Friday Mount Rushmore: Preseason Triumphs in Philadelphia Sports

This was a big week for the Philadelphia Eagles, who finished up their preseason by going 4-0 in joint practice sessions. Undefeated! Raise the banner! The parade is scheduled for Saturday and Eliot Shorr-Parks is the grand marshal.

If you think about it, this was one of the greatest accomplishments in Philadelphia sports. A preseason championship. A training camp triumph! Surely, the Eagles will ride this momentum to double-digit victories and a playoff berth. They will win the NFC East and send Joe Judge back to Lansdale Catholic with his tail tucked between his legs.

Speaking of preseason victories, here’s our Mount Rushmore of Philadelphia preseason triumphs (not including the 4-0 joint practice championship) –

 

Eagles assemble the “Dream Team”

Vince Young. Nnamdi Asomugha. Jason Babin. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Ronnie Brown. Cullen Jenkins.

What a squad! It was dubbed “The Dream Team” during training camp up at Lehigh, and proceeded to go 3-1 in the preseason. Big victories over the Ravens, Jets, and Browns.

Unfortunately, they went out and stunk up the joint in the regular season, starting out 1-4 before scraping back to a mediocre 8-8 and missing the playoffs. But they won the preseason title for “best team on paper,” and that’s what’s important.

 

Ben Simmons – thinking three!

Your Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Guangzhou Loong Lions will go down in history as one of the greatest NBA preseason games of all time.

Why? Because Ben Simmons was thinking three! From way downtown! –

Brett Brown was utterly disinterested in talking about this after the game.

I asked what he thought about the three and he said this:

“Nothing. He made a shot. Good. And that’s kind of personally the extent of it for me.

(follow up question about the shot)

I think the whole thing is so overblown. I think in general it’s so inflated, the attention. That’s what I think. So I answer the question the way I did, and I answer the question again the same way. He’s young. We’ve got a long season. I’m just not gonna react over it and I really mean that. He made a three.”

Regardless, this was a huge accomplishment. A professional NBA player hit a three pointer in an exhibition game.

 

Philadelphia Phillies – spring training champions

With Joe Girardi in the fold and Gabe Kapler sent packing, things were looking up for the 2020 Phillies. They came out ON FIRE in the Grapefuit League, and just tossed opponents aside like it was nothing. They finished 15-6, and WON the league:

image credit: Destiny Lugardo

It was an achievement for the ages. At one point, they even won seven of eight. They dispatched the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays.

They ended up going 28-32 in the regular season, but that’s okay. We’ll always have the Grapefruit League title to look back on.

 

Union victorious in the Suncoast Invitational

Before the Supporter’s Shield win, the only trophy in the Union cabinet was the 2015 Suncoast Invitational. A preseason tournament based out of Bradenton, Florida.

The Union went UNDEFEATED in this tournament, first taking out the Costa Rican U-23 team. In game two, they dispatched “London United,” which wasn’t even a real team, but a collection of dudes that was organized for a reason I can’t even remember. They did, however, cement their legacy with victories over the Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls.

Said defender Ethan White at the time:

Obviously it’s a preseason tournament, but wins are wins, goals are goals and shutouts are shutouts. It’s good to have some silverware. We’ll put that up in the casing somewhere and look it and enjoy it. Hopefully there’s more to come.”

There would not be more to come, at least not in 2015. The U finished with 10 wins, 17 losses, and 7 draws, placing 9th out of 10 Eastern Conference teams. They did, however, start to turn it around the following season and are now, believe it or not, one of the better-run teams in the city. Go figure.

 

 

Honorable mention: Sam Bradford is perfect against the Packers, Bryce Harper walking in his first spring training game to lead to a Rhys Hoskins home run with the mayor in attendance, Sixers win the 2014 Orlando Summer League (Elfrid Payton was the MVP) 

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