lose their identity if we finally won a title. Sort of like Red Sox Nation lost its bite after Boston captured the World Series. Forget identity. We're the city that booed Santa Claus. We have plenty of identity. Give us a title. I'm sick of sitting at home watching my DVDs of Invincible and Rocky and daydreaming about walking down Broad Street with the gait of a champion once again.
I dare anyone out there to argue they've had it harder than us Philly fans. Sure, cities like Cleveland and Buffalo have fallen on hard times, but they were never that good in the first place. Give us your thoughts on notable losing sports cities.