The Eagles big win in Minnesota earlier this year got the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia treatment over the last couple weeks with "Charlie's Home Alone" and "The Gang Wins the Big Game," two episodes in which the show's main characters head to US Bank Stadium for Super Bowl LII. But this two-parter was far from It's Always Sunny's first sports-centric episode.
In fact, across the show's 13 seasons, Philly sports have been a near-constant source of comedic inspiration. From Dee's ill-advised entry into professional boxing in season two, to Mac's love letter to former Phillie Chase Utley in season five, It's Always Sunny has never skimped on the athletics.
Though, maybe that's to be expected. Cocreator and native Rob McElhenney, of course, is a noted Philly sports fanatic, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Heck, we even got to watch the real-life McElhenney incredulously celebrate the Birds' win in a cellphone video tacked onto the end of "The Gang Wins the Big Game."
Here, we run down It's Always Sunny's seven best sports-inspired episodes, in honor of the series' look at the Eagles win at Super Bowl LII. And whether you're into the Flyers, Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, or just plain old drinking, there's something for everyone.
“The Gang Gives Back” — Season 2, Episode 6
After the gang "Goes Jihad" in a previous episode in Season Two, Charlie is sentenced to AA meetings, while Dennis, Mac, and Dee must coach inner-city kids' basketball teams as punishment. If you ever think about Mac hydrating kids with Red Bull, Charlie smacking a child's layup out of the air while in a referee uniform, or the use of steel-toed hi-tops, you have "The Gang Gives Back" to thank.
“Hundred Dollar Baby” — Season 2, Episode 5
If team sports aren't your thing, It's Always Sunny also went down the fighting sports rabbit hole with "Hundred Dollar Baby," in which Dee becomes a boxer, while Charlie becomes an underground, bare-knuckle fighter. For Rocky (or Million Dollar Baby) fans, this one is a can't miss, and not just for the rampant use of steroids.
“Mac’s Big Break” – Season 6, Episode 4
In this episode, Mac lives every Philly hockey fan's dream: Taking a shot from center ice at a Flyers game. On the line is a weekend at a shore house, courtesy of the radio station that organized the contest. Mac being Mac misses, but that doesn't stop an episode-long fantasy about making the shot from unfolding.
“The Gang Reignites the Rivalry” — Season 5, Episode 12
Drinking may not be a sport, per se, but in the hands of the It's Always Sunny crew, it definitely can be. Just take a look at "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry," in which the group takes up the drinking game Flip Cup as a way to recapture their former glory days. Naturally, though, things get derailed thanks to a poisoning scheme, but at least we got the "Flip, Flip, Flipadelphia" catchphrase out of it.
“The Gang Beats Boggs” — Season 10, Episode 1
Again, drinking, for most mortals, is not a sport, but in this episode, the Gang attempts to outdrink legendary (for his boozing) ballplayer Wade Boggs, who once drank more than 70 beers on a cross-country flight — and he is no mere mortal. Most of the Gang just ends up passing out due to the sheer amount of alcohol, but it's fun to watch them try.
“The World Series Defense” — Season 5, Episode 6
In what is probably the most-quotes sports episode of It's Always Sunny, the Gang heads to court over parking fines, where they relay the tale of how they tried to go to the World Series in 2008. It's a convoluted one, but the highlight here is Mac's love letter to former Phillie Chase Utley, in which he asks to have a catch, and whether Chase had a good relationship with his father. Sad, but hilarious.
“The Gang Gets Invincible” — Season 3, Episode 2
"Charlie's Home Alone" revolves around his search for the infamous Green Man suit, but we never would have known about Green Man without "The Gang Gets Invincible," in which the suit is introduced. In the episode, the Gang heads to an Eagles open practice, where Dennis and Mac attempt to get on the team, and the rest of the Gang tailgates outside — including Frank, who drops acid. As a plus, former The Wonder Years star Fred Savage directs.