PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Home grown talent — it’s how sustained success is created in modern day professional sports.
We saw it locally with Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, and Brian Westbrook — just to name a few — on the 2005 NFC Championship team. We saw it with Allen Iverson and Eric Lindros leading their respective teams to sustained success in the late 90’s to early 2000’s.
And, of course, we saw it come to fruition with the 2008 Phillies, thanks mostly to Chase, Jimmy, Ryan, Cole, and Carlos.
We saw it nationally with recent drafted franchised quarterbacks leading their respective teams to Super Bowl titles like Tom Brady with the New England Patriots, Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers, Eli Manning with the New York Giants, and Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the NBA, top draft picks Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond formed a world-class core with the Golden State Warriors; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli did the same in San Antonio years prior.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin formed a winning duo with Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, as did Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The San Francisco Giants won three titles in five years (2010, 2012, 2014) led by two top-10 overall picks in pitcher Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted sure-fire Hall Of Famer Albert Pujols and borderline Hall Of Famer Yadier Molina in back-to-back seasons, resulting in two World Series titles (2006, 2011).
It’s not a secret. The core of sustained success for championship winning franchises is, and will always be, young talent. Intelligent front offices and sound coaching staffs are necessary, but they’ll go to waste without the appropriate talent.
Fortunately for Philadelphia sports and its fans, all four pro teams are going through a youth movement together right now.
To go along with one of the game’s best defensive players in 2012 first-round pick Fletcher Cox, the Eagles have seemingly found their franchise QB in 23-year-old Carson Wentz for the next decade or so.
The Flyers will begin the 2016-17 season with two 19-year-old 2015 first-round picks on their roster in Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov, to go along with 23-year-old Shayne Gostisbehere and of course proven veterans like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek – both of whom hopefully have plenty of hockey left.
The 76ers, thanks to “The Process,” have an abundance of young talent and the opportunity for more with multiple 2017 lottery picks looming (and a pick swap if needed). 2014 lottery picks Joel Embiid and Dario Saric will make their NBA regular season debuts this month (knock on wood), while 2016 first-overall pick Ben Simmons is expected to return from his foot injury at some point this season. 22-year-old Nerlens Noel and 20-year-old Jahlil Okafor — despite trade rumors due to an overloaded front court — are on the Sixers’ roster as well.
The Phillies have an abundance of promising prospects, some of whom we’ve seen already – Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, Roman Quinn, Jake Thompson, Vince Velasquez, Jorge Alfaro, Zach Eflin and some we have not – J.P. Crawford, Mickey Moniak, Nick Williams, Cornelius Randolph, and Dylan Cozens. A few of these guys have to hit, right?
Back in 1980 — pre-social media, pre-SportsRadio 94WIP, and pre-hot fiery takes — all four Philadelphia pro sports teams reached their respective championship round. Only the Phillies won theirs, beating the Kansas City Royals in six games to win the 1980 World Series.
Could you imagine how much fun that would be in, say, 2018? Or 2020?