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Philadelphia vs. Kansas City: A Civic Sporting Study

It is indeed a rare occasion for these two cities to be embattled in sports war. Geography dictates that when these two cities are each represented in a league, that they are not in the same conference. This makes the number of instances sparse, but more valuable.

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Because of the geographic sports-conference divide, most of the shared history is in coaches.  Herman Edwards led the Chiefs to a 15-33 record, but he was part of a miracle as a player for the Eagles.  From Larry Brown to Dick Vermeil, there are toss-ups between which has gotten the better of those deals.  You're welcome for Andy Reid, by the way.  No need to thank us.  Besides, in football, the two cities have met just 7 times, with Philly winning 4.  There are plenty of reasons why the greater Philadelphia metro area has over twice as many people as "The Sunflower State".

SKC isn't even in the good Kansas City.  They're in Kansas.  All of the cool Kansas City sports teams are in Missouri.  And, how the final "I" gets pronounced like "uh" I'll never understand, but I digress.  KC in the The Show Me has Kauffman Stadium, renowned for its outfield waterfalls.  Arrowhead Stadium is a fantastic NFL venue, in that the crowd is always a factor, and no visiting team feels comfortable playing there.  It also has the Negro League (baseball) Museum, which is a true American treasure.  And, it's to the east of the Kansas River.

The hockey connection is winding and disappointing.  The Kansas City Scouts were a short-lived NHL franchise, lasting just  2 seasons, from 1974-1976.  This franchise was relocated then to Denver and known as the Colorado Rockies (well before the purple-pinstriped baseball team) for 6 seasons before relocating again.  This time, they settled in a swamp in the northern part of New Jersey and have since been known as the Devils (there is no more appropriately-named team in professional sports).

Philadelphia let the Athletics go to Kansas City, but KC didn't know how to handle them.  They won 5 championships here in Philly, but KC didn't vibe with them, and after 13 seasons moved further west to Oakland, where they went on to win another 4 titles.  Kansas City is the only city they didn't win in.  Coincidence?  I think not.  A baseball championship was won there, but only because the best sports city in "Mizzurruh" felt sorry for them and let them win.  Likely because 5 years prior, the Royals lost their first ever World Series appearance to...wait for it...the Philadelphia Phillies.  Besides, the reigning American League champs were named for a famous local rodeo.  While Philadelphia gets metaphorically stigmatized as such, this team was ACTUALLY named after an event filled with a bunch of horses' asses.

Basketball is big in Kansas, but not so much in KC as it is about 40-or-so miles west.  The city couldn't handle having an NBA team, and the area lost yet another franchise to the left coast.  The Kings relocated after 10 seasons to Sacramento!  Sacramento, of all California cities!  But the state is all "rock chalk Jayhawk".  Lest we forget, the program's greatest basketball player:  Philadelphia's own: Wilton.  Norman.  Chamberlain.

These two soccer teams that will compete Wednesday night have played 14 previous times by my count:  6 KC wins, 4 Philly wins, 4 draws.  The 15th installment in this series promises to be the most notable sports contest between the two cities in quite some time.  And maybe for quite some time hereafter, since being in different conferences in all sports dictates they can only play playoff games in the championship round.  Without a doubt in my mind, a pivotal chapter in the history of this developing rivalry will be written Wednesday night.

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