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  • Writer's pictureCyrus

Infiltrating the Philly Fandom

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Philadelphia, The Cradle of Liberty, The Birthplace of America, Rocky, and Cheesesteaks... This city is known for so much, the least of which being its sports. From the Flyers, to the 76ers, to the Phillies and the Eagles, there is no shortage of beloved sports franchises that call Philadelphia home. Whether it’s in basketball, baseball, hockey, or football, fans of Philly Sports can tune in and be mesmerized by feats of athleticism and sportsmanship. They can be front and center to celebrate every hard-fought victory, and their support with every heart-breaking loss. Over the years this fandom has certainly developed a reputation for being extremely enthusiastic. Some may say they’re wild and out of control, but Philly fans would call that passion, they would call that the love of the game! Hell, they love sports so much they even have a statue paying homage to a fictional boxer. It is this love and this passion that allows Philly Sports the opportunity to grow and evolve. If you show up and play your heart out, the fans of Philadelphia will give you theirs.

With the USFL being revitalized with their 2022 season, The City of Brotherly Love saw the return of one of their own with the re-introduction of the league staple, the Stars. The Philadelphia Stars being one of the original USFL teams for the first season in 1983. In that very first season the Stars would dominate the competition, finishing 15-3, winning their final playoff game 44-38 against the Chicago Blitz, and proved they deserved their spot in the Championship. They would go on to lose the championship game 24-22 in overtime against the Michigan Panthers. A legacy the 2022 team would unfortunately live up to but this time against the Birmingham Stallions. For the 1984 season The Stars would once again put on a show for Philadelphia, finishing with a record of 16-2 and winning the league title against the Arizona Wranglers.

The Stars would then find themselves in some hot water for the 1985 season. As the League moved to a Fall schedule, Philadelphia fans would be forced to choose between watching the Stars or the Eagles. The Stars were still a developing team, compared to their very well-established NFL counterpart and couldn’t possibly hope to compete with the Eagles for viewership. They had no choice but to move from the city that once showed them love, to Baltimore. This move would get them off to a rocky start, but still, the now Baltimore Stars stumbled into the playoffs and eventually won the championship against the Oakland Invaders. Effectively bringing home a League title to a city unfamiliar to them. The league wouldn’t go on to see a 1986 season as the USFL couldn’t compete with the NFL and eventually was forced to disband.

All was thought lost until the USFL made an awe-inspiring comeback with its 2022 season. Allowing the Philadelphia Stars to make their triumphant return. Albeit they returned to play exclusively in Birmingham Alabama, but they still proudly displayed the Philly name. The Stars finished the season 6-4, and battled their way to the championship game held at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. It was there they fell 33-30 against the Birmingham Stallions, but not before putting on one hell of a performance for their fans. Being in that stadium in person, even in defeat, you could feel the pride every Philly fan had for their team. For a first season, the fans showed just a taste of what Philly fans could be.

Having fans like Philadelphia must be earned. Earned through respect and sportsmanship. It’s earned by walking out on that field, wearing the Philly name with pride, giving all that you have, and leaving nothing left when the clock hists zero. Neither The Philadelphia Stars nor their fans will leave you wondering if they are deserving. While the games may have been played in the Birmingham Bubble, there was no denying you could feel the passion for the team emanating from a city almost 900 miles away. As fans we can only hope that with talks of more than one hub city for the 2023 season, that the Philly Stars will be closer to home.

We have heard rumors that the league will at least have two HUBs next season, one in the north, and Birmingham in the south. As a Stars fan, I must hope that the city of Philly gets the northern HUB. With the Stars coming off a runner-up season, it feels as though they are prepped to earn the love of the city they represent. If they come out and play as hard as they did in the inaugural season, the ravenous and ferocious fans of Philly will rally behind them and show that the Stallions home field advantage last year was nothing to write home about. If the HUB is in the Cradle of Liberty, then the league could get the well deserved boost in fandom that it deserves. All of the other teams would learn what it means to be… For Philly!

Join me in the discord and tell me which fan base you think is most deserving of the second HUB!

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