The700Level

The700Level's 4th Annual Philly Sports Awards: The KULPYs

The700Level's 4th Annual Philly Sports Awards: The KULPYs

Welcome to the fourth annual KULPY Awards, where we here at The700Level celebrate our own existence by handing out trite, meaningless honors to the sufficiently decorated professional athletes, coaches and executives in Philadelphia sports. That’s The700Level.com – Yep, We’re Still Here™. And as always, The KULPYs are brought to you by our corporate overlords at CSN Philly – proud partner of Phillies baseball!

(Hey, it’s the Phillies who should be embarrassed, not us. No trademark.)

Now that we got our plugs out of the way, we begin with an obligatory, self-congratulatory pat on the back, Barry Horowitz style. I’m not privy to the numbers, but for all I know, we did record traffic in the last year, and the outlook for those of us in the journalism industry has never been brighter! And even if that statement were 100 percent true (it’s not), somebody would probably cry fake news anyway, so why bother getting hung up on the details?

Once again, CSN has neglected to give The KULPYs so much as a brief television segment, not even on The700Level Show – I haven’t been part of this brand for the last decade or anything – but no matter. No TV, no awards banquet, no party in Enrico’s parents’ basement while they’re out of the country on vacation, no problem. The show must go on, and I promise we’ve got a great one this year, so prepare to polish the turd that is Philly sports. We’re handing out some real* coveted** hardware today.

*KULPY trophies are not real.
**Or coveted.

 

Let’s jump straight to an award that shows what The KULPYs are all about: Best Sixers Player Bryan Colangelo Is Solely Responsible for Acquiring. These are strictly players Colangelo nabbed without the aid of Sam Hinkie and The Process. That means no Ben Simmons, the outcome of years of tanking; no Markelle Fultz, obtained by trading assets stockpiled by Hinkie; not even Justin Anderson, acquired in a swap for Nerlens Noel – another Hinkie piece.

With all of that in mind, there are sure to be some real gems among the nominees.

(Nominees: Amir Johnson, J.J. Redick, Sergio Rodriguez, Anzejs Pasecnicks, Tiago Splitter)

Any time Tiago Splitter is on a list of an NBA general manager’s top acquisitions, you know that person is doing a stellar job. Sergio Rodriguez is the only one of these guys who made a significant contribution last season, appearing in 68 games for the Sixers, unfortunately. Granted, Anzejs Pasecnicks was just obtained in a draft-night trade and looks like an intriguing talent – who won’t be on the roster in 2017 because he’s staying overseas, @#$%.

It’s a two-horse race for the award, and naturally the KULPY goes to… Bryan Colangelo! After all, he is the true victor in The Process.

Even the money used to lure Redick and Johnson was a direct result of the favorable salary-cap situation inherited from Hinkie. By the time Colangelo took over the Sixers, he was walking into quite possibly the easiest setup for a new GM in the history of professional sports. “Job description: Oversee an organization loaded with young talent, top draft picks and plenty of cash.” Kind of hard to screw up. Go ahead and give him Fultz – the fact that all Colangelo had to do to sell out the building for this upcoming season was engineer a trade up two spots in the draft goes to show the hard part was already over.

 

We’ll go straight from one rebuilding team to another – they’re not very hard to find around here. We blindfolded some interns at nearby Xfinity Live and set them loose in the sports complex, and a few horrific accidents later, one of them landed on Citizens Bank Park. In honor of the one who made it, this next category is the aptly named Most Likely to Survive the Phillies Rebuild.

(Nominees: Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, Matt Klentak, Pete Mackanin, Andres Blanco)

Herrera may be on the steadiest ground, having turned his season around at the plate after a horrific start, but Philly fans are going to get sick of the lack of concentration and hustle before this is all over. Meanwhile, the club is reportedly shopping Franco, who continues to struggle, and Mackanin would be gone already if the club didn’t have the foresight to lock him up with a contract extension in May!

Better hurry up and reveal the winner before one of these guys gets canned. The KULPY goes to… Andres Blanco, in an upset!

Fun fact – Blanco is the second-longest tenured Phillies player, behind only Freddy Galvis. And unlike a lot of the other guys on this team, Blanco chose to be a part of this, opting to re-sign in December. Sure, he’s 33, batting a crisp .151 at the All-Star break and a free agent again at the end of the season. With the end of tanking… sorry, with the end of “rebuilding” nowhere in sight, Blanco probably has just as good a chance as anybody to survive.

Hey, you’ve got to appreciate the man’s loyalty.

 

Seeing as there’s so little to celebrate in the immediate past, let’s take a moment to honor a Philadelphia sports legend. Congratulations to longtime Flyers winger and former general manager Paul Holmgren – this one is for you. It’s The Paul Holmgren Award for Worst Flyers Contract.

Not coincidentally, most of the people up for this award actually have Holmgren to thank for their awful, awful contracts. And to think, the man stepped down three years ago.

(Nominees: Claude Giroux, Andrew MacDonald, Matt Read, Jori Lehtera, Jakub Voracek)

Believe it or not, Read’s contract finally concludes in 2018, so guess we can finally OH MY GOD, MACDONALD STILL HAS THREE YEARS LEFT AT $5 MILLION PER. Meanwhile, current Flyers GM Ron Hextall chose to pay homage to Holmgren with some recent moves, taking on the final two years of Lehtera’s deal at $4.7 million annually, and awarding Voracek $8.25 million per year until 2024. Hey, Voracek will still be off the books before Ilya Bryzgalov, so there’s that.

