UNITED STATES—It’s been a good decade or so for sports fans in Pennsylvania – The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the NFL Super Bowl in 2005 and 2008 and the Philadelphia Eagles won their first in 2017. In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins have won three Stanley Cups in the last few years – 2009, 2016 and 2017. And the Philadelphia Phillies won the MLB World Series in 2009.
But how likely are our pro sports teams to win a championship this year? Let’s take a look:
The 2021 NFL Draft takes place later this month before the season starts in September. The Pittsburgh Steelers made the playoffs this past post-season before being horribly beaten by the Cleveland Browns.
Mike Tomlin is a good head coach who currently has an excellent defense to work with, albeit one that shipped 48 points to those Browns in the playoff defeat in January. There are some exciting receivers but quarterback Big Ben is aging now. The team need to get a running game working before the start of the new season.
Verdict: Won’t be among the immediate favorites but will be expected to make the playoffs
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a terrible season in a very weak NFC East. Winning the division could have been a curse as the franchise now have a good draft pick.
Drafts haven’t been the most promising in recent years and there’s a lot of rebuilding to be done. In fact, you’ll find better value playing a game of online poker Pennsylvania than you will get for the Eagles making good use of their first round pick. It doesn’t help that the franchise doesn’t have much cap room either. Two highly-paid quarterbacks is a big part of that.
Verdict: It could be a few years until the Eagles have a team that looks capable of contender for the Super Bowl or even the NFC Championship again.
The Philadelphia 76ers are looking very good as we’re over the midway point of the regular season. A record of 34-16 suggests a trip to the post-season is very much on the cards for Doc Rivers’ team.
How far the team will go will depend on form and injuries of both their own roster and opposition. Currently a 12/1 shot for the NBA Championship, the 76ers are currently sixth favorites.
Verdict: It’s hard to look past the LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets right now but there’s a long way to go.
With Sidney Crosby, anything is possible. And that is reflected with the Pittsburgh Penguins sitting third in the East Division and are one of the top scoring teams in the National Hockey League.
Mike Sullivan will need to improve the defense if the Penguins are to go far in the post-season but success in recent years means you cannot write them off. Currently 22/1 to win the Stanley Cup for a third time in six seasons, not among the favorites.
The 2021 Major League Baseball is recently underway but fans of either franchise in Pennsylvania has little prospects this season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are generally considered the worst roster in the league this year, but have managed one win from their opening four matches.
The Philadelphia Phillies have surprised a few with their impressive 4-0 start, each victory coming at home. They still remain outsiders to go all the way though but an appearance in the post-season would be an achievement.
The Philadelphia Union won the Eastern Conference last season but were subsequently upset by the number 8 seeded New England Revolution in the First Round of the playoffs back in November.
Jim Curtin’s side will be expected to make the post-season once again in 2021, though has lost both Brendan Aaronson and Mark McKenzie to European clubs, Red Bull Salzburg and Genk respectively.
Verdict: Not strong enough to go all the way