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Patrick Beverley #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 21, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

There is nothing Philly fans love more than role players. If that role player is tough or has lots of heart, it is even better. The history of Philadelphia sports is littered with guys who were just kind of good, or maybe not even good at all, that Philly fans still loved. It is the Rocky Effect.  Rocky was a scrappy guy who over achieved. Apollo Creed was the actual star. And if we want to honor a boxing legend we could hold up Joe Frazier who was a real-life legend. But we prefer the underdog.

We got a glimpse of that recently when the Sixers traded Pat Beverley. Sixers fans lost their minds. How could the Sixers trade the heart and soul of the team? Fans were saying that the locker room would now fall apart with Pat Bev. As if the team wasn’t already in a nosedive since losing Joel Embiid to injury.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Pat Bev too. He plays good perimeter defense and has a certain amount of grit that you love players to have. But the reaction to the Sixers trading him was completely over the top. You would think they traded away Tyrese Maxey with how much ire the news was immediately met with.

Which made me think. What other players did Philly fans treat like that? What guys did fans have irrational amounts of love for? The role players that fans treated like they were stars. Because Pat Bev is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last. Certain fans value heart and grit over talent and skill. That doesn’t mean the guys on this list have no skill. But perhaps their actual production doesn’t pair with how much fans love them. And it gets even odder with how we sometimes treat the stars in town, while these other guys can seemingly do no wrong. So let’s look at some of the most notable cases of fans falling head over heels with a role player.

Here are 7 role players Philly fans had irrational amounts of love for:

  • Pat Beverley

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 16: Patrick Beverley #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers speaks to the Brooklyn Nets bench during the second quarter of the preseason game at Barclays Center on October 16, 2023 in New York City

    Let’s start with the man who inspired the list. I love Pat Bev. The guy is a pest in the best possible way. Everyone loves having a guy like him on the team, because he just has a way of getting under the other teams skin. And he appears to be a great locker room guy.

    But the fan reaction to him being traded was way over the top. With people acting like the whole culture of the team would fall apart without him. He doesn’t bring enough on offense anymore. In his prime, he was a great 3-point shooter. But now? He just doesn’t bring enough on that end of the floor to be this upset.

  • Nick Maton

    MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 13: Nick Maton #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches his home run against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at loanDepot park on September 13, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

    Some fans lost it when the Phillies traded Nick Maton and Matt Vierling (who could also be on this list). Why? He was part of “The Daycare.” But unlike Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, and Brandon Marsh, he didn’t play every day. Maton had 1 at bat in the entirety of the 2022 run to the World Series. They traded him for a former All-Star closer. Seems like a fair trade-off. Gregory Soto’s first year here was not perfect. But Maton hit .173 last season, and got cut this offseason. Seems like the trade was more than worth it.

  • Paul Turner

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 28: Paul Turner #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lincoln Financial Field on November 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    There have been so many Pre-Season Standouts that could make it on this list for the Eagles. Nearly every year Eagles fans fall in love with a guy who has a big pre-season, only for them to not make the team, or make it but never see the field. But the first one that came to mind was Paul Turner. Some fans thought this guy was a star, and couldn’t understand why he was not seeing the field. But he played in only 4 games in his career and has been out of the NFL since 2016. So it’s safe to say the hype was a bit over the top.

  • Tony Bradley

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 11: Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Chicago Bulls stelas the ball from Tony Bradley #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center on March 11, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

    There had to be a Backup Center on the list. But the question was who. For my money, it has to be Tony Bradley. Two years after he was traded, I was still screening calls into the station from people complaining that he was traded. Bradley played only 20 games here, and in only 89 games in the 3 seasons since he was traded. But he had a few great games (for a backup) here and Sixers fans fell in love. Sixers fans have a similar love affair with Andre Drummond even though he was only here for half season, but at least he is actually good.

  • Wayne Simmonds

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 03: Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers takes the puck in the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at Wells Fargo Center on January 03, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    This one hurts because I loved Wayne Simmonds. I can be just as guilty as everyone else of falling in love with the scrappy role player, and Simmonds was definitely that for me. But outside of maybe two seasons, the fan love didn’t quite match the production. The Flyers probably held onto The Wayne Train for too long. Using hindsight, his 2nd 30-goal season would have been the time to sell high.

  • TJ McConnell

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 7: T.J. McConnell #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers throws an autographed basketball after the game against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2018 NBA Playoff at Wells Fargo Center on May 7, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    TJ McConnell had unlimited amounts of scrap and grit. But there are very few actual basketball skills you could say he was good at. As fun as it was to see him get under the skin of guys like James Harden on defense, he was mostly lacking in things you want your backup PG to be able to do.

    But man did fans love him. He represents everything Philly likes in a player. Heart and grit. And fans didn’t care if he could barely shoot. They loved the fact that we would be pressing on defense in the 2nd quarter of games and occasionally get a steal while the other team was inbounding the ball. Many were gutted when the Sixers moved him. And to be fair, that includes some of his teammates.

  • Chad Hall

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01:  Chad Hall #16 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates before crossing the goal line for a touchdown after catching a pass against the Washington Redskins during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Chad Hall was some peoples favorite player. He had 135 total yards for the Eagles, but there were people who actually had his jersey. Some of that was him just being a veteran of the Airforce, and a genuinely likable guy. But it was also just because he is the definition of an underdog.

    A 5 ft 8 dude doesn’t exactly look like he belongs on the Football field. But because he was good enough to make it on an NFL team, people wanted him to succeed. And like Paul Turner, he had a great pre-season that had fans thinking he was better than he actually was. It was just never meant to be. His limitations as an athlete were just too great for him to make an impact in the NFL.

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