As the Flyers and Sixers racked up win after win, the question was obvious. Is there such a phenomenon as Super Bowl momentum? Or was this a Philadelphia thing?
Answer: It’s a Philadelphia thing.
The Sixers’ loss at Washington on Sunday night was the first in regulation for the Sixers or Flyers since the Super Bowl. It slowed a remarkable run of 16-0-1 combined for the two teams. Historic, even.
Going back to 1990, when the current NFL playoff format began, no other city has seen such ridiculous immediate success as what the Flyers and Sixers displayed in the three weeks after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win on Feb. 4. The Flyers will play at Montreal on Monday night.
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) February 5, 2018
Is Philadelphia now Titletown? Nah. But it has been pretty wild around here, to say nothing of Drexel’s comeback last week that set an NCAA Division I record.
Just six cities that have won Super Bowls since 1990 also have teams in both the NBA and NHL. While the Super Bowl wins by Seattle, Green Bay and New Orleans (among others) are nice for those metropolitan areas, they don’t make the cut.
Here are some noteworthy observations for those that do meet the standards of what the Sixers and Flyers just gave fans here in Folesadelphia.
*Since 1990, the six cities that have won a Super Bowl that also have teams in the NHL and NBA are Philadelphia, New England/Boston, Denver, New York, Dallas and Washington. For New York, we included the Rangers, Islanders and Knicks in our research, but not the Nets or Devils.
*Only one NBA or NHL team has ever won its championship the same year its NFL brethren won the Super Bowl. That was — much to the disgruntlement of Flyers fans — when Sidney Crosby and the Penguins followed up the Steelers in 2009. The 2008 Patriots/Celtics would have done it, except New England (12-point favorites) lost to the Giants by a head in the Super Bowl.
*One more long-term note: Since 1990, the Celtics in 2017 and 2002 made it to the conference finals after a Patriots championship, as did the 1999 Colorado Avalanche after the Broncos won it all.
*The only city whose NBA and NHL teams were both better than .500 for the three weeks after a Super Bowl win was Boston last year, when the Celtics went 5-3 and the Bruins 5-1-0 after the Patriots beat Atlanta. The other nine times, at least one of the NBA/NHL teams was less than .500.
*New York in 2012, 2008 and 1991 saw at least one of its teams (Rangers, Islanders, Knicks) post losing records right after the Giants won the Supe.
*Following up Super Bowls wasn’t very nice for NBA coach Mike D’Antoni. In 1999, his Nuggets went 1-8 in the three weeks after the Broncos rolled the Falcons, and his Knicks went a very deceptive 9-3 in 2012. The Knicks then started a six-game losing streak and D’Antoni was fired with an 18-24 record. He’s sitting pretty with the Rockets this year, so maybe it’s a good thing for him and Rockets fans that the Texans season collapsed after Deshaun Watson got hurt.
*The 2004 Celtics had fired Jim O’Brien just before the Patriots beat Carolina to win SB38. They went 1-8 under John Carroll in the corresponding three weeks. Who else forgot the John Carroll/Celtics era?
*In the three weeks that followed the Eagles championship in 1960, the Philadelphia Warriors went 7-4. Wilt averaged more than 40 over those 11 games when the Flyers weren’t even a glimmer in Ed Snider’s eye.
Sixers results (7-1) since Feb. 4:
Feb. 6, beat Washington, 115-102: Joel Embiid had 27 points and 12 rebounds as E-A-G-L-E-S chants echoed throughout the Wells Fargo Center.
Feb. 9, beat New Orleans, 100-82: Embiid led the way with 24 and 16.
Feb. 10, beat L.A. Clippers, 112-98: Another huge night for Embiid (29 points, 16 boards), who withstood an awkward fall to equal his career high for rebounds for the second consecutive night.
Feb. 12, beat New York, 108-92: T.J. McConnell celebrated Allen Iverson’s pregame Liberty Bell ceremony by posting a triple-double. We’ll look back on this era one day, when Embiid’s number is retired, and remember how fondly he regarded McConnell. The tweets might be tongue-in-cheek, but the respect is not.
