The Flyers' elimination made it 100 consecutive seasons without a title for Philadelphia's four major teams. That's far and away the record for a four-sport town -- a gold standard for civic sports futility.
Philadelphia (yes, my hometown) has been a major trophy-free zone since 1983. The drought has battered the area's collective psyche, rendering an entire generation of sports fans wounded, disillusioned and emotionally bankrupt. Whether you chalk up the streak to bad players, bad management or just plain bad luck, the hard numbers remain the same: 100 seasons, zero championships.
Is there a pox on Philly's sports teams, like the Curse of Billy Penn purports? No. Every season is its own snapshot. But there's nervous (read: bad) energy generated throughout the city whenever one of our teams makes a deep playoff run, a palpable tension among the locals as the big game approaches. That much is real.
Sure, baseball and hockey lost years to work stoppages along the way. But we'd be remiss to discount those lost seasons: the calendar pages still turned and the pain still festered.
A lifetime of rooting for teams that always let you down has taught many Philly natives how to lose, itself an important life lesson. Fans have been conditioned for failure. They expect defeat. Compound this trend with the city's historical inferiority complex and you've got something worse than fatalism: It's the perverse sense deep down that we don't even deserve it.
To commemorate the dubious milestone, here's a list of the 100 worst moments in Philadelphia sports during the drought. The scope is limited to the four major sports with a couple of obligatory exceptions. While the sheer length of the list might strike an outsider as a tad gratuitous -- an excessive tribute to failure -- there's simply no better way to relate the epic scope of Philly's perpetual heartbreak.
100. Phillies lose 10,000th game in franchise history | July 15, 2007
With a nationally televised 10-2 loss to the Cardinals, the Phils become the first team in pro sports history to lose 10,000 games.
99. Eagles cough up 21-0 lead in Andy Reid's coaching debut | Sept. 12, 1999
You wouldn't think a team coming off a 3-13 season could manage to disappoint anybody. But the Eagles outdid themselves in Reid's debut, taking a 21-0 lead before letting the Cardinals rally for a 25-24 victory on a last-second Chris Jacke field goal.
98. Phillies sign Mark Leiter to two-year, $4.3M contract | Dec. 12, 1996
The terms might seem modest by today's standards but the Leiter signing was a big deal at the time considering Philly's famously thrifty front office. The righty ended up making history in two years with the Phils, becoming the first player to lead the league in losses and blown saves in back-to-back seasons. Huzzah!
97. Flyers ship Rod Brind'Amour to Carolina | Jan. 23, 2000
The return -- Keith Primeau -- wasn't so bad. But many fans felt betrayed by management's decision to trade away Brind'Amour, the beloved team captain and one of the most popular players in franchise history.
96. Eagles and Ravens kiss their sisters | Nov. 16, 1997
In possibly the ugliest football game ever, the Eagles and Ravens played to a 10-10 tie. But the biggest losers were the Baltimore-area Pizza Hut owners, whose season-long gimmick promising $1 off a large pizza on Monday for each Baltimore sack on Sunday backfired when the Ravens got to quarterback Bobby Hoying a franchise-record nine times. The area's 52 outlets ended up marking down pies to $1.69, creating multiple-hour waits and lines around the block.
95. Phillies trade Bobby Abreu to Yankees for nobody in particular | July 30, 2006
When general manager Pat Gillick sent Abreu to the Bronx for a four-pack of low-level prospects -- C.J. Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez and Carlos Monasterios -- longtime Philadelphia Daily News scribe Bill Conlin dubbed the deal as "The Great Gillick Giveaway."
94. Pistons eliminate Sixers from East quarters with 100-77 stomping | May 1, 2008
A preseason pick to finish in the East cellar, the Sixers were the feel-good story of the second half while rallying to an unlikely playoff spot. But after taking a 2-1 series lead against the Pistons in the first round, Detroit responded with three straight wins.
93. Eagles trade draft picks for Ron Solt | Oct. 4, 1988
The Eagles traded a first-round pick in 1989 and a fourth-round pick in 1990 to the Colts for the high-priced guard. The lineman didn't make his Philly debut until Oct. 26, playing part of two quarters before leaving the game with pain in his left knee and missing the remainder of the season. He was gone after three-and-a-half years.
92. Sixers sign Kenny Thomas to seven-year, $50M deal | July 16, 2003
Thomas was a serviceable, hard-working power forward but this expensive deal helped put the Sixers in salary cap jail for years.
