As a true Philadelphia sports fan, I am a firm believer of the William Penn Statue Curse.
For those of you that don’t know, the curse has been in play since the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers have not won a championship since 1987.
The bronze statue of William Penn stands atop Philadelphia City Hall. After the construction of City Hall in 1901, the government decided on an informal agreement, a “gentlemen’s agreement,” that it would remain the tallest building in the city. Because there was no legal agreement, contractors broke the tradition. Bad idea.
One Liberty Place was built in March of 1987, exceeding City Hall’s height by over 500 feet. Its sister building, Two Liberty Place ,was quick to follow in construction. This second skyscraper also dwarfed City Hall by towering a near 400 feet over. It was just before these two buildings when Philadelphia sports had seen their last run of success.
The Flyers had won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. However, they proceeded to lose the Stanley Cup Finals in 1987, a mere two months after One Liberty Place was built. They failed to win the Stanley Cup in the finals again in 1997.
The 76ers had also just won a championship in 1983; however, their luck drastically changed. It was in 2001 when the 76ers again made their way to the NBA finals but coincidentally lost.
The Phillies had just won the 1980 World Series and it wasn’t until 1993 when they again made it to the final game and lost. They also won the National League East Championship title last season but failed to make it to the World Series.
It wasn’t until 2005 when the Eagles made it to Super Bowl XXXIX and also fell to the New England Patriots. Since then the Eagles have been pretty terrible.
With the Flyers and Sixers in the playoffs this season, as much as I would like a championship title, I say don’t hold your breath. Maybe it’s the curse, or maybe Philly sports teams really are just that terrible. who knows. I personally think that William Penn is holding a grudge against the city of Philadelphia.
And now thanks to Comcast we now have the 973-foot high-rise Comcast Center that towers over poor William Penn atop City Hall by over 500 feet.
The day I see a Philadelphia sports team win a championship will be the day I stop believing in the curse.