It’s been an especially rough year for Philly sports fans. The professional teams are god-awful, and none of them show any sort of concrete promise for becoming championship contenders next year. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was “released,” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was told to take a hike and… Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is still around.
But those losing records and flared-up tempers make for some moments and trends that make national headlines. Here are 12 of the lowlights:
Philly pro teams are the worst ever
This year was absolutely the worst ever for Philadelphia pro sports teams. It beat 1972, when the Eagles were 2-11-1. And it beat 1973, when the Sixers were 9-73. Yes, in order for 2015 to have *not* been the worst year in Philadelphia professional sports history, the Eagles would have had to have gone 9-7. Even if they win their final game of the season on Sunday against the Giants, they’ll still be just 7-9. Oof. And to make matters worse, not only was it the worst year ever in Philadelphia, but we also had the worst combined sports teams in all of North America this year. I guess the good news is it can (hopefully) only get better from here?
Chip Kelly era ends with one game left to go
We thought the year in sports was all wrapped up like a Christmas present come Dec. 29. We were wrong. Tuesday evening, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie announced head coach Chip Kelly was “released” after spending three seasons in Philly and amassing a 26-21 record. In addition, Vice President of Player Personnel Ed Marynowitz was also released. Lurie didn’t give a reason for the swift end to Kelly’s tenure — especially as there’s just one game left to go — but it’s been reported there was an argument as to whether or not Kelly should have acted as a GM and a coach. Speculation is already flying as to where Kelly will go (to the Titans to reunite with Marcus Mariota?) and who will fill his slot.
The Sixers didn’t win until Kobe’s final game in Philly
It was almost impressive how long the Sixers had gone without winning a game. The tanking basketball team was 0-18 heading into an early December matchup against the equally abysmal Los Angeles Lakers, and the game was special: It was to be area native Kobe Bryant’s last game in Philly. But the Sixers clinched the win! It made their 1-18 start TIED with the record for the worst start ever in professional basketball.
Philly says good riddance to Ruben Amaro Jr.
Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr., known for always being sad, got the axe in September when his contract wasn’t renewed by the club. There were still 22 games left to play in the Phillies’ worst season since the ’70s (but Amaro thought you should stop bitching about that, anyway). Amaro had been GM with the Phillies since 2009 after former GM Pat Gillick took over as team president following the Phillies’ World Series win in 2008. To replace Amaro, the Phillies hired 35-year-old Matt Klentak, an assistant GM with the Angels.
Eagles fan knocks out trash-talking Giants fan
This is what happens when two idiots meet in a Philly subway station after a professional football game. A trash-talking Giants fan wouldn’t shut up and was subsequently laid out by an angry Eagles fan — and it was all caught on a video that circulated after it went down. The Giants fan from Delco talked to PhillyMag afterwards and said: “I probably could have controlled the situation, but stuff happens.”
The Sixers have a new mascot!
Nothing says Philadelphia like a humanized blue dog! The Sixers this year unveiled Franklin, their new mascot who replaces Hip-Hop, the weird, tall, muscular, sunglasses-wearing rabbit who was officially killed off last year. Things we know about Franklin: He once rappelled down a skyscraper. He likes “Hotline Bling.” And the guy who plays Franklin hates Philadelphia and the Sixers. Natch.
Chip Kelly obliterates the roster (and gets called a racist)
The Eagles (no former) head coach got full control of the roster this year and he decided, “hey, why not completely blow it up?” Bye, LeSean McCoy. See ya, Nick Foles. Peace out, Cary Williams. Farewell, Jeremy Maclin. Adios, Evan Mathis. You get the picture. So he explodes the roster and then McCoy, who was traded to the Bills, had this to say to ESPN: “You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason. … It’s hard to explain with him. But there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players — the good ones — like that.” Kelly says he’s not a racist and some black players from the team told Bleacher Report that no one should worry: Chip Kelly isn’t a racist, they said, he’s just an asshole.
Speaking of the roster, remember when Tim Tebow was an Eagle?
Tim Tebow was an Eagle (however briefly) this year and Chip Kelly and the team made national headlines for it because… Tebow. He was trying to win the No. 3 quarterback job with the Birds when he was cut by Kelly in September. “We felt Tim has progressed,” Kelly said after, “but we didn’t feel he was good enough to be the [No.] 3 right now.” Sigh. I guess this psychic was sorely mistaken.
Jahlil Okafor can’t stop getting in trouble
Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor apparently likes to drive really fast and beat people up and also try to use a fake I.D. We’ve already been over his transgressions in our other round-up of the Year in Philly Crime, but suffice it to say he’s made plenty of headlines… for many of the wrong reasons. That could have been the last straw for NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who denies he strong-armed owner Josh Harris into hiring Jerry Colangelo so the team could maybe stop losing so many games.
Lots of people hate Chase Utley during the NLDS
Longtime Phillie Chase Utley was traded to the Dodgers this year and the city collectively wept, but then a large contingent of humanity hated him during the National League Division Series. The Dodgers were taking on the New York Mets for an opportunity to go to the World Series, and during Game 2, Utley took a late (and hard) slide into second base. In the process, he ran into Mets second baseman Ruben Tejada and broke his leg, sparking outrage among baseball faithful. But to many in Philly, the move was no surprise. Utley’s played, uh, “hard” for years.
The Santa we threw snowballs at died
This year was the first time Philly had a Christmas without the Santa we famously booed and threw snowballs at in 1968. Frank Olivo was 20 years old when he was pelted with snowballs by angry Eagles fans and died at age 66 earlier this year after suffering from diabetes and heart disease. But the story that’s gone down in history as a quintessential instance of Philadelphia sports rage could last forever. “The whole Eagles thing has taken on a life of its own,” his cousin told Billy Penn. Read Olivo’s full story here.
Wells Fargo Center and the Sixers break up
Wells Fargo decided it would drop its sponsorship of the Sixers this year so the basketball team turned into a passive aggressive ex and decided it wouldn’t utter the name “Wells Fargo Center.” Instead, CEO Scott O’Neil apparently calls it “the arena where we play.” Then, the passive aggression was taken to a new level in October when the Sixers printed “Wells Fargo Center” in small white print on the court that is completely un-readable from the stands. Hey, you two: Get some counseling and get over each other.
Nope, you can’t take your Christmas tree into the Linc
We recently learned that you cannot take your Christmas tree into the Linc for an Eagles game. The guy who tried to do it was a little frustrated with security, so he told them that he is “not ISIS.” Good news?