It’s that time of year again, and many across the country are taking the time over the Thanksgiving holiday to consider what they’re thankful for in their lives.
For many, that gratitude revolves around things that are a big part of one’s life. In the Philadelphia area, one of the most important things in many fans’ lives is their sports teams.
In the same vein, our Sports Talk Philly pundits shared what makes them thankful about the teams they cover.
Eagles – Paul Bowman: @PhillyBallPaul
The Eagles are currently the number one seed in the NFC with a 9-1 record. They have perhaps the most complete roster we’ve seen in Philadelphia since the 1960s, perhaps longer than that. It certainly would be enough to be grateful for on its own, but it takes a back seat to anything else.
What I’m thankful for is the Eagles roster building.
Not only is the Eagles roster made up of players who give the team a winning mentality and have them as the top seed in the NFC with a 9-1 record, but it contains an active core of younger players who are contributing and/or development with the team. The roster has quite a few veterans that it would seem unlikely for the team to bring back as they look to clear up more space on the edge, but it has also brought in young veterans like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, White Kyzir And AJ Brown that may/already feature in the team’s long-term plans. They also have a quarterback still on his rookie contract and players who are enjoying and enjoying playing for the team – something that could potentially be used to keep more players at a slightly discounted rate.
And despite the fact that they may lose some costly veterans, the Eagles remain in good shape to acquire more with two first-round picks in the upcoming draft (one currently in the top 10) and two second-round picks in the draft in 2024. If the Eagles have a top 10 pick, they could very well end up with more top tier picks later than that with the road Howie Roseman loves to make moves.
Overall, the Eagles are capable of not only winning their second Super Bowl Championship, but are in a position where they could maintain the level of talent on their roster going forward.
Flyers – Kevin Durso: @Kevin_Durso
As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a familiar feeling in Flyerland. The Flyers have lost eight consecutive games… stop me if you’ve heard this before.
The Flyers’ hot start to the season, a 7-3-2 record in their first 12 games, was definitely unexpected and it showed Carter Hart can put a team on his shoulders. That said, everything has come back to reality for the Orange and Black as injuries have taken their toll and the talent gap between the Flyers and the rest of the league only widens.
So what is there to be thankful for? For starters, a head coach who doesn’t give you jokes about record, injuries, predictions or playoffs. John Tortorella it’s about building an identity and when you have a team that may lack talent or experience, you focus on the effort. Tortorella is honest to a fault in this department. He’s not praising for no reason, he’s not trying to invent positive narratives out of thin air, he’s telling it like it is. And he’s been saying from day one that there’s a lot of work to be done.
Some of that work will almost certainly come in the next offseason. And the NHL Draft could become a big moment for the Flyers in how they run their franchise moving forward. An opportunity for a generational talent may await them, especially as the losses pile up. The possibility of Connor Bedard, Adam Fantillior Matev Michkov he’s just the kind of talent the team needs, a young talent being talked about in league circles who is sure to draw a crowd. Just look at the highlights of Bedard, Fantilli or Michkov to understand what I mean.
Philadelphia – Michael Lipinsky: @MLipinskiSport
Well, this might be the simplest of the bunch!
I was about to choose the manager of the Phillies rob Thompson but I felt I would offend our Canadian readers. Thomson, a Canadian, and his fellow countrymen celebrate Thanksgiving in early October. Today is just a random Thursday in November for them, eh!
In all seriousness, I am thankful for the Philadelphia Phillies, 2023 National League champions. All of them, even Rhys Hoskins And Nick Castellanos.
It was fun to experience “Red October” for the first time in over a decade. And maybe, just maybe this Phillies run has built some new fans along the way.
I’m thankful for what we’ve been missing out on throughout October past, tight pitching (most of the time), incredible fielding, monster home runs, a wild Citizens Bank Park, legacy displays, and more Scott Franzke radio magic.
Coming back to Topper, I’m grateful that Thomson has gone all in on daycare and allowed this club to show its personality. He made watching Phillies baseball fun again. Who knew this team was made up of a bunch of maniacs, in a good way.
Finally, going back to that “Red October” thing from above, I’m grateful that I got to experience this postseason ride with my kids. They weren’t old enough to understand the Birds’ run at the Lombardi’s in 2017, but they did understand and believe in the magic of postseason baseball. Seeing joy and eventually despair – welcome to Philadelphia sports fandom, kiddos! – is something I will cherish forever.
Sixer – Matthew Gregan: @MattGreganNBA
The Sixers had a bit of a rough start to the season. They are 9-8 and have battled a lot of injuries. Still, I’m grateful that, when they’re fully healthy, they have a talented team that can make the playoffs every season.
I am thankful for Tirese Maxey, who is energetic and continues to impress with his rapid development as a player. Joel Embiid continues to play at MVP level. James Hardenbefore injuring his foot, he looked much closer to “Houston Harden,” someone capable of dropping more than 25 points on any given night. Tobit Harris he’s excelling in his spacer role this season. The bench seems to be much improved compared to previous seasons.
While things undoubtedly aren’t perfect, there are more reasons to be thankful for this year’s Sixers team. Hopefully, this is the year they’ll be able to make a long playoff run.
Union – David Malandra Jr. @DaveMReports
There are three big things that stand out for which we should be thankful for the Philadelphia Union. The first thing is the head coach Jim Curtinhe was one of the best coaches in MLS and has been with the team since 2014. During that time he built the team into one of the best teams in MLS and was able to lead his team to win the club’s first ever Eastern Championship of conference in 2022.
The second thing is that Philadelphia Union fans should be very thankful for that Andre Blake. Blake was one of the best goaltenders in MLS and the Union was very lucky to recruit Blake with the number one pick in 2014.
The last thing Philadelphia Union fans need to be thankful for is the growth of the fan base over the years, led by the Sons of Ben and also having Alejandro Bedoya like the captain.