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What we're thankful for in Philly Sports in 2018

It's entirely natural to be thankful for the things that are prominent in our lives, especially things that are especially meaningful for us.

In the world of sports, there are things that excite us, leave us in a state of wonder, and things that bring us together.

It has been one memorable year for all of Philadelphia sports, thanks to the Eagles, who brought home their first ever Super Bowl Championship in February.

The editors of Sports Talk Philly took time to share what they are most thankful for about Philadelphia sports on this Thanksgiving Day.

Sixers - Josh Liddick: @JoshLiddickTalk

This has truly been a year of thankfulness within the Philadelphia 76ers organization for a variety of reasons. Last year at Thanksgiving, it was the ability to watch the makings of a young team come together and watch how Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons learn how to run the floor together for the first time.

This year, it's seeing the Process come to fruition with the ability to follow a team that finally has a Big 3 to cheer for. The addition of Jimmy Butler to the fold of Embiid and Simmons just exemplifies the kind of star power the Sixers have attracted in just one year's time.

As a fanbase, we should be thankful for the Sixers finally being a playoff contender year-in and year-out after such misery for such a long period of time. We should be thankful (at times) for a solid coach in Brett Brown who knows what's best for his team. We should be thankful for incredible moments and memories from Dario Saric and Robert Covington, whose departures definitely hurt, but was best for the long-term future of the franchise.

It's going to take a little while for this team to reach it's maximum potential, but when it does, we'll all know.

Flyers - Kevin Durso: @Kevin_Durso

The Flyers are currently 9-10-2 through 21 games, certainly not much of an improvement from any of the starts for the last few seasons. While fans can certainly be thankful for having a crop of young players in the lineup and more on the way, continued issues on special teams and in the crease with goaltenders have made the fan base more apathetic than ever.

If there are two things to be thankful for in the Flyers organization, it’s something new and something far too under appreciated.

Let’s be thankful for the career year Claude Giroux had last season and the steps he has taken to put it together again. He’s got 25 points so far this season through 21 games to follow up a 102-point season in 2017-18. He recently surpassed the 700-point mark for his career, is closing in on being second all-time in franchise history in assists and is already in fourth all-time in points. By season’s end, he will be third all-time in games played. He’s currently the city’s longest-tenured athlete. And he’s one of the franchise’s greats, even without the playoff success. He should be more appreciated than he is, because whenever his career comes to an end, it will surely be a sad day in Flyers history.

The other thing to be thankful for is a new addition to the Flyers family this season, and quite frankly, he’s serving as the biggest distraction from the on-ice issues. How can you not be thankful to have Gritty? Simply put, Gritty has turned out to be a stroke of marketing genius. You watch just to see what he will do next. His social media presence is equally hilarious. Whether you mocked the Flyers for making such a decision or loved Gritty from the start, he’s warmed his way into the hearts of Flyers fans. And believe me, when the team isn’t exactly turning in a great night on the ice, having Gritty to provide a laugh certainly makes a difference.

Eagles - Paul Bowman: @PhillyBallPaul

Of course, the most obvious thing to be thankful for in 2018 is a Super Bowl championship, the first in Philadelphia Eagles history. Anyone in the sports world has no greater aspiration than to get their team to a championship and that is just was happened for the birds at the very beginning of the year.

Fans should also be thankful for the moves that were made over the past few offseasons, however. The Eagles project to have 10 draft picks in the 2019 draft and have the resources to build a strong, inexpensive team around a young core of players like Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett.

The Eagles cap space will be tight and they have some key players that may leave via free agency, but Howie Roseman has prepared the team for that well by acquiring so many draft picks and finding veterans like Micheal Bennett and the low-cost options like Josh Adams, Avonte Maddox and Jordan Matthews, who have been more productive than anyone expected.

While many fans may be a bit down in the dumps around now, the division is still within grasp this season and the franchise is well poised to have many inexpensive playmakers around a young core of leaders.

Phillies - Matt Rappa: @MattRappaSports

When it comes to the Philadelphia Phillies, we have many reasons to be thankful. The 2018 season under first-year manager Gabe Kapler, although ending short of a playoff berth, held our interest much longer than in recent seasons past under Ryne Sandberg and Pete Mackanin.

It will only get better.

With Managing Partner John Middleton willing to spend “stupid” amounts of money to improve the club, we can expect a postseason and perhaps World Series-contending team in 2019 – assuming he follows through with such promise.

Seeing Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado in red pinstripes next season would generate much enthusiasm and excitement around the club. Adding them alone would surely generate more series wins than losses as well. And, who knows just who else the Phillies will add through free agency or trade.

Not only are the Phillies dedicated to improving their 25-man roster, they are also cognizant of the need to upgrade the stadium in which we, the fans, enjoy 81 games at each season. Last year, we were introduced to The Yard – featuring a wiffleball field put to good use during Alumni Weekend – a reimagined Wall of Fame, and a new eating area around the Harry Kalas statue. What will be introduced for the 2019 season – such as the revamped former McFadden’s location – remains to be seen … but there is no doubt it will be great.

The Phillies care about their fans. They want to put a good product on the field. They want their stadium to be appealing in all aspects. And for those reasons alone, we should be extremely thankful.


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