The Sports Bash Top 10 Philly Sports Stories of 2018
Another year of Philadelphia sports is in the books.
After a miserable 2015 for Philly sports, 2016 at least had some positive vibes, but 2017 was the year of turning the corner for the Philly sports scene and 2018 saw the Eagles bring the first Super Bowl to the city of Philadelphia, which undoubtedly was the top moment in what was a fun sports year!
So what were some of the top moments (in no particular order) of the year? Let’s take a look back at 2018
1. Eagles Win Super Bowl
After four league titles, 14 NFC East titles, 25 playoff appearances, and three NFC championships, on Feb. 4, 2018 the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Following a 13-3 regular season, losing Carson Wentz to injury, Nick Foles took the Eagles and their fans on a magical ride to Minnesota, knocking off the New England Patriots, on his way to earning Super Bowl MVP honors.
Brandon Graham's strip sack will forever be remembered for what in my opinion is the most important play in franchise history, the 'Philly special' featuring Foles, Trey Burton and Corey Clement will be remembered as the most memorable play in team history.
After years-and-years of frustration, the Eagles finally captured the city's first Lombardi trophy with a 41-33 win.
2. Eagles Beat Falcons on Final Play to Advance to NFC Title Game.
It all came down to one final play, on 4th-and-goal at the Eagles two-yard line. Matt Ryan's fourth-down pass sailed incomplete, over the outstretched arms of Julio Jones and the Eagles ran out the clock to advance to face the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game with a 15-10 win.
The win over the Falcons, was the teams first playoff win since 2008, and their first at home since 2004.
3. Patrick Robinson Interception Sparks Eagles Win in NFC Championship Game
The Vikings took an early 7-point lead in the game and were driving again, but Patrick Robinson stepped in an changed the entire momentum of the game and helps lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2004.
Robinson stepped in front of a Case Keenum pass ans took it 50-yards for the score and the Eagles piled on for a 38-7 win over Minnesota.
Nick Foles had 352 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
4. Sixers Win 16 Straight, Beat the Heat in Playoffs
'The process' many can't even define it, and everyone seems to have their own definition. Either way, its fair to say that for a period of time from 2013-2017 it was hard to imagine that Sixers ever being in the NBA playoffs, let alone winning a NBA playoff series
Add in a 16-game win streak to end the season, getting the Sixers up to the No. 3 seed with 52 wins, and a first-round match-up with the Heat, 2018 was a launching pad for the Sixers franchise.
The team went on a magical run to end the 2017-18 season. Even more impressive, they did it without Joel Embiid for the last seven games, after he fractured his orbital bone during a March 30th game against the Knicks.
It was a fun, and wild ride, and it raised expectations for the young Sixers and made basketball fun and relevant in the city again!
The finally accomplished that, for the first time since the 2011-12 season, the Sixers won a playoff series, 4-1 over the Miami Heat.
5. Flyers Fire Hextall and Hakstol
The Flyers haven't won a championship since the Stanley Cups of 1974 and 1975. They have reached the Finals and lost six times over that span.
Many hoped that former goalie Ron Hextal would be the one to get them that third Stanley Cup.
After another slow start to the season, and preaching of patience, the Flyers finally cut the cord on their version of the process on Nov 26, firing GM Ron Hextall, and then on Dec 16, fired his hand-picked coach Dave Hakstol.
Hextall, a very popular former Flyer, had a plethora of young talent in the system, but his reluctance to want to play them was just one of the reasons he was given his walking papers.
6. Sixers acquire Jimmy Butler from Timberwolves
The Sixers added another piece to their puzzle on Nov. 12, 2018 acquiring jimmy Butler in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless. Butler has added some late game, crunch time scoring and tenacity on defense, but the team still seems to be a piece or two short.
In 18 games with the Sixers, Butler is averaging 18.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 31.9 minutes per game.
But adding Butler to the mix has expectations very high for the Sixers.
7. Nola Becomes Cy Young Candidate
It was a breakout season for Sixers starting pitcher Aaron Nola. Nola, the former No.7 overall pick in the draft, went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 33 starts. He notched 224 strikeouts against 58 walks in 212 1/3 innings this year.
Nola was brilliant, emerging as a legit ace, finishing third in the Cy Young race behind winner Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer.
Pencil Nola in to start opening day against the Braves on March 28, at Citizens Bank Park.
8. Carter Gets the Call
The Flyers future finally arrived on Dec 17, 2018.
The team recalled 20-year old goalie Carter Hart, and put him right into net the following day, stopping 20 of 22 shots in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. He followed it up with another outstanding outing allowing one goal on 32 shots in a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
The 20-year-old netminder stopped 51 of 54 shots for a 1.50 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in his first two games, before allowed four goals on 19 shots in a 4-3 loss to Columbus.
Either way, the future looks bright for Hart and the Flyers may have finally found their goaltender.
9. Phillies Trade for Jean Segura
While we haven't even seen Segura on the field yet, he adds a legitimate all-star caliber player to their lineup that lacked punch in 2018. Acquired Segura from the Mariners on Dec 3, 2018, along with RHP Juan Nicasio and LHP James Pazos for 1B Carlos Santana and SS J.P. Crawford, Segura has four years and $57 million remaining on his contract.
The shortstop hit .304 with 10 homers and 63 RBI in 2018, and posted a healthy .308/.353/.449 batting line over the last three seasons and will turn just 29 in March.
He is a versatile player, who can play multiple positions, but most likely will be the Phillies starting shortstop in 2019.
10. Nick Foles
On last years list, Carson Wentz emergence made the top 10, this year its his backup, Nick Foles that finds a spot on the list.
Winning the Super Bowl MVP was the tip of the iceberg for Foles who not only led the Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl, winning two playoff games along the way, but has also reignited fans in the 2018 season that has been a dud for the most part, until he took over and has give the season a spark.
Foles led the 2018 to upset wins over both the Rams and Texans, putting them in position to make it back to the playoffs.
Nova Beats Michigan to win second NCAA basketball title in three seasons.
Flyers sign JVR
Bryan Colangelo fired, Elton Brand hired as Sixers GM
Chase Utley's final games in Philadelphia
Ocean City girls knock off Mainland in Grip III finals
Both CAL basketball Finals finish in overtime with Mainland girls, Wildwoos Catholic boys winning
St. Joe's defeats Holy Spirit in Non-Public II title game
Gene Allen relieved of his duties, then re-hired by ACBOE