Philadelphia was the city of champions in 2018 as the Eagles won the franchise’s first Super Bowl and the Villanova Wildcats took home their second men’s NCAA Basketball trophy in three years. The parades and pageantry around each event will be ingrained in Philadelphians’ hearts for generations. Take a look at those and other memorable moments in Philly sports from this year.
How could we tell the story of 2018 in Philadelphia sports without starting with the Super Bowl-champion Eagles? It's a team that overcame being underdogs in every playoff game to win the title. They <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/Super-Bowl-LII-Recap-Eagles-Stun-Patriots-472669103.html" target="_blank">beat the Patriots 41-33</a> and then led a wild party up Broad Street.
The play of the game — maybe even Super Bowl history — was the gutsy touchdown-scoring, 4th-down "<a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/eagles/_Philly_special__immortalized_on_SI_cover-472945683.html" target="_blank">Philly Special</a>." Nick Foles caught the ball and became immortal. Heck, a beer company even <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/multimedia/Philly-Special-Statue-Unveiled-Outside-Eagles-Stadium-492528511.html" target="_blank">built a statue dedicated to the play</a> at Lincoln Financial Field.
Eagles fans poured onto city streets to celebrate the underdog champions.
Center Jason Kelce, in full Mummers attire, then endeared himself forever to fans with a profanity-laced Super Bowl parade speech. "No one likes us, we don't care..." (Watch the full speech <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/eagles/Jason_Kelce_delivers_passionate_speech_we_ll_remember_in_100_years-473429553.html" target="_blank">here</a>)
The championship vibes continued in April when the Villanova Wildcats <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/NCAA-Title-Game-What-to-Watch-Villanova-Michigan-478520343.html" target="_blank">beat the Michigan Wolverines 79-62</a> in the the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game.
Villanova's campus might be out on the Main Line, but they <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/Villanova-NCAA-Nova-Parade-Victory-478802633.html" target="_blank">paraded through Center City</a> Philadelphia to celebrate the win.
The title was the second in three years for Jay Wright's team.
Talking about returns, Nick Foles <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/eagles/Nick_Foles_named_NFC_Offensive_Player_of_the_Week_PHI-503501142.html" target="_blank">is on another run</a> for the Eagles after franchise quarterback Carson Wentz has been lost to injury for the second-straight season.
An Eagles legend also got his due in 2018. Iconic safety Brian "Weapon X" Dawkins was <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/eagles/Roob_s_10_observations_from_Brian_Dawkins__Hall_of_Fame_Weekend_in_Canton-490099301.html" target="_blank">enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame</a> in August.
He might have been wearing Dodgers' blue, but he still bleeds Phillies' red. Chase Utley <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/phillies/Chase_Utley_makes_it_clear_where_Phillies_fans_rank_in_his_heart-488943621.html" target="_blank">tipped his hat to Phillies fans</a> during his final games at Citizens Bank Park in July.
Other stars from the Phillies 2008 World Series championship team called it a career in 2018. Shane Victorino (<a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/phillies/Shane_Victorino_retires_as_a_Phillie__salutes_the_city_where_his_dreams_came_true-490038271.html" target="_blank">who retired as a Phillie in August</a>) joined Ryan Howard in officially calling it a career. Jimmy Rollins never had an official announcement but will be <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/phillies/Phillies_to_hold_3_retirement_ceremonies_for_Jimmy_Rollins__Chase_Utley__Ryan_Howard.html" target="_blank">honored along with Utley and Howard</a> in the coming season. Jayson Werth also <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/phillies/What_did_Jayson_Werth_say_to_impending_free_agent_Bryce_Harper_about_Philadelphia_.html" target="_blank">hung up his cleats</a> and was honored during the 10th anniversary of the World Series win.
Speaking of retirements: Longtime Philadelphia basketball coach Fran Dunphy announced that this will be his final season coaching the Temple Owls.
Also waving goodbye was former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/flyers/Flyers_fire_GM_Ron_Hextall.html" target="_blank">Hextall's November firing</a> was just the first management change for the Orange and Black as coach Dave Hakstol and others were also forced out. The <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/flyers/A_timeline_of_the_Flyers__massive_shake-up_with_more_to_come_PHI-502986871.html" target="_blank">Flyers' shake-up</a> likely will continue with player moves in 2019.
Also calling it quits was Wing Bowl. The annual Super Bowl weekend celebration, a relic of the pre-#MeToo era, that featured plenty of gluttony, excess, alcohol and chicken wings, was <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/94-WIP-Wing-Bowl-Ends-499004081.html" target="_blank">ended by the 94-WIP Morning Show crew</a> after 26 years.
Talking about moves, Gabe Kapler took over as Phillies manager and promptly <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/phillies/A_loss_so_embarrassing_that_even_the_umpire_rips_Phillies.html" target="_blank">gained widespread criticism</a> for his lack of bullpen awareness and controversial pitching moves in the Phillies' opening series. Kapler got his team on track and actually led the Phillies to first place before a late-season swoon that left the Phillies under .500.
Oddness and controversy shrouded the 76ers in 2018. General manager Bryan Colangelo <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/sixers/Philadelphia-76ers-GM-Bryan-Colangelo-Amid-Shadow-Twitter-Account-Controversy-484479631.html" target="_blank">resigned in June</a> after a burner Twitter account controversy. Colangelo's wife wound up taking the blame for the Twitter accounts used to criticize players and release sensitive information.
Jerry Colangelo, who served a special adviser to the Sixers, <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/sixers/Jerry_Colangelo_s_contract_with_Sixers_as_special_adviser__over_at_the_end_of_the_year_-489519601.html" target="_blank">followed his son out the door</a> in the wake of the tweet mess that gripped the national sports world.
New general manager Elton Brand made his mark early in the 2018-2019 season by trading for superstar Jimmy Butler. Stay tuned to see if he leads the Sixers to the finals.
Markelle Fultz was seen in street clothes a lot more than a uniform in 2018 as the former top pick in the NBA Draft struggled with ineffectiveness and a <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/sixers/Report__Sixers__Markelle_Fultz_to_miss_time__see_shoulder_specialist-500936861.html" target="_blank">mysterious shoulder injury</a> that has sidelined him for most of his two seasons in Philly.
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Also in the strange Sixers draft category comes the June draft night experience of Mikal Bridges. <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/sixers/Social_media_explodes_with_reactions_about_Mikal_Bridges_and_his_mom.html" target="_blank">Social media exploded</a> after the Nova standout and Philadelphia-area native was drafted by his hometown team then traded minutes later. He celebrated the initial moment with a hug from his mom, who works for the Sixers' ownership organization, and plenty of smiles before being traded to the Suns for Zhaire Smith and a future draft pick.
Isn't it hard to remember a world without <a href="https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/csn/flyers/Flyers_introduce_new_mascot__Gritty_-494141121.html" target="_blank">Flyers mascot Gritty</a>?