So this was the best sports weekend of 2013 in Philadelphia, right? That declaration is kind of easy to make because it’s been such a crappy, crappy sports year—we’ve seen turnover in the head-coaching position for every major pro team, and nobody went to the playoffs this year. Aside from Chip Kelley’s opening-weekend win with the Eagles, it’s difficult to think of any other weekend that has produced this much fun for the city’s sports fans in awhile.
• The Sixers, who were literally only supposed to win around 17 games this season, used their opening weekend to go 3-0—beating defending champion Miami* and Eastern Conference contender Chicago in the process. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams looks like the real deal: Even Magic Johnson says so. And while this can’t last forever—this is a team built to suck, and that suckiness can’t help but reveal itself over the course of an 82-game regular season—it’s a hope-building, Hoosier-like way to build a little fan support in what was widely assumed to be a lost season. Now? Well, now the Sixers can start losing; we’ll want to keep watching to see if Carter-Williams can blossom into the amazing point guard he appears to be.
*By virtue of that win over Miami, Grantland has proclaimed the 76ers as the NBA Regular Season Champs. The idea works the way boxing’s heavyweight championship belt does—Miami won the NBA championship last year, so they started this season as the champs. “The winners of the previous season’s NBA Finals start with the title. Whoever beats them takes the title from them. That team holds the championship until it loses, and so on, and so on. It’s just king of the hill, played out over 82 games.” Since the Sixers beat Miami, they took possession of the “Regular Season Champs” title. There’s nothing to this quirky idea, but it kind of makes the long regular season a little more fun to pay attention to seemingly hopeless teams like the Sixers.
• Nick Foles tied Peyton Manning’s single-game touchdown record in Sunday’s victory over the Oakland Raiders. Which means the Eagles don’t have a quarterback controversy this week!
If Chip Kelly was unsure who his quarterback would be when Michael Vick returns from his hamstring injury, Foles made an awfully persuasive case: 22-for-28, 406 yards, a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and zero interceptions.
This team desperately needed a big game from a quarterback, any quarterback. Foles gave the Eagles one of the greatest games ever played.
“Nick is a tremendous quarterback,” center Jason Kelce. “There was a little bit different look in his eye going into the game. It was his mannerisms and everything. He was upset with the way he played before, in the Dallas game. The whole team was a little bit down. I just think, overall, he seemed extremely focused on having a good game this week.”
Maybe there will be another great sports weekend in Philadelphia this calendar year, but at this point that depends on the Flyers hitting an unexpected hot streak. So…maybe just savor this one, OK?