Philly futility: The (short) list of Sixers, Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Union award winners

Philly fans deserve some success. It’s been a while.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid and Dario Saric were up for the NBA Rookie of the Year award and despite much debate as to which Sixers rookie should win the award, neither did, losing to Milwaukee point guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Whether Brogdon deserved it or not is something we can debate all off-season — here’s our official take on the matter from Monday night — but the fact is, the vote wasn’t even close.

So much for the two Sixers players getting hurt by splitting the vote. Brogdon earned 64 of the 100 first place votes, with Saric taking 13 and Embiid 23. Even if the two Sixers combine their first-place votes, they would barely have more than half of Brogdon’s total.

And so, another season has come and gone without a player or coach on any of the Philly teams winning a major award.

Last week, the Flyers were, again, shut out of the NHL awards. It’s been nearly seven years since the Phillies won a major award. The Eagles haven’t won anything major since 2002. Were it not for James Blake of the Union winning MLS Goalkeeper of the year last season and Michael-Carter Williams earning NBA Rookie of the Year in 2014, the five pro sports teams in Philly would have no major trophies since 2010, when Roy Halladay won the National League Cy Young Award.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of Philly’s dearth of individual greatness.


Mar 8, 2017; New York, NY, USA;  Former Georgetown Hoyas Allen Iverson watches game between Georgetown Hoyas and St. John's Red Storm during Big East Conference Tournament game at Madison Square Garden.   St. John's Red Storm defeated Georgetown Hoyas 74-73. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers are the darlings of the city right now. Everyone seems to Trust the Process, what with Embiid and Saric and Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz joining them on the court next season. But looking at the major awards — MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Finals MVP — the Sixers have won just one trophy in more than 15 years.

Year Team Award Player/Coach
2014 Sixers Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams
2001 Sixers MVP Allen Iverson
2001 Sixers Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo
2001 Sixers Coach of the Year Larry Brown
1997 Sixers Rookie of the Year Allen Iverson
1983 Sixers MVP Moses Malone
1983 Sixers Finals MVP Moses Malone
1981 Sixers MVP Julius Erving
1968 Sixers MVP Wilt Chamberlain
1967 Sixers MVP Wilt Chamberlain
1966 Sixers MVP Wilt Chamberlain
1966 Sixers Coach of the Year Dolph Schayes

Clap your hands, everybody. One, two, three-four-five…12 major awards in franchise history. If you consider the NBA Sixth Man of the Year a major award, feel free to add Aaron McKie in 2001 and bobby Jones in 1983 to that list. We opted to keep it just to MVP-level honors. Dana Barros won the Most Improved Player in 1995 and Eric Snow won the Joe Dumars Sportsmanship award in 2000, so there’s those.

Really, in an era of super teams, the Sixers have only had three transformative players since Wilt Chamberlain: Allen Iverson, Julius Erving and Moses Malone, and two of them played together. There were other greats: Charles Barkley, Billy Cunningham…and that’s pretty much it.

Maybe this era will be different.


MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are perhaps the quietest Philadelphia team in the midst of a rebuild, leaving many fans to wonder if this is really much of a rebuild at all, or just a team full of young (read: cheap) players who aren’t actually very good. We long for the days of MVPs in the infield and four aces on the mound. It doesn’t feel that long ago — the Phils won a title less than a decade ago — but watching the team unravel over the last 10 seasons has been hard.

Year Team Award Player/Coach
2010 Phillies Cy Young (NL) Roy Halladay
2008 Phillies World Series MVP Cole Hamels
2007 Phillies MVP (NL) Jimmy Rollins
2006 Phillies MVP (NL) Ryan Howard
2005 Phillies Rookie of the Year (NL) Ryan Howard
2001 Phillies Manager of the Year (NL) Larry Bowa
1997 Phillies Rookie of the Year (NL) Scott Rolen
1987 Phillies Cy Young (NL) Steve Bedrosian
1986 Phillies MVP (NL) Mike Schmidt
1983 Phillies Cy Young (NL) John Denny
1982 Phillies Cy Young (NL) Steve Carlton
1981 Phillies MVP (NL) Mike Schmidt
1980 Phillies MVP (NL) Mike Schmidt
1980 Phillies World Series MVP Mike Schmidt
1977 Phillies Cy Young (NL) Steve Carlton
1972 Phillies Cy Young (NL) Steve Carlton
1964 Phillies Rookie of the Year (NL) Dick Allen
1957 Phillies Rookie of the Year (NL) Jack Sanford
1950 Phillies MVP (NL) Jim Konstanty
1932 Phillies MVP (NL) Chuck Klein

This list does not include Hank Aaron Award winners, given to the best offensive performer in both leagues, which Ryan Howard won in 2006. Jimmy Rollins won the Roberto Clemente Award for community outreach in 2014. Garry Maddox and Greg Luzinski have also won that award. And the Phils have taken home a bunch of Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards over the years, but they aren’t on the same level as an MVP.