91. Eagles blunder away statement-making Week 1 victory against Rams | Sept. 9, 2001
The up-and-coming Eagles opened the '01 regular season with the Rams at the Vet. Philly had the eventual NFC champs on the ropes when linebacker Quinton Caver tried to score on a fumble deep in St. Louis territory rather than falling on the ball. The Rams recovered instead and held on for a 20-17 overtime victory.
90. Black Tuesday | Feb. 9, 1999
A veteran Penn team hosted archrival Princeton at a jam-packed Palestra, one year after the Tigers finished 27-1 and peaked at No. 7 in the national rankings. The Quakers scored 29 unanswered points early, led 33-9 at halftime and 40-13 with 15:15 remaining. But the Tigers stormed back, took their first lead with 2:15 left and escaped with a miraculous 50-49 win -- their 35th straight Ivy League victory.
89. "Talkin' About Practice" | May 9, 2002
Was it blown out of proportion? Absolutely. But the negative perception from AllenIverson's famously surreal half-hour presser would reverse much of the national goodwill earned during his storybook '01 season and haunt the pint-sized scorer for the rest of his Philadelphia career.
88. Penguins throttle Flyers in East finals | May 18, 2008
The underdog Flyers played decently in spurts but never looked confident while falling into a 3-1 series hole. That's when the Penguins exploded for a 6-0 victory in Game 5, sending the Flyers limping home down Interstate 76.
87. Brian Westbrook KO'd for playoffs with Week 17 injury | Dec. 27, 2003
The scatback Westbrook, one-third of Philly's three-headed monster, led the team with 13 touchdowns during the '03 season. But a torn tricep suffered in a Week 17 blowout victory in Washington required surgery and the Villanova alum missed the playoffs. In his absence, the Eagles mustered just three points in an NFC title game loss to Carolina.
86. Sixers trade for disinterested Chris Webber | Feb. 23, 2005
Least favorite Philly sports pastime of the mid-2000s: Watching this gimpy, undersized forward pout and sulk in between hoisting 19-foot jumpers.
85. The Bobby Hoying era | 1997-98
Hoying won NFC Offensive Player of the Week in his third career start -- tossing four touchdowns in a thrilling 44-42 victory over Cincy -- and was immediately proclaimed Philly's quarterback savior. He went on to be sacked 63 times in just 15 games.
84. The 1993 NFL Draft | Apr. 25, 1993
Eight total picks. Five of the first 77 selections. Two first-round picks. A whole lot of nothing.
83. Reggie Miller demonizes Philly in East semis | May 19, 2000
The second-best team of the Iverson era won 49 games and entered the playoffs as a dark-horse Finals contender. But a typically cold-blooded performance fromMiller and sidekick Jalen Rose helped the Pacers send home the Sixers for the second straight year.
82. L.A. defense confounds Randall Cunningham in another wild-card setback | Dec. 31, 1989
On the one-year anniversary of the Fog Bowl (see No. 27), Rams defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmerconfounded Cunningham's improvisational offense with a pesky zone. The result: a 21-7 loss.
81. Flyers offense fires blanks against Leafs in 1-0 playoff ouster | May 2, 1999
Sergei Berezin's goal with 59 seconds left in regulation gave the Maple Leafs a series-clinching 1-0 victory. Curtis Joseph, passed over by the Flyers in free agency, made 26 saves in the shutout.
80. Fans boo Donovan McNabb at 1999 NFL Draft | Apr. 17, 1999
Hindsight undresses Eagles fans on this one. But I'll come clean: I wanted Ricky Williams too.
79. The Wet Chart Game | Oct. 16, 1994
Trailing the Cowboys by 17 points in the fourth quarter on a soggy afternoon, James Joseph scored a touchdown to pull the Eagles within 24-13. Coach Rich Kotite, for unknown reasons, opted for a two-point conversion. During the post-game presser, Kotite blamed it on the rain. "I must have read my chart wrong," Kotite said. "It must have gotten wet."
78. Eagles sign Steve Everett to five-year, $11.5M deal | Mar. 6, 1997
The Eagles assumed they'd found the anchor for their offensive line in Everett, the eccentric center who wore Megadeth Ts and hadn't cut his hair since 1991. His two-year stint proved an injury-marred disaster.
77. Phils trade for Freddy Garcia without doing their homework | Dec. 6, 2006
Overly eager to beat the Mets to the punch for Garcia, management ignored the warning signs -- like the right-hander's significant drop in velocity the previous September -- and brokered a trade with the White Sox in exchange for blue-chip prospect Gavin Floyd. Garcia made just 11 starts before a permanent trip to the DL, earning one win while collecting a $10M salary.
