From my personal experience, there are two different types of Thanksgiving Day gatherings.
One family will sit around the table and actually engage each other, asking about the wife/kid/job/dog and sharing some thoughts about what they’re thankful for.
The other family will get their food and separate into different rooms. The men usually go watch a dreadful Detroit Lions game while the women sort of congregate in the sitting room. There’s awkward small talk with the in-law who, for the life of me, I can’t remember what they do for a living. Someone will eventually make an off-base political or religious comment. Everybody wraps it up and goes home to binge watch some television series and pass out on the couch.
Whichever scenario describes your family, at least the Philly sports discussion will be positive this Thanksgiving, for the first time in a long time.
The Birds are 9-1 with a franchise quarterback and franchise head coach.
The defense is stellar, the skill guys are making pays, and the backup linebacker is a serviceable kicker.
I wrote about the underrated offensive line this week…
…so give it a read, but only after finishing this story.
They’re above .500 for the first time in a long time. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are superstars. Robert Covington got paid (and earned every dollar). The Wells Fargo Center is packed. The team is fun to watch.
Sure, the Markelle Fultz situation remains muddy, but at least it’s been nipped in the bud. The bench is banged up and needs to contribute more. Jahlil Okafor is stuck in basketball purgatory.
But the ceiling is high for this team as they’re already surpassing expectations in year number one of the post-process era.
Ben Simmons is a magician.
Just look at this move. pic.twitter.com/GKfbmmynv6
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 19, 2017
I’m truly intrigued to see how Gabe Kapler does at the Phils’ helm. I’m not sure if the manager should be in better shape than the players, but maybe his discipline in the realm of health and fitness rubs off on the locker room. Do they respond well or are they totally turned off by it? No clue, but it feels like there’s no middle ground here.
Either way, there’s a corner being turned here. Kapler may or may not be the “guy,” but he’s certainly interesting. Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Altherr are worth the price of admission.There are definitely some things to build on, which wasn’t the case as recently as a year ago.
They’re uh.. well.. there is some good young talent I guess.
Here’s the thing with the Flyers – who on this team “excites” you? Is it Claude Giroux? Jake Voracek? Wayne Simmonds? Who do you look forward to watching on the ice?
They just don’t have that Carson Wentz or Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid. There’s no flashy goal scorer or generational superstar. The goaltending is what it is.
They’re a faster team this year, and there’s less physicality and mucking and grinding and fighting and bullshitting, but you still need to have at least somewhat of an edge, and that’s something this squad lacks. There are some interesting pieces there, but they aren’t playing like a team, or a well-coached team for that matter.
Well, we can be thankful that the 2017 season is over.
They started 0-4-4 this season, scraped back to the .500 mark, then fell below the playoff line when the cream of the Eastern Conference started rising to the top. They are a boring team with boring players and boring tactics.
So it’s on Sporting Director Earnie Stewart to nail this offseason and give Union fans something to look forward to in 2018. We already know that his hands are tied due to owner Jay Sugarman’s ridiculous frugality. I mean, think about it, our expansion lacrosse and eSports teams have better ownership than the Philadelphia Union.
The window of relevance closed this year when the Eagles and Sixers made strides. I’ve spoken in the past about how the Union had this opportunity to take advantage of the void in Philadelphia sports. Maybe they could rip off a few wins and generate some buzz. But they didn’t. They blew it. They were just as bad as every other team in town. They need to win this season, or else it’s time for Sugarman to cash out and get out.
Big 5 basketball
I didn’t go to school in Philly, so I know the Temple grad isn’t cheering for St. Joe’s or Villanova or La Salle or whatever.
But it’s fun for neutrals. Nova won a title last year. A couple of these teams are always in the NCAA tournament. It’s a shame that the parochial nature of Big 5 basketball fractures fandom to a point where the average “four for four” jabroni doesn’t really care. College hoops is some of the best competition in the country, and we’ve got a bunch of decent programs right here in town.
Matt Rhule come home.
Some other things to be thankful for:
- the reopening of the I-95 northbound on-ramp in Fishtown
- beer selection at the Port Richmond IGA
- no more registration stickers on your license plate
- Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos (nacho cheese flavor only, not ranch)
- the Hyundai “Sweet Caroline” commercial appears to be out of rotation
- playoffs in college football
- increased coverage of Premier League and Bundesliga
- new Wu Tang album
- Australian meat pies
- NFL RedZone
- the five year anniversary of the Mark Sanchez butt fumble
People, groups, or things that we shouldn’t be thankful for in 2017:
- Lavar Ball
- the “media member” who sits in press row but doesn’t actually do any work during the game
- local TV stations who continually do out of market stories, because the point is to cover news in the PHILADELPHIA AREA, not send reporters to Florida and Spain
- whoever keeps putting Ed Rendell on the Eagles post-game show
- the Soda Tax
- cheesesteak and Rocky mentions during national Eagles broadcasts
- the Schuylkill Expressway
- people who bring their dog to an off-leash dog park, then say, “watch out, my dog isn’t friendly with other dogs”
- Skip Bayless
- Will Cain
- Nick Wright