What a year. From the seeming depths of non-competitiveness, Philadelphia has become one of the most exciting places for sports fans in the country. Though a championship may not be on the horizon (though the Eagles could get close), it seems a march down Broad Street is an inevitability — soon — with the state of all four teams.
As we wave goodbye to 2017, here are 10 memories we’ll take with us into 2018:
10. Flyers get No. 2 pick, take Nolan Patrick
Perhaps overshadowed by the Eagles nabbing Derek Barnett and the Sixers taking Markelle Fultz in their respective drafts was the Flyers getting some rare luck from the NHL gods and earning the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft. The team, of course, took budding superstar forward Nolan Patrick. Though injuries and growing pains have made his NHL transition a little tougher than expected, he will be a key member of any future Stanley Cup Flyers team.
9. Sixers trade for No. 1, pick Markelle Fultz
The trade could end up on future lists of important events in Sixers’ history as either an epically bad move, or good one. Fultz has had shoulder — and perhaps confidence — issues as he has sat out every Sixers game since October. Will he return and be the slashing, shooting scorer Philly needs to get over the top?
8. The tragic death of Roy Halladay
Not a top moment but a heartbreakingly memorable one, the Phils and the baseball world lost one of the best pitchers of the 2000s as Cy Young Award winner and two-time no-hit pitcher Halladay died in an airplane crash. His contributions to the city will never be forgotten.
7. Flyers 10-game losing streak/6-game win streak
This story is an excellent example of how passionate and reactionary Philadelphia fans can be sometimes. After the Flyers dropped an embarrassing 10 straight games, fans were either calling for a new head coach or changing the channel. After a six-game win streak got them back into playoff contention, the Flyers are showing some promise again — and fans are back on board.
6. Ben Simmons, triple-double machine
The Sixers’ rookie is likely going to be an All-Star. Through December 21, his stats were as follows: 17.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 7.9 apg, 2.1 spg and a shooting percentage better than 50 percent. He is deadly distributing the ball, a beast on defense and with Joel Embiid makes the former tank kings a playoff team.
5. Rhys Hoskins home run madness
The Phillies first baseman, for about a month late last summer, made the team must-watch TV again. The big slugger hit 18 homers faster than anyone in baseball history, needing 32 games to reach the mark. At 24-years-old, fans can only hope his homerless streak of 16 games to end the year was a blip.
4. Malcolm Jenkins leads NFL protests
A complex issue for nearly everyone, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was one of the most vocal leaders of this season’s player protests. He was an early demonstrator — he started last season — and helped lead meetings with the NFL that eventually gave players the platform the desired to speak out.
3. Eagles 61-yard game-winner
Back before Nick Foles threw four touchdowns to beat the Giants in New York, unproven rookie kicker (and then newly signed) Jake Elliott drilled a 61-yard field goal to beat the Giants in Philadelphia back in Week 3. It was the start of a nine-game sinning streak for the Eagles.
2. Joel Embiid in L.A.
This was one of the most incredible performances the NBA has ever seen. Joel Embiid was let off the leash, was trash talking the Lakers in L.A. and posted a ridiculious stat line: 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks in a dramatic win.
1. The legend of Carson Wentz
This one might get Eagles fans emotional. Thinking about what could have been if Wentz hadn’t injured his knee in Los Angeles is positively torturous. But he’ll wind up in the top 3 on most voters NFL MVP ballot’s after playing just 13 games — that’s how good he was. Wentz set an Eagles record with 33 touchdown passes, had just seven interceptions and made plays with his legs, agility and mind that confounded fans understanding of what was possible from a quarterback. Wentz is a franchise quarterback in the NFL and could be the best one in all of football sometime in the next half decade.