76. Controversial spot aids 49ers in victory over Eagles | Nov. 29, 1992
With the Eagles (7-4) trailing the Niners (9-2) late in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park, Cunningham connected with Calvin Williams on fourth-and-15 for an apparent first down. But a highly controversial spot resulted in a turnover on downs to end Philly's upset bid and, ultimately, their playoff hopes.
75. The Charles Barkley spitting incident | Mar. 26, 1991
Upset by a courtside heckler's alleged racial epithets in New Jersey, Barkley spit at his tormentor. But the All-Star forward "didn't get enough foam" and the substance ended up hitting an 8-year-old girl was sitting on her mother's lap. The league fined and suspended Barkley, and the subsequent public relations nightmare helped precipitate his trade out of Philly the following year.
74. Reid's trickery backfires in Big D | Oct. 12, 2003
Fool me once shame on you ... Three years after befuddling the Cowboys with a season-opening onside kick at Texas Stadium, Reid dialed up the trick play a second time with disastrous results. Randal Williams scooped up the David Akers kickoff and scurried 37 yards for a touchdown just three seconds into regulation -- the fastest score to start a game in NFL history. The gift-wrapped points proved decisive as Dallas held on for a 23-21 win.
73. Sabres' end Philly's conference title defense in five-game rout | May 1, 1998
One year after suffering a disappointing sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers confidently set out to defend their conference title. They wound up taking an enormous step backward as team captain Eric Lindrosbarely showed up for Philly's first-round flameout against the Sabres.
72. Eagles sign Tim Harris to replace Reggie White | April 21, 1993
In need of a replacement for the departed White, the Eagles inked Tim Harris from the 49ers for $4.75M over three years with $750,000 up front. He played four games before going on injured reserve with an infected elbow. Released after the season, Harris returned to the Niners.
71. Phillies sign Gregg Jefferies to four-year, $20M contract | Dec. 14, 1994
The Phils inked Jefferies to the biggest contract in franchise history at the time. The switch-hitting infielder spent four disappointing years in Philly -- bottoming out in 1997 with a .256 average -- before getting dealt to the Angels for fringe minor league pitching prospect Doug Nickle.
70. Third time's not the charm in Buddy Ryan's finale | Jan. 5, 1991
The Eagles' third straight wild-card exit -- a listless 20-6 loss to the Redskins at the Vet -- was painful enough in the short term. But the long-term impact proved much more harmful: The defeat greased the skids for the Kotite era.
69. Dixon's kickoff return deflates Eagles in divisional playoff | Jan. 7, 2001
Having suffered a regular-season sweep at the hands of the Giants, the fans in Philly spent the week leading up to a divisional playoff at the Meadowlands convincing themselves it was impossible to beat a team three times in one season. It took Ron Dixon just 17 seconds to debunk the theory, as the special teams ace raced back the game-opening kickoff 97 yards as part of New York's 20-10 win.
68. Legion of Doom short-circuits against Panthers in East semifinals | May 14, 1996
Philadelphia's celebrated Legion of Doom -- the forward line consisting of Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg -- played together just three seasons during the '90s. The trio enjoyed their most prolific season in 1996, combining for 121 goals and 134 assists, before coming up small in a six-game playoff defeat against Florida.
67. Eagles suffer 38-0 blanking in season opener | Sept. 6, 1998
In his first game since departing Philadelphia as a free agent, Seattle's Ricky Watters didn't score a touchdown. Neither did the Eagles. Philly logged the first of a franchise-record 13 losses, but the low point of the 1998 season didn't come until ...
66. Cowboys destroy Eagles, 34-0 | Nov. 2, 1998
Deion Sanders returned a punt for a touchdown at the end of the first half in the game which secured Philly's title as the laughingstock of the NFL. The Eagles became the first club in league history to be shut out twice at home in the same season by 30 points or more.
65. Phils stumble down stretch and miss playoffs again | September 2006
First-year general manager Gillick started dumping salaries on July 26 as the Phillies fell below .500. Alas, the team caught fire and took a half-game lead in the wild-card race with seven games remaining. But the Phils lost three of their next four to miss the playoffs for the 13th consecutive year and 22nd time in 23 seasons.
