The 10 Biggest Philadelphia Sports Stories of 2017
In 2016 the Eagles selected a QB, in 2017, he blossomed into a legit NFL MVP candidate and face of the franchise. The Sixers are finally expected to win games, with a pair of franchising changing players on the current roster. The Flyers have had their ups-and-downs, but some young players have given fans some hope. Meanwhile the Phillies finally seem to be ready to allow their young players take the field, in what has been a long, uneventful rebuild.
So what were some of the top moments (in no particular order) of the year? Let’s take a look back at 2017
1. Carson Wentz Arrives
After trading five picks, to the Browns in the 2016 draft: the No. 8 pick in the first round, a third-round pick (77th overall) and a fourth-round pick (100th overall) in this year's draft, a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018 - the Eagles have found their franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz.
After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Wentz entered the MVP conversation before going down with a ACL injury in Week 14 in Los Angles during his second season, throwing for 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
His season was highlighted by a few plays that stand out:
- His scramble against the Redskins on Monday Night Football.
- His touchdown throw to Nelson Agholor in the season opener.
- His throw to Alshon Jeffery to set up Jake Elliott's 61-yard field goal vs the Giants.
- His record setting 33rd touchdown pass, playing with a torn ACL.
Wentz has been a magician on the NFL most important down, leading the league in third-down passer rating.
While Joel Embiid debuted with a bang for the Sixers in 2016, but after sitting two full seasons out with a foot injury, Embiid was able to hit the restricted free agent market at the end of the season.
The Sixers decided to keep him in Philly to the tune of five-years, $148 million.
His most dominating performance during his young NBA career came in 2017 in LA against the Lakers. Embiid had a historic night, with 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks in the Sixers win.
While Embiid has had plenty of shining moments during his Sixers career, his night against the Lakers might be the game that is remembered the most.
In 2017, Rhys Hoskins seemed to be the fasted to just about everything. After making his Major League debut on August 10 with the Phillies, Hoskins started to homer and drive in runs at a historic pace.
The NL Rookie of the Month for August, drilled 18 homers in just 34 games and drove in 48 runs in just 50 games. He was the fastest player reach 18 home runs, and also the second fastest to reach his RBI totals.
When Caleb Sturgis was injured during the Eagles Week 1 game against the Redskins, the team picked up a little known rookie kicker off the Bengals practice squad named Jake Elliott. Elliott was a fifth-round pick in this year's draft by the Cincinnati, but might have had one of the biggest impacts on the Eagles 2017 season.
With the Eagles and Giants tied, Elliott booted a game-winning 61-yard field goal to lift the Eagles to an improbable win. Many will argue that kick propelled the Eagles to the season they are having, while contributing to the demise of the Giants.
After sitting out the entire 2016-17 season with a broken foot, we finally saw the debut of 2016 first overall pick, Ben Simmons. The LSU product burst on the scene in 2017 with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block, and has been filling the stat sheet ever since. with 18 double-double and four triple-doubles, third most in the league.
Overall for the season, Simmons is averaging 16.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game in his rookie season.
While this hasn't gone the why people had hoped, in many ways his return could provide the Sixers with just the lift they need and the player they are missing. The No. 1 overall pick hasn't appeared in a game since Oct 23, and has played in just four games overall, but he could be the missing piece for the struggling Sixers offense late in games.
While at Washington, the guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists playing just over 35 minutes per game. He also had 1.6 steals per game and 1.2 blocks per game on his way to earning first-team all-Pac 12 and third team All-American honors.
In four NBA games he is scoring just six points while dealing with a mysterious shoulder injury that the team confirmed is no longer experiencing soreness and that the scapular muscle imbalance that kept him out of the lineup is resolved.
If he can provide some spark to the Sixers offense, they could make their first playoff appearance since the 2012-2013 season.
The day before Halloween the Phillies hired their new manager, naming Gabe Kapler the teams new skipper.
"I knew that Gabe would come in there and dazzle them in the interview process. He’s an incredibly bright guy, he’s brilliant, he’s got a presence to him." Baseball insider Jayson Stark said on the Sports Bash about Kapler. " He’s a really fascinating choice.”
Kapler replaces Pete Mackanin, and seems to be an outside the box choice for the Phillies, who have been one of the worst teams in baseball over the last five seasons.
He is the kind of personality that Phillies fans might like, during this opening press conference, Kapler stated desire to "Bring that effing trophy back to John Middleton"
After three straight non-playoff seasons, the Eagles didn't have huge expectations entering the 2017 season, with most predicting a 9-7 type of team.
However, the Eagles surprised everyone winning the NFC East In Week 14 at L.A. Rams, clinching its 10th NFC East title and 25th all-time postseason appearance, and securing the No. 1 overall seed in the conference after a Week 16 win over the Raiders.
For the first time in 50 years, the NFL Draft was in Philadelphia, on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The three day event brought tons of NFL fans to the city and was received with very favorable reviews.
The NFL announced that nearly 100,000 fans attended Day 1 of the NFL Draft Experience, the largest attendance ever for a Draft-related event.
While Nolan Patrick, who was taken with the second overall pick in 2017, is off to a quiet start with two goals and seven points in 27 games this season, the Flyers are hoping that Patrick helps kick-start the Flyers rebuilding efforts into high gear.
The Flyers lucked out by getting the No. 2 pick, so now they're hopeful that Patrick can make the same impact as some recent high draft picks.
Honorable Mention Stories
The Passing of Roy Halladay, Darren Daulton
Sixers 10-5 month of January
Wayne Simmonds wins MVP of NHL All-Star game
Sean Couturier breaks out in 2017
Eagles score 51 points against Denver
Villanova Basketball gets No. 1 seed in NCAA Tourney
Sixers and Eagles both win on Christmas Day
St. Joe's Wildcats win South Jersey football title
St. Augustine Prep Hermits Basketball wins South Jersey title.