But the KULPY goes to Claude Giroux, the human embodiment of the cement shoes attached to the Flyers’ Stanley Cup hopes for the foreseeable future.

I would love to be wrong about that, by the way. There was a time when Giroux was legitimately one of the best players in the NHL, and would do cool things like put Sidney Crosby on his ass and score a goal in the same shift. Unfortunately, the last two seasons have not been kind to the Flyers captain, and he simply does not look like the same player. Signed through 2022 at $8.25 million per, with a no-trade clause and turning 30 in January, there’s almost no way this ends well.

 

If every other Philly sports team gets its own award, the Eagles need one, too – Joe Banner insisted. Oddly enough, one NFL team managed to have five semi-prominent quarterbacks on its roster in the last year, so the following KULPY is for Eagles Quarterback of the Year, because there were enough of them to choose from.

(Nominees: Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Nick Foles, Matt McGloin, Carson Wentz)

Fun fact – Bradford and Daniel will cost the Eagles nearly $12 million under the salary cap for 2017. The three guys who are actually on the roster: a little over $8 million. Guess we know who the real winners are here, and it’s not Wentz.

The KULPY goes to… Sam Bradford, who did more for the Eagles in the last year than any of the other guys. Let’s be honest, Wentz is going to be awesome, but he was pretty useless in 2016 when he didn’t have anybody to throw the ball. In the meantime, Bradford netted the Eagles first- and fourth-round draft picks in a trade with the Vikings, which are a lot more useful than leading the team to the same 7-9 record Wentz did.

 

Thank you, Sam, and thank you, readers… for clicking through to Part 2. Still to come: The Ryan Howard Memorial Award for Athlete or Sportsperson Most Inexplicably Still in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Athlete of the Year, and The Competency Award for Philadelphia Sports Executive of the Year. Also, a special In Memoriam video you won’t want to miss!

>> PART 2 <<

10 facts about Jake Elliott's unbelievable walk-off field goal

10 facts about Jake Elliott's unbelievable walk-off field goal

Reuben Frank has 10 facts you may not have known about Jake Elliott’s 61-yard walk-off field goal.

1. Jake Elliott’s 61-yard game-winning field goal Sunday broke the Eagles’ franchise record of 59 yards set on Nov. 12, 1979, by Tony Franklin against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium. 

2. It was the longest walk-off field goal by an Eagles kicker by far, breaking the record of 50 yards set by David Akers on Oct. 24, 2004, in overtime in Cleveland.

3. It was the third-longest walk-off game-winner in NFL history and the longest in 10 years — since a kick Eagles fans remember well. The longest game-winner ever is Tom Dempsey’s 63-yarder as time expired on Nov. 8, 1970, that gave the Saints a 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The only other longer game-winner was Matt Bryant’s 62-yarder in Tampa against the Eagles on Oct. 22, 2006.

4. It was the longest field goal in NFL history by a rookie. The previous record was 60 yards set by Greg Zuerlein of the Rams, who made a 60-yarder against Seattle in a 19-13 win on Sept. 30, 2012. 

5. Elliott’s kick was also the longest field goal ever against the Giants. The previous record belonged to Mason Crosby of the Packers, who made a 57-yarder in a loss to the Giants in 2013.

6. Elliott is the first kicker in NFL history to make a kick from 60 or more yards before making a kick from 50 or more yards. Elliott’s previous long field goal was a 46-yarder moments earlier. Zuerlein and Dempsey each had one 50-yarder before their 60-yarder.

7. The kickers who made the longest and fourth-longest field goals in Eagles history are both currently on the roster. Franklin’s 59-yarder is now second-longest, David Akers’ 57-yarder in 2003 against the Patriots is No. 3 and Caleb Sturgis’ 55-yarder last October in Dallas is now fourth-longest. Sturgis is currently on injured reserve. Elliott was signed to replace him.

8. Believe it or not, Elliott is the first kicker in Eagles history to make two field goals of 46 yards or more in a fourth quarter.

9. Elliott’s kick was not the longest attempt ever by an Eagles kicker. Alex Henery missed a 63-yarder in the Georgia Dome against the Falcons in 2011, Tony Franklin missed a 62-yarder against the Colts in 1983 and Tom Dempsey missed a 61-yarder against the Cards in 1974.

10. Finally, this: Elliott, whose 46-yarder with 51 seconds left tied the game at 24, is the first kicker in 23 years to make two field goals from any distance in the final minute of a fourth quarter. On Christmas Eve in 1994 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Doug Pelfrey of the Bengals made a game-tying 22-yard field goal against the Eagles with three seconds left in the fourth quarter. Eagles fullback Brian O’Neal fumbled the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Adrian Hardy of the Bengals at the Eagles’ 35-yard line. Pelfrey ran back on the field and made a 54-yarder to win the game. Eagles head coach Rich Kotite was fired the next day. 

Watch Joel Embiid go crazy for Eagles' game-winning field goal

joel-embiid-celebrates.jpg

Watch Joel Embiid go crazy for Eagles' game-winning field goal

Be honest, when Jake Elliott lined up for a 61-yard field goal, after missing earlier in the game from 52 yards out, did you think he was going to make it?

Well, he did and we all went crazy (see story). Even Joel Embiid, who was at the game with many of his teammates, went nuts.

In addition to the people in the stands going nuts, the folks across the street at Xfinity Live went wild.

Here’s the play again, in case you just want to see it again.

Here are the best of the rest and social reaction from Elliott’s amazing kick.