64. The Winston Justice game | Sept. 30, 2007
On the same day the Phillies won the NL East, the Eagles traveled to the Meadowlands sans Westbrook, Lito Sheppard, Brian Dawkins, William Thomas and L.J. Smith. Making his first career start at left tackle,Justice did his best impression of a turnstile, allowing six of New York's NFL-record 12 sacks in a 16-3 setback.
63. Sixers trade George Lynch for Derrick Coleman | Oct. 25, 2001
General manager Billy King got a lot of flak from Sixers fans during his tenure and deservedly so. But Larry Brown's fingerprints were all over this head-scratcher. Philly swapped a reliable glue guy and foot soldier for a notorious underachiever at the tail end of his career. No single move did more to hasten Philly's early-decade decline from contender to also-ran.
62. Eagles trade up to pick Antone Davis trade with No. 9 overall pick | Apr. 21, 1991
The Eagles traded their first-round pick in 1991 and 1992 to move up and select Antone Davis, a jelly doughnut of an offensive lineman whose career was finished by 1997.
61. Phillies sign Danny Tartabull | Feb. 20, 1997
Management made Tartabull their prized free-agent signing of the winter. But after getting hit by a pitch on Opening Day and breaking his foot, the veteran outfielder opted to sit out the year before retiring -- just seven at-bats into his Philadelphia career.
60. Eagles hit rock bottom with 42-0 humiliation against Seahawks at home | Dec. 5, 2005
WithMcNabb shelved for the season and the eventual NFC champs in town for Monday Night Football, the Eagles turned the ball over six times while enduring the franchise's most lopsided beating since a 62-10 loss to the Giants in 1972.
59. Eagles sign Chris Boniol to 4-year, $2.45 million contract | March 17, 1997
Just weeks after booting two field goals and three extra points to help the Cowboys to victory in Super Bowl XXX, the Eagles inked Boniol to a huge free-agent contract. He made under 70 percent of his field goal attempts during two years in Philly, including just 7-of-20 kicks from 40 to 49 yards.
58. Niners blank Eagles in wild-card playoff | Dec. 29, 1996
In a game marred by heavy rain and wind, the Niners knocked starting quarterback Ty Detmer out of the game. The punchless Eagles went on to suffer the first playoff shutout in franchise history.
57. J.D. Drew sits out whole year instead of signing with Phils | 1997
The Phils selected Drew with the second pick of the MLB draft despite warnings the FSU product wouldn't sign for a dime under $10 million. Philadelphia management held their ground and Drew spent a year playing with the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League.
56. Matt Bryant's 62-yard field goal stuns Eagles | Oct. 22, 2006
Westbrook's spectacular 52-yard touchdown with 33 seconds left in regulation put the Eagles ahead 21-20, capping a furious rally back from a 17-0 deficit. But Tampa Bay's Bryant -- 0-for-3 from beyond 40 yards on the season -- split the uprights from 62 yards as time expired.
55. Pat Croce "resigns" from Sixers | July 25, 2001
His rags-to-riches ascent from trainer to team president awakened the organization from its mid-'90s dormancy. But when the public face of the Sixers lobbied for a larger ownership stake following the team's Finals run, Ed Snider banished Croce to a greatly diminished consultant role.
54. Eagles cough up 17-point lead in overtime loss to Giants | Sept. 17, 2006
Choking away a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter against a hated rival was bad enough. But losing Jevon Kearse to a season-ending knee injury during an overtime period which never should have been played would haunt the Eagles the rest of the year.
53. Sabres eliminate Flyers from East quarters with 7-1 thumping | May 2, 2006
The Sabres netted three goals apiece in the first and second periods, forcing the Flyers to play out the final 20 minutes of their season in a virtually empty Wachovia Center.
52. Sixers win 18 games (somehow) | 1995-96
How ill-equipped was this awful, awful team? John Lucas frequently played 6-foot-7 Clarence Weatherspoon at center. The Sixers finished 42 games out of first place and logged more losses than the previous year for an NBA-record sixth straight season. Remember Trevor Ruffin, Derrick Alston and Greg Sutton? Me neither.
51. Jeff Garcia's Eagles bow to Saints in divisional playoff | Jan. 13, 2007
After losing Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews to a first-half injury, the Eagles dropped a 27-24 decision to the Saints.
50. No. 3 seed Villanova falls to No. 14 seed Old Dominion in three OTs | Mar. 17, 1995
Six days after Kerry Kittles, Jason Lawson and Alvin Williams helped Villanova knock off Connecticut for the school's first and only Big East championship, the Wildcats suffered a gut-wrenching 89-81 loss to ODU.