Oh, this is also a good time to remember that most of these awards are voted on by media. Media are biased and petty and sometimes really stupid. Like how Charlie Manuel never won NL Manager of the Year, but from 2007-2010 those awards went to Bob Melvin, Lou Piniella, Jim Tracy and Bud Black.


NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

There’s no way around this. The Eagles history is just sad. Since 1960, when looking at the AP NFL MVP, the Pro-Football Writers MVP, the Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl MVP and Coach of the Year — that’s nearly 400 trophies, combined — the Eagles have won…six.

Six major trophies since 1960. Fly, Eagles, fly.

Year Team Award Player/Coach
2002 Eagles Coach of the Year (AP) Andy Reid
1995 Eagles Coach of the Year (AP) Ray Rhodes
1990 Eagles MVP (PFWA) Randall Cunningham
1987 Eagles Defensive Player of the Year Reggie White
1960 Eagles MVP (AP) Norm Van Brocklin
1960 Eagles Coach of the Year (AP) Buck Shaw

There are a lot of other awards for NFL players, but of the major categories, it’s embarrassingly futile. Six major trophies, and three of them were Coach of the Year. And one of them went to Ray Rhodes in his first season when the Eagles went 10-6.

Six Eagles have won the Bert Bell Award, given to the Player of the Year by the Maxwell Club. This is a pretty big award, and it’s voted on by a group of coaches, executives, former players, media and members of the Maxwell award.

Michael Vick most recently won the Bert Bell Award in 2010 — the year Tom Brady won both MVP awards — and Randall Cunningham won it in 1988 and 1990. Ron Jaworski won it in 1980. He’s now the president of the Maxwell Club. Past winners also include Pete Retzlaff in 1965 and Norm Van Brocklin in 1960.


NHL: USA TODAY Sports-Archive
Lou Capozzola-USA TODAY Sports

It has been…a while since the Flyers won a major trophy. They went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, but got shut out of all the individual awards that season. Since then, they haven’t really deserved much consideration most.

The NHL gives out A TON of awards, so with respect to the best defensive forward and offensive defenseman, top goal scorer, top point scorer and whatever the Lady Bing Trophy recognizes (nice guys, basically), we looked at just the Hart Trophy (MVP), Lindsay/Pearson Award (MVP voted by the players), Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie), Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman), Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year), Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP) and Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year).

Year Team Award Player/Coach
2001 Flyers Jack Adams (Coach of Year) Bill Barber
1995 Flyers Hart (MVP) Eric Lindross
1995 Flyers Lindsay/Pearson (MVP) Eric Lindross
1987 Flyers Vezina (Top Goalie) Ron Hextall
1987 Flyers Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) Ron Hextall
1985 Flyers Vezina (Top Goalie) Pelle Lindbergh
1985 Flyers Jack Adams (Coach of Year) Mike Keenan
1980 Flyers Jack Adams (Coach of Year) Pat Quinn
1976 Flyers Hart (MVP) Bobby Clarke
1976 Flyers Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) Reggie Leach
1975 Flyers Hart (MVP) Bobby Clarke
1975 Flyers Vezina (Top Goalie) Bernie Parent
1975 Flyers Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) Bernie Parent
1974 Flyers Vezina (Top Goalie) Bernie Parent
1974 Flyers Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) Bernie Parent
1974 Flyers Lindsay/Pearson (MVP) Bobby Clarke
1974 Flyers Jack Adams (Coach of Year) Fred Shero
1973 Flyers Hart (MVP) Bobby Clarke

Fact: The Flyers have never had the NHL Rookie of the Year, an award that dates back to 1937, and they’ve never had the league’s top defenseman, as the Norris Trophy dates back to 1954.

Bill Barber is the last person to win a major award with the Flyers, earning Coach of the Year in 2001, when the Flyers finished second to the New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic and lost in the first round of the playoffs. That was six coaches ago.

Eric Lindros is the last player to win a major award for the Flyers, more than 20 years ago.


MLS: Houston Dynamo at Philadelphia Union
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Union have only been around since 2010, so it’ll be a few years before we can properly chronicle their Philly futility success hoisting trophies.

The Union have had some decent players in their short history, including some that have landed on the MLS Best XI lists, but just two have earned postseason honors, and just one with a major trophy.

Year Award Player/Coach Team
2016 Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake Union

Chris Pontius won Comeback Player of the Year last year as well, but Andre Blake was the first, and only, Union player to win MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie/Newcomer of the Year, Defender of the Year or Goalkeeper of the Year.

And so, if you’re scoring at home (note: don’t, it’s too sad) the five Philadelphia professional teams have won a combined three major individual awards in the last 10 years. We deserve better.

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