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) February 13, 2018
Feb. 14, beat Miami, 104-102: The Sixers overcame a 24-point second-half deficit and Ben Simmons was the hero (18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists). Embiid sat out with right ankle soreness.
Feb. 22, beat Chicago, 116-115: Ben Simmons, a 56 percent free-throw shooter, made two foul shots with 5.6 seconds left. Numerologists and Processors rejoiced.
Feb. 24, beat Orlando, 116-105: Embiid had 28 and 14 as the Sixers hung on to beat the Magic, whose coach Frank Vogel – a Wildwood Crest, N.J. native – wore an Eagles shirt before the game. Carson Wentz rang the bell pregame as the Sixers won their seventh in a row. Two years ago, they won 10 games total.
Feb. 25, lost to Washington, 109-94: The Sixers spent most of the game chasing the Wizards, who shot 54 percent from the field and led by 19 at halftime. Embiid, playing back-to-back for the third time in February, had 25 and 10.
Key stats during the winning streak:
Joel Embiid: 25.8 pts., 13.0 reb., 52.3 FG pct., 11.3 plus/minus
Ben Simmons: 17.0 pts., 7.0 reb., 8.5 ast., 10.1 plus/minus
Flyers results (9-0-1) since Feb. 4:
Feb. 6, beat Carolina, 2-1 (OT): Jordan Weal scored with 3.1 seconds left in the extra session moments after a ridiculous save by Brian Elliott.
Feb. 8, beat Montreal, 5-3: Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists and Travis Konecny had a pair of goals for a rousing win the night of the Super Bowl parade. “It’s pretty inspirational for the entire city,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of the day’s celebration. “What an awesome sight.”
Feb. 10, beat Arizona, 4-3 (shootout): Nolan Patrick scored the winner and Michal Neuvirth got the win by stopping five shots after Brian Elliott got hurt during the shootout. Elliott’s injury would force general manager Ron Hextall to start considering whether to make a trade to bring in another goalie.
Feb. 11, beat Vegas, 4-1: Sean Couturier had a goal and two assists as the Flyers won at T-Mobile Arena, where the Golden Knights had been 19-3-2. “On the way to the rink from the hotel, I saw so many fans wearing our jerseys,” Neuvirth said. Eagles chants could be heard throughout the game.
Feb. 13, lost to New Jersey, 5-4 (shootout): The Flyers still gained a point, so it wasn’t a total loss. Before the game, Hextall announced Elliott would miss 5-6 weeks after having abdominal surgery. Uh-oh.
Feb. 16, beat Columbus, 2-1 (OT): Couturier won it in overtime and Neuvirth made 35 saves as the Flyers triumphed at Columbus for the first time since 2005 (11 games).
Feb. 18, beat N.Y. Rangers, 7-4: Neuvirth had to leave after the first period with a lower-body injury, but Alex Lyon made 25 saves over the final two periods for a clutch win. Giroux scored the 200th goal of his career and added a pair of assists. Hextall had to get another goalie, though.
Feb. 20, beat Montreal, 3-2 (OT): Jake Voracek tied it with 85 seconds left and won it in overtime as the Flyers played without Wayne Simmonds, who had suffered an upper-body injury against the Rangers and will miss 2-3 weeks. Goaltender Petr Mrazek, acquired Feb. 19 from Detroit, backed up Lyon, who again made 25 saves for his second career win.
Feb. 22, beat Columbus, 2-1: Mrazek made 19 saves in his Flyers debut to become the fourth goalie to win a game for the Flyers this season.
Feb. 24, beat Ottawa, 5-3: Mrazek won again and Giroux scored on a beautiful breakaway move. The Flyers grabbed a 5-1 lead when Brandon Manning’s dump-in bounced off a glass partition and ended up in Ottawa’s net. It’s been that kind of run.
Key stats during last 10 games:
Flyers PK: 3-18 (16.7 pct.).
Flyers PP: 7-30 (23.3 pct.).
Flyers goalies: (.922 save pct.).
Claude Giroux: 7 goals, 9 assists, 65.4 faceoff pct., +9 plus/minus
Shayne Gostisbehere: 14 assists, +10 plus/minus, 22:50 TOI