49. Scott Rolen forces trade to Cardinals | July 29, 2002
After rejecting a 10-year contract extension which could have been worth up to $140 million, Rolen signed a one-year, $8.6M deal with the intent of leaving as a free agent at season's end. Things turned ugly when an anonymous teammate called the All-Star third baseman a clubhouse cancer and Rolen publicly slammed the team for their lack of commitment to winning. The Phils eventually dealt Rolen to the Cardinals for Placido Polanco, pitcher Bud Smith and reliever Mike Timlin.
48. The Doug Moe era | 1992-93
Moe promised 50 wins with his up-tempo approach. He was fired after 56 games. The news broke the day after the Sixers suffered a 149-93 loss to the Sonics.
47. Cowboys bounce Eagles from playoffs for second time in three years | Jan. 7, 1996
After missing most of the week's practices to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, backup quarterback Cunningham was thrown into the fire when the Cowboys knocked Rodney Peete out of the game. Dallas overpowered Philly in a 30-11 rout, Cunningham's final game with the team.
46. Capitals eliminate Flyers with overtime goal in Game 7 | Apr. 16, 1988
After squandering a 3-1 series lead against Washington in the Patrick Division semis, the Flyers returned to the Capital Centre for the decisive Game 7 and sprinted out to a 3-0 lead. But the Caps rallied to force overtime and Dale Hunter's game-winner provided a downer ending to a roller-coaster season.
45. Eagles take Kevin Allen with No. 9 overall pick | Apr. 30, 1985
The Eagles selected Allen, a left tackle out of Indiana, with the ninth overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. He was gone after one season and later pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault. "He was a good player to have," mused Buddy Ryan, "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass."
44. Sabres bounce Flyers from playoffs in 8-0 rout | Apr. 21, 2001
After limiting Buffalo to two goals in four games during Philadelphia's regular-season sweep of the Sabres, Roman Cechmanek surrendered five goals during the first 24 minutes in Game 6 of a first-round series.
43. McNabb's season ended (again) with ACL tear | Nov. 19, 2006
McNabb's torn ACL marked the third time in five seasons the Pro Bowl quarterback was lost to injury with six or more games left in the season. Garcia stepped in and lead the Eagles to a surprising division title -- but McNabb would never take another snap without the dreaded injury-prone tag.
42. Larry Brown leaves Sixers for Pistons | June 2, 2003
One week after resigning as coach of the Sixers after six years, Brown reached a long-term agreement to coach the Pistons -- the team which eliminated Philadelphia from the playoffs weeks prior.
41. Bucs blanks Eagles in first game at Lincoln Financial Field | Sept. 8, 2003
The Eagles christened their sparkling $512 million stadium the same way they closed down the Vet: with an emotionally taxing loss to Tampa Bay. The Eagles couldn't even crack the scoreboard in a dismal 17-0 whitewashing to open the '03 season.
40. Terrell Owens horse-collared against Cowboys | Dec. 19, 2004
With victories in 12 of their first 13 games, it seemed nothing could go wrong for the high-flying Eagles. Then Dallas cornerback Roy Williams unleashed a since-outlawed horse-collar tackle on Owens, knocking Philadelphia's top receiver out for the regular season and NFC playoffs.
39. Celtics destroy Sixers with three-point flurry in Game 5 decider | May 3, 2002
After rallying back from a 2-0 series deficit to draw even with the Celtics in their first-round series, the Sixers carried the momentum into Game 5 at the FleetCenter. But after falling behind 87-77 through three quarters, the Sixers watched the Celtics drain their first nine attempts from beyond the arc in the fourth. Boston rolled away with a 120-87 victory.
38. "For Who? For What?" | Sept. 3, 1995
Ricky Watters sure knew how to make a first impression. The well-compensated free agent fumbled twice in his first game with the Eagles -- a 21-6 loss to the Buccaneers -- and drew throaty boos from the Vet crowd after short-arming a pass over the middle to avoid contact with a Tampa Bay defender. "I'm not going to trip up there and get knocked out," explained Watters. "For who? For what?"
37. Smarty Jones falls a nose short of Triple Crown at Belmont Stakes | June 5, 2004
Philadelphia came to embrace the thoroughbred from Someday Farm in Chester County, a stone's throw from the city. And when Smarty Jones became the first unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner since Seattle Slew in 1977, even casual sports fans took notice. But after winning at Preakness, the fan favorite fell short at Belmont when 36-to-1 longshot Birdstone made a late charge to win by a nose.
