It’s difficult to capture the passion of Philadelphia sports in movies or TV shows. The closest-knit, 4-for-4 fan base in major North American professional sports is tough to crack for outsiders.
However, Philadelphians love local references and acknowledgment. They’ve seen some great recognition on the big screen over the years.
A “Philly” Thing
The idea of a “Philly thing” has grown to enormous levels in recent years.
It’s why athletes, coaches, and executives can pander to the fan base so easily. Nick Sirianni, Bryce Harper, and others have built themselves some favor with the (harmless) strategy.
There’s something about Philadelphia pride that gets the sports fan bases riled up like nothing else. The Eagles can play Rocky clips at home games for decades. They know it invokes the identity of the city. The underdog sports narrative has been the focus of countless sports movies, but none of them can land quite the same way as the one about a Philadelphian who has to scratch and claw his way to glory.
People see It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Abbott Elementary, and they recognize places they go to regularly. It creates civic pride in a way that a Phillies yearbook or a documentary about an old Eagles season can’t do.
Some of the local writers and directors who have worked to create these hit shows have added plenty of great touches that only people from the City of Brotherly Love would be able to pull off.
References to Philly sports on the big screen aren’t too difficult to find. However, crafting accurate portrayals with attention to detail to capture the pulse of the fan base and the hearts of Philadelphians is a much greater goal.
How many narratives have given proper and accurate recognition to Philadelphia sports, local fandom, and the civic pride it represents? The list extends far beyond Rocky.