Monday, April 12, 2010

The Five Most Under Appreciated Athletes in Philadelphia History

NFC Championship: Philadelphia Eagles v Arizona Cardinals

The Five Most Under Appreciated Athletes in Philadelphia History Part 1 of 6

Although Philadelphia is known as the "City of Brotherly Love", the affection is not shared indiscriminately or equally amongst the athletes who have played there. Philly fans are characterized as passionate and loyal, yet often reserve their harshest criticism and highest standards for some of the most talented sports figures to ever grace the city.

The love-hate relationships with some of the biggest stars often find roots and are perpetually nurtured by the notoriously critical Philadelphia media. Sports pundits abound with a large contingent of newspaper sportswriters, a plethora of sports radio talking heads, and an ever expanding blogosphere.

These media outlets provide a 24x7 landslide of opinion, analysis, and speculation that often sweeps public opinion along with it. If a particular player's flaws are mentioned enough times, they surely must be true or fatal in scope.

Overall, the city has endured many years of futility and disappointments. This may speak to why patience may be a little less of a virtue than in some other more celebrated sports cities.

Additionally, both the media and the fan base feel resolute that setting the bar high, especially for top athletes, is justified by players' large compensation. This sentiment is deepened by the sizable personal financial and emotional investments expended by fans to follow them.

Philadelphia sports fans are intensely loyal to their teams and value demonstrative hustle and intensity over pure athleticism. Accordingly, the greatest scrutiny is directed towards anyone not giving max effort and those possessing the greatest abilities— even if they are giving their all.

Whether the latter situation is a right or wrong perspective could be debated until the new millennium, but regardless of which side of the argument you fall, it must be acknowledged that it is clearly part of the town's sports culture.

With this in mind, over the next five days I will present the five most underappreciated sports figures in Philadelphia history. One caveat, though, in order to be considered players had to wear one of the city's uniforms (so, Kobe you're out of the discussion.)

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