36. Cunningham suffers broken left leg against Bears | Oct. 10, 1993
After leading the Eagles to a promising 4-0 start, Cunningham broke his leg early in the season's fifth game. It was the quarterback's second season-ending injury in three years and marked the end of his time as franchise player.
35. The Tommy Hutton game | Sept. 15, 1997
After surrendering a last-minute score to fall behind 21-20 against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, the Eagles found second life when Ty Detmer completed a 46-yard pass to Freddie Solomon inside the Dallas 4. Needing just a Boniol chip shot to secure victory, holder Tom Hutton fumbled the snap, tried to run around the left end and fumbled before falling on the ball to end the game.
34. Nets end Philly's repeat bid with stunning rally | Apr. 26, 1984
In the fifth and deciding game of their first-round series, the Nets rallied from a 90-83 deficit for a stunning 101-98 victory over Philadelphia. One year after winning 12 of 13 games on their way to the title, the Sixers inexplicably lost each of their three home playoff games -- against a team which hadn't won a postseason contest in its seven-year NBA history.
33. Flyers fall one win short of first Finals appearance since '97 | May 22, 2004
After forcing a seventh game with a 5-4 overtime victory over the Lightning two nights prior, the Flyers fell agonizingly short of their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in seven years with a 2-1 loss in Tampa. A punchless power play -- just 1-for-25 in the series -- helped seal Philly's doom.
32. Last-second FG miss against Giants pops Philly's playoff bubble | Dec. 18, 1994
After sprinting to a 7-2 start, a second straight playoff trip seemed like a foregone conclusion. But a five-game skid set up a must-win game at the Vet against the Giants. Facing a 16-13 deficit in the waning seconds, Eddie Murray missed a game-tying field goal to extinguish Philly's playoff hopes. The Eagles lost a meaningless Week 17 game to finish the year with seven straight losses.
31. The Eric Lindros trade | June 30, 1992
Highly controversial to this day, the Flyers traded Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Peter Forsberg, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, a first-round draft pick and future considerations to Quebec in exchange for the rights to Lindros. While he won a Hart Trophy and helped the Flyers to a finals appearance, Lindros earned a reputation for wilting in the spotlight.
30. Dallas ends Philly's night and McNabb's season with dramatic TD | Nov. 14, 2005
The Eagles looked sharp throughout most of their first game since the banishment of Owens. But after the Cowboys scored with 3:04 left in regulation to pull within 20-14, McNabb fired an inexplicable interception to Roy Williams, who sprinted into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Adding injury to insult, McNabb suffered an season-ending aggravation of his sports hernia on the play.
29. Ty Shine spirits Seton Hall to upset of second-seeded Temple | Mar. 19, 2000
With all but one player back from the previous year's Elite Eight team, many believed Pepe Sanchez and Mark Karcher had the chemistry in place to bring legendary coach John Chaney to his first Final Four. But the Owls fell in the second round against Seton Hall, thanks to little-known reserve guard Ty Shine's eight three-pointers.
28. Bucks bounce Sixers from playoffs | May 11, 1986
Facing the Bucks in Game 7 of the East semis, Julius Erving's wide-open jumper from 15 feet in the waning seconds drew iron and Milwaukee escaped with a 113-112 victory. Philly's playoff failure led directly to ...
27. The 1986 NBA Draft | June 16, 1986
No single day was more responsible for accelerating Philly's fall from NBA supremacy. Determined to get younger in the middle and deeper up front, the Sixers traded Moses Malone and Terry Catledge to Washington for Cliff Robinson and Jeff Ruland, who retired after five games with a knee injury. They also dealt away the No. 1 overall pick to the Cavaliers in exchange for Roy Hinson.
26. The Fog Bowl | Dec. 31, 1988
The Bears scored a divisional playoff victory over the Eagles in a dense, enveloping fog. Cunningham threw for a franchise postseason record 409 yards, but Philadelphia's inability to navigate into the end zone proved fatal in the 20-12 ouster.
25. Oklahoma State debunks the Jameeracle on 54th Street | Mar. 27, 2004
The story of the year in college basketball during the '03-04 season centered around a small school from Philadelphia and its diminutive commander at the point. Jameer Nelson led St. Joe's to a No. 1 ranking and a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost 64-62 on a John Lucas III 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left in a thrilling regional final.
24. The Owens meltdown and fallout | 2005
Holdout threats. Training camp suspension. Sit-ups on the driveway. Next question! It was completely surreal and, in the end, just not worth the trouble.
