Comparisons, especially within sports, are a wonderful way to strum up conversation. Whether it be pre-draft scouting reports, players playing the same position, or even head coaches, sports fans and analysts love to contrast. However, this article isn’t just your typical clear cut comparisons, like pitchers to quarterbacks, Tom Brady to Michael Jordan, or the Lakers to the Yankees. We’ll be diving under the surface of all five pro sports with three pairs of similar entities.
Chicago Sports and Philadelphia Sports
Starting off with the most obvious inclusion in my opinion, Chicago and Philadelphia are quite similar in multiple ways, from weather to corrupt politicians. The same is true for the general sports scene in the two major cities. Fans often carry high expectations for their respective cities’ teams, only to be let down year after year. Right now, Philadelphia seems to be in the grieving stage while in Chicago, fans are in the false hope stage. Don’t fret Philly fans, the cycle will change eventually, just trust the process. As I alluded to, Philly has certainly been hit harder recently; the Eagles’ sharp decline, playoff failures for the 76ers, the Phillies failing to make the playoffs after signing Bryce Harper (Since 2011 as a matter of fact), the Flyers failing to build on an impressive 2019-20 campaign, and even the Union getting bounced in the first round of the MLS Playoffs after winning the Supporter’s Shield.
Chicago has had their fair share of failure in recent memory too. The Bears have been ever mediocre since the infamous double doink (Which, ironically, was against the Eagles), the Bulls have been irrelevant since 2013, the Cubs just collapsed internally while their neighbors down South are on the come up, the Blackhawks seem set up for another season of false optimism with the same aging core, and the Fire are one of the worst teams in the MLS with embarrassing attendance statistics. Even historically, teams from the 312 and 215 have been not as successful as one would expect for cities of their size. In general, there is a vibe that both cities are past their glory days, and not just in the realm of sports.
Kyrie Irving and Neymar Jr.
On a special soccer edition of TSW’s flagship podcast, Wavelengths, hosted by Stephen Heimers, I compared Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. to Brooklyn’s finest Kyrie Irving. For starters, they both have had similar career arcs, slowly growing into the limelight before bursting out around 2013. Soon after, both of them were key contributors on title winning teams, with Kyrie winning the 2016 NBA Finals and Neymar winning the 2015 Champions League, as well as multiple league titles.
However, in 2017, both Kyrie and Neymar forced a move away from their former teams, with Irving heading to the Boston Celtics and Neymar moving to Paris Saint-Germain. Ever since then, both have struggled with injuries and consistency, and neither has won the NBA Finals/UCL a second time, respectively. Even if the coincidental duo’s careers were not occurring at the same time, the overall path from hyped young baller to top-5 player to a star failing to live up to expectations.
Fox Sports and Samsung
This one might be breaking the rules, as we momentarily leave the world of sports to talk about Samsung, a South Korean conglomerate primarily known for mobile phones (They also used to sponsor Chelsea FC, so maybe this isn’t cheating). Such phones, most notably the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note are seen in public culture as “second-tier,” with Apple’s iPhone being the clear industry top dog. The same can be said for Fox Sports, a media organization which, to put it bluntly, is dominated by ESPN rejects, from the personalities to even the sporting events which they air. While ESPN is certainly on the decline, they are still at the peak of the sports media industry, and it’s clear Fox won’t pass them anytime soon.