by Kevin K
Another year comes and goes. Another year in which there were talks of a "Dream Team", All In, 100+ wins, goalie controversy, Mike Richards annd Jeff Carter and their "island", promises made and broken.
2011 was different and unique in it's own way. There were no championships brought to Philly this year; however, we still saw some remarkable things.
As they said in the movie Miracle, "great moments are born from great opportunities" ... that's what we had in 2011.
5. Eagles are "All In"
I know, right off the bat and I go with the Eagles being "All In" after a disappointing season in which there are no playoffs and the Eagles may end the season at 8-8; but don't you remember how exciting that week was for Philadelphia Eagles fans?
Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, Steve Smith, Ronnie Brown, Cullen Jenkins, and Vince Young? It seemed as if the Eagles hit the lottery in the off-season with talent. We found out during the season being the "Dream Team" definitely had a disadvantage, but the week of free agent signings the Eagles had was unforgettable and that is why it is #5 on our list.
Although the Eagles season has accomplished very little this season, there were still a few bright spots. LeSean McCoy's was definitely the brightest (Jason Babin TBD). McCoy broke the long standing touchdown records of Eagles great, Steve Van Buren on Sunday, December 18th. A record that has been held since 1945 of 15 rushing touchdowns and 18 overall touchdowns has been broken by Shady.
LeSean McCoy showed what he can do with the ball this season and became an elite HB in the NFL, who was also voted as starter for the Pro Bowl.
Flyers fans were excited this off-season when they found out the Flyers would be signing goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. What no one saw coming was the trades of both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. The trades brought about worries on who would lead the Flyers in scoring, until the season actually started. Fans were outraged more over the trade of Mike Richards than that of Jeff Carter; however, the signings that came after the trades were truly amazing for the Flyers.
In the Jeff Carter trade, the Flyers received Jakub Voracek and in the Mike Richards trade, the Flyers received Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn (along with a draft pick).
The Flyers off-season was not finished there, however. The Flyers announced the signing of a certain aged winger who was making his way back into the NHL. That Winger turned down a deal with the rival Penguins and signed with the Flyers. That is right, Jaromir Jagr's signing definitely captivated fans, first with a questionable concern, which quickly turned into salutes.
Another signing which was questioned was the addition of Maxime Talbot. Talbot was hated here in Philadelphia as a Penguin, and then he signed on to the Flyers and has slowly started changing our minds.
The Flyers off-season was truly one of the most memorable moments of 2011.
It was late May and the Phillies were in a 19 inning battle with the Cincinnati Reds. The Phillies ran out of relief pitchers in the 14th inning when the sent in unlikely hero Danys Baez who shut down the Reds bats for 5 innings, but the Phillies still couldn't get the win within those 5 innings.
With no one left in the Phillies bullpen, there was only one thing to do, have a position player pitch, and hold on to your breathe.
Enter Wilson Valdez in the 19th inning. Valdez shut down the heart of the Reds order (shutting down Jay Bruce and Joey Votto).
Valdez picked up the W in the bottom of the 19th inning, when Raul Ibanez hit in the game winning run leading to a Phillies 5-4 win over the Reds.
That game in late May against the Reds was definitely one that Phillies phans will never forget.
The Phillies and Mets continue to be one of the biggest rivalries in Philadelphia (even after the financial instability of the Mets Organization). Both fan bases hate each other and express that hate whether they are at Citizens Bank Park or CitiField.
Sunday Night Baseball, May 1st, 2011 was no different. The Phillies and Mets were in a lack of offense game, that would have been just an ordinary game in May ... until phones started to explode with text messages and fans started to put their radios on news stations. The stadium lit up with excitement, but not the excitement of something happening on the field.
Osama Bin Laden, the man that put terror in the eyes of Americans since his attack on 9/11/2001 is dead. News quickly broke out at Citizens Bank Park of his death, and chants of "U.S.A." broke out at the ballpark.
The Phillies ended up losing 2-1 to the Mets in the game, but for one moment the game didn't matter. One moment the fiercest of rivals became one. For one moment a feeling of euphoria came over a ballpark filled with fans that hated each other.
May 1st, 2011 .... U.S.A. stood strong together, with a National spotlight shining down on the Phans of Philadelphia.