23. Phils promptly swept by Rockies in NLDS | October 2007
After chasing and catching the Mets for the NL East title in September, the Phillies played like an emotionally spent team during a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rockies.
22. Cowboys end emotional playoff run for grief-stricken Eagles | Jan. 10, 1993
A Philly team which set out to "Bring It Home For Jerome" fell furlongs short of its goal in an emotional season-ending setback. Troy Aikman threw a pair of touchdowns and Emmitt Smith rumbled for 114 yards as the Cowboys rolled to a decisive 34-10 victory.
21. Rollie Massimino helps dismember the Big 5 | May 1991
Where else can you find five Division I programs within a 17-mile radius with 7,000 wins among them? The Big 5 schools -- La Salle, Penn, St. Joe's, Temple and Villanova -- had waged their annual round-robin for city bragging rights for generations. But the tradition was briefly halted during the early 1990s when 'Nova controversially cut their involvement to two City Series games a year instead of four, citing their Big East commitments.
20. Iverson's last days in Philadelphia | 2006
Perhaps the most divisive star athlete in city history, Iverson earned and repelled fans equally, but inspired both camps with his reckless playing style. His last months involved a benching on Fan Appreciation Night, fines, and alleged trade demands. The franchise's second all-time leading scorer never got a proper send-off at home.
19. Untimely September swoon costs Phillies playoff berth | September 2003
The Phillies held a half-game lead over the Marlins in the wild-card race with eight games left, but dropped two straight at home to the woeful Reds and three straight in Florida to miss the playoffs yet again. Philly closed the year with losses in 12 of their final 13 meetings with the Marlins.
18. Reggie White signs with Packers as free agent | Apr. 9, 1993
While Philly fans had long been accustomed to losing players to bigger markets, watching the team's all-time sack leader opt for a future in Green Bay proved particularly painful.
17. Eagles drop NFC title game thriller in St. Louis | Jan. 27, 2002
The Eagles took a 17-13 lead into halftime, but Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce proved too much to handle in the second half as Philly suffered a heartbreaking 29-24 loss in its first conference title game appearance since 1980.
16. Phils bow meekly in 1983 World Series | Oct. 16, 1983
The Phillies milked one more year out of their collection of holdover veterans from the 1980 World Series champs. But the Wheeze Kids, as they were dubbed, didn't put up much of a fight in a five-game loss to the Orioles.
15. John Chaney's fifth Elite Eight loss is most painful | Mar. 25, 2001
Chaney's dream of reaching the Final Four fell short again in his fifth trip to the Elite Eight, when the Quincy Wadley-led Owls suffered a 69-62 loss to Michigan State.
14. Lakers knock out Sixers in Game 5 of NBA Finals | June 15, 2001
The Sixers captured the heart of a blue-collar, championship-starved city with their hard-working and defiant approach. When they finally ran out of comebacks against the Lakers in the fifth game of the '01 Finals, the Philadelphia fans gave the team a 10-minute standing ovation after the final horn sounded.
13. Claude Lemieux silences the Spectrum | June 11, 1995
After sweeping the Rangers in the East semis, the Flyers promptly dropped two straight at home against the Devils in the conference finals. But Philly rallied to tie the series with two wins at the Meadowlands and brought momentum home for the pivotal Game 5. That's when Claude Lemieux's goal with 44.2 seconds remaining broke a 2-2 tie, and put the Devils in position for a six-game series victory.
12. Sixers select Shawn Bradley with No. 2 overall pick | June 30, 1993
The gangly 7-foot-6 center out of Brigham Young signed a $44M contract, the most lucrative deal in Philadelphia sports history at the time, and ended up becoming a symbol of the team's mid-1990s ineptitude. Bradley hadn't played competitively for two years while working as a Mormon missionary in Australia and it showed. The Sixers gave up on their pet project after just two-and-a-half seasons and sent Bradley to New Jersey in a trade for Derrick Coleman.
11. Red Wings dispense of Flyers in Stanley Cup Finals | June 7, 1997
The Flyers went down like lambs against the Red Wings in four games, a quiet end to the team's first Finals trip in a decade. Philadelphia mustered just six goals in the entire series, with Lindros held scoreless until his meaningless tally with 30 seconds left in Game 4.
10. 1993 World Series, Game 4 | Oct. 20, 1993
Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter would deliver the coup de grace three nights later in Toronto, but when Larry Andersen and MitchWilliams couldn't hold down a 14-9 lead in the eighth inning of Game 4, you knew the Phils were cooked. The Phils dropped a 15-14 decision -- the highest-scoring game in Fall Classic history.
