Everyone does best-of lists this time of year, and nobody likes doing them more than sportswriters do. It’s fun to look back over the previous year, and we get a chance to highlight some of the good work we did. And yes, despite all Philly.com-commenter protestations to the contrary, we actually did do some good work. Honest.
So here it is: Philadelphia Media Network’s best sports journalism of 2017. The stories and columns are in no particular order. Hope you enjoyed them then and enjoy them now:
Bob Ford on the Phillies, who trusted Pete Rose and paid the price.
An important story by Phil Anastasia, Rick O’Brien, Aaron Carter, and Dylan Purcell on the science and safety of high school football helmets.
Les Bowen, reporting on the play that changed the Eagles’ season: Carson Wentz’s knee injury against the Rams.
Jeff McLane with an insightful look at Wentz’s devout Christianity and the role it plays in his life.
Matt Gelb and Matt Breen with an oral history of the 2007 NL East race and the dawn of the Phillies’ greatest era.
The life, legacy, and mystery of Michael Brooks.
David Murphy on Malcolm Jenkins and the power of protest.
Marcus Hayes on why it became impossible to “stick to sports” during Eagles games.
Mike Jensen traveled to Iceland to profile the godfather of the “Southwest Philly Floater,” Tyrone Garland.
Zach Berman on Eagles guard Brandon Brooks, who overcame anxiety to become a Pro Bowler.
Paul Domowitch on the Eagles’ Spanish-language radio-broadcast team and press-box politics.
Bob Ford on the friendship between J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson.
Matt Breen on Roy Halladay’s work with several Phillies pitching prospects.
Frank Fitzpatrick on Ethel Lyon, devoted to the care of her husband, Bill, the former Inquirer sports columnist.
Bob Brookover on the Eagles’ decision to eject a beat writer from the Linc’s press box.
Jonathan Tannenwald on the Union’s Haris Medunjanin and his journey from war in Bosnia to peace in Philadelphia.
Keith Pompey on Markelle Fultz’s career at DeMatha Catholic High School.
Joe Juliano on the touchdown drive that saved Penn State’s season, at least for a while.
Sarah Todd on the question that could define the Sixers’ season: What kind of player will they be getting when Markelle Fultz returns?
Mike Kern on former Temple star Nate Blackwell, whose drug abuse destroyed his career.
Marc Narducci profiled Geoff Collins just after Temple hired him to be its next football coach.
Sam Carchidi on Nolan Patrick.
Phil Anastasia spent a week with the St. Joseph of Hammonton football team.
Dick Jerardi retraced Muhammad Ali’s final journey through Louisville.
Marcus Hayes on the clash between President Trump supporters and protesters at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Mike Jensen on Speedy Morris’ coaching tree.
Ed Barkowitz on former North Catholic and Villanova great Hank Siemiontkowski.
Paul Domowitch on the Eagles’ Chris Long, who played for free this season.
T.J. Furman crunched the numbers of the Sixers and the NBA draft.
The lonely death of former Eagles punter Max Runager.
Frank Fitzpatrick with a revealing look at, and interview of, Lenny Dykstra.
Aaron Carter on the friendship between two La Salle High School athletes, Jarrod Stukes and Matt Paulus.
Dick Jerardi told the story of how former Saint Joseph’s coach Jim Boyle’s lost 1985-86 Atlantic 10 championship ring returned home.
Matt Breen talked with Rhys Hoskins about the life and death of Hoskins’ mother, Cathy Reynolds.
Matt Gelb on Ryan Howard and his legacy.
John Smallwood on the comeback of Villanova’s Phil Booth.
A column on Charles Ben, Alshon Jeffery’s older brother, the one who might have been.
Bob Ford prepared Philadelphia for all the clichés that would be regurgitated during coverage of the NFL draft.
Mike Jensen on a pair of basketball superfans.
Phil Anastasia on the life and death of Rick Ventura, a South Jersey sports institution.
Marc Narducci on Sean Chandler, who went from living in homeless shelters to playing football for Temple.