By: Alyssa Adams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Is it safe to say a Super Bowl Championship made dealing with the ups and downs of Philadelphia sports teams a little bit easier this year? Here are the top 10 Philly sports stories of 2018:
10. The Phillies Late-Season Collapse
Should we have seen this one coming?
In early August the Phillies were strong contenders for the NL East. At one point, they led the Braves by a game and were 14 games above .500. And then… they fell apart. The Phillies were eliminated from the playoff race in late September. Sure, no one had high hopes — cue the Harry Kalas voice — in the beginning of the season but after a hot streak of competing with top MLB teams, we were all disappointed when they lost the magic.
9. Villanova Wins Championship
A dynasty in the making? The Villanova Wildcats captured their second title in three years, easily beating Michigan 79-62. And with their win, Philadelphia had a second championship parade to throw in a year.
8. Flyers Introduce Gritty
Could the Flyers nationally-known mascot appear as the 2018 Academy Awards host?
Hate’em or love’em. There was a social media uproar after the Flyers unveiled their new mascot Gritty in September. The 7-foot-tall, orange, fuzzy creature instantly became national news. After Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars, Gritty agreed he would step in to save the day.
7. Chase Utley’s Last Series In Philadelphia
Say it ain’t so!
We all hoped the day would never come. It was the end of an era as Chase Utley said his goodbyes to Citizen’s Bank Park in late July. There’s no doubt that deep down every Phillies’ fan hoped and prayed he would come back and retire as a Phillie.
6. Carson Wentz Gets Injured… Again.
There’s a reason we didn’t trade the Super Bowl MVP.
Week after week, football fans began to wonder if Carson Wentz was still hurt or if his stellar 2017-18 season before his ACL injury was a fluke. There’s no doubt the 2018-19 Eagles team was plagued by injuries, but Wentz just didn’t look the same — overthrowing or underthrowing his receivers and missing looks. The Eagles were on the brink of missing the playoffs after a devastating overtime loss to the Cowboys when word got out that Wentz was missing practice for “back soreness.” Then, coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Wentz had a stress injury to his back that “evolved over time” — explains a lot. The Eagles say he could miss up to three months but the injury doesn’t require surgery.
Could the Super Bowl MVP lead the Eagles to another playoff run?
5. The Markelle Fultz Saga: The Diagnosis
And… the saga continues.
Ah, where to begin with this one? Shooting issues led to visits with several specialists and the No. 1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz, was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and is out indefinitely. TOS causes pain and weakness around the neck, shoulder and arm. Fultz is trying to treat TOS with physical therapy. Do we have faith he can turn around and be the player we need?
4. Bryan Colangelo’s Alleged Burner Accounts
Come on Eric Jr., eventually someone was going to get suspicious.
This one turned the Sixers organization into the laughing stock of the NBA. The Ringer.com released a report accusing General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo of having secret Twitter accounts where he criticized players and released confidential team information. Colangelo resigned after an investigation linked the burner accounts to his wife, Barbara Bottini.
3. Flyers Fire GM Ron Hextall, Head Coach Dave Hakstol
It was a long-time coming.
After a below average start to the season, something had to be done. The Flyers started the shakeup when they fired Ron Hextall at the end of November. Fast-forward to Dec. 16, the Flyers were heading home after a bleak road trip when reports broke that the Flyers fired Hakstol. When the team landed they denied the reports and then fired him Monday morning. They named Scott Gordon interim head coach. Potential franchise goaltender, 20-year-old Carter Hart, was called up and led the Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Red Wings in both of their debuts on Dec. 18.
2. Sixers Trade For Jimmy Butler
The process is now.
After a quiet offseason, Sixers General Manager Elton Brand made an early November splash. Jimmy Butler wanted out of Minnesota and the Sixers needed a star. The Sixers sent our beloved Dario Saric and defensive superstar Robert Covington to the Timberwolves to make the Butler trade happen. Even though it was sad seeing The Homie and RoCo go, we were going to have to let go of someone in order to be Eastern Conference contenders.
1. THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS
Arguably the most iconic moment in Philadelphia sports history.
What a beautiful trophy. The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions for the first time ever and man does that feel good to say. After a devastating, season-ending injury to Carson Wentz, Nick Foles led the Eagles to the promise land and beat the New England Patriots for a Super Bowl victory we will never forget. From watching the historic Philly Special to Jason Kelce’s legendary speech on the Art Museum steps, the Super Bowl win filled the void generations of Eagles fans have been waiting for.