9. Sixers trade Barkley to Suns | July 17, 1992
In the classic three-quarters-for-a-dollar trade, Sixers owner Harold Katzsent Philly's iconic power forward to the Suns for JeffHornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry. Philadelphia slipped from 35 to 26 victories the following season while Barkley won Most Valuable Player honors and led Phoenix to the Finals.
8. Cunningham injures knee in regular-season opener | Sept. 1, 1991
The Eagles opened the Kotite era with Super Bowl aspirations, but it all unraveled in Week 1 when the reigning NFL MVP went down with a season-ending knee injury. The team went through five different quarterbacks including Pat Ryan -- signed by Kotite off a construction site -- and still managed 10 victories on the strength of Bud Carson's defense, the fifth unit in NFL history to be ranked No. 1 against the run, No. 1 against the pass and No. 1 overall.
7. Flyers fall one win short of Stanley Cup against Oilers | May 31, 1987
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead in the seventh and deciding game of the Stanley Cup Finals against Wayne Gretzky's Oilers. But Edmonton roared back on goals from Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson and secured the victory. Ron Hextall made 40 saves in the game and took home Conn Smythe honors as the MVP of the playoffs, which provided little solace.
6. Eagles lose NFC title game for third straight season | Jan. 18, 2004
The Eagles fell one game short of the Super Bowl for the third straight year with a 14-3 loss to Carolina in the NFC title game. McNabb tore rib cartilage on a late hit by linebacker Greg Favors and ended up going to the bench in the fourth quarter for understudy Koy Detmer.
5. Sixers miss shot to take '01 Finals stranglehold with Game 2 loss | June 8, 2001
After stunning the heavily favored Lakers with an overtime victory in Game 1, the Sixers had a golden opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead back to Philadelphia. Trailing by 13 points in the fourth quarter, Larry Brown's charges used a 13-3 run to close within three points with 2:12 left. But late baskets from Derek Fisher and Robert Horry helped bail the Lakers out, splitting the series at a game apiece.
4. Super Bowl XXXIX | Feb. 6, 2005
There was no shortage of talking points following a 24-21 loss to the Patriots, from Philly's failure to capitalize on the Patriots' first-quarter errors to the still-unexplained, time-sapping drive in the fourth quarter.
3. Flyers complete epic East finals collapse against archrivals | May 26, 2000
After taking a 3-1 series lead against the Devils, the Flyers mustered just three goals in three games against their Turnpike nemeses to complete a painful seven-game meltdown. Game 7 is best remembered for Scott Stevens' punishing but clean first-period check to knock Eric Lindros out of the game. Lindros would never suit up for the Flyers again.
2. 1993 World Series, Game 6 | Oct. 23, 1993
Philadelphians still have a hard time understanding why Jim Fregosi inserted Williams into the game for the ninth inning with the Phils clinging to a 6-5 lead just days after Williams took the loss in the Game 4 disaster. Relief pitchers Roger Mason, David West and Larry Andersen had been shutting down the Blue Jays after starter Terry Mulholland departed in the sixth inning. Williams' fastball to Carter famously ended up in the SkyDome's left-field seats. Touch 'em all, Joe.
1. 2002 NFC Championship Game | Jan. 19, 2003
The blindside factor makes the NFC title game between the Eagles and the Bucs the choice as the definitive Philly sports tragedy of the drought era. The idea of losing to Tampa Bay in the final game in Veterans Stadium history was unthinkable. Consider these facts:
* In the three most recent meetings between the teams -- including wild-card showdowns in 2000 and 2001 -- the Eagles had outscored the Bucs by a 72-22 margin.
* The Bucs entered the game 1-21 all-time when the temperature was under 40 degrees (with the lone win coming in Week 17 against the hapless Bears). The gametime temperature in South Philadelphia: 22 degrees and windy.
* Tampa Bay had never won a road playoff game in franchise history.
When Brian Mitchell returned the opening kickoff 70 yards -- followed by Duce Staley's touchdown in the first minute -- victory seemed a foregone conclusion. Alas, the Eagles lost the game, 27-10. After sucking the energy out of the Vet with two lengthy touchdown drives during the first half, Bucs cornerback RondeBarber's sealed the outcome with a 92-yard interception with 3:12 left. It sent 66,713 salty fans to the aisles, an appropriate tribute to a building which provided the stage for 33 years of disappointment and heartbreak.