Things are getting better in the City of Brotherly Love. After one of the worst (if not the worst) calendar years in city sports history in 2015, Philly hoisted a national championship (on the Main Line at least), and saw encouraging signs for the future.
Here’s a look at 10 moments we will take with us as we turn the page:
1.Villanova wins it all
Kris Jenkins will never buy himself a drink in Philadelphia again. At a time when the city needed something to rally around, the Wildcats’ epic championship win over UNC with Jenkins’ buzzer-beater will be remembered among the all-time great plays. They are favored to repeat in 2017.
Regardless of whether he winds up as the Eagles’ next true franchise savior, the year 2016 will forever be tied to Carson Wentz. He’s set a bevy of team rookie records and will only get better as the team adds weapons for him in years to come.
3.Eagles start new era
As 2016 began, the ruins of Chip Kelly’s failed Eagles experiment were haunting Philly fans. But after Howie Roseman’s overhaul (making more than half a dozen high-profile trades) and the hiring of Doug Pederson, the new era began in earnest.
4.Emergence of Embiid
Joel “The Process” Embiid made his NBA debut and has not disappointed, showing he is the full package — a stretch-5 with a knack for defense and post moves reminiscent of Hakeem Olajuwon. He deserves, and may just receive, a 2016-17 All-Star Game nod.
5.Farewell to Big Piece
The Phillies had a year without many highlights finishing in last place in the NL East again, but in addition to the performance of some promising young players like Vince Velasquez and OdubelHerrera, Philly turned the page officially on the 2008 World Series team when they let go and bid farewell to Ryan Howard.
6.10 spot for Flyers
The 2016-17 Flyers were the hottest team in hockey for a two-week stretch before Christmas, winning 10 games in a row for the first time in decades. The squad looks poised to clinch a playoff berth before the final game of the season for once.
7.Simmons No. 1; breaks foot
There was little drama for the Sixers— even after the departure of Sam Hinkie — as they selected Ben Simmons first overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. The drama came after, when the 6-foot-10 point forward broke his foot requiring offseason surgery. His debut is still pending.
Staying with the 76ers for a moment, Allen Iverson, a Philadelphia folk hero and one of the best scorers in the history of basketball, entered the Basketball Hall of Fame with an emotional speech in Springfield.
9.Farewell to Snider
In a two-week stretch Flyers fans will never forget, the team mourned the loss of its owner and founder while simultaneously mounting an incredible rush to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed before nearly upsetting the top-ranked Capitals in six games.
If nothing else, 2016 gave Philly fans hope. Hope that the Sixers talent could perhaps translate into wins someday. Hope that the Phillies rebuild is on the right track and will step toward the .500 mark in 2017. Hope that the Flyers are just a few years away from being Stanley Cup contenders. And hope that the Eagles — with their franchise QB adorning No. 11 — will return to NFC East contention very soon. Lets hope 2017 yields actualresults.