Jeffrey Lurie thinks the Eagles are a young team. He’s wrong.
Sure, practically speaking, the Eagles owner is right. His team has just nine players on the roster in their 30s, while 21 players on the active roster — including Carson Wentz — are under the age of 25. But the Eagles are not a young team for the NFL, and as Philly’s professional teams go, they’re one of the oldest.
“Look, I think, honestly, you’re dealing with a team that’s a pretty young team,” Lurie said in his state-of-the-team address before the season opener. “You have some veterans at select positions like punter, things like that, and left tackle. But basically a young team.”
Lurie is right about punter and left tackle. Donnie Jones is not only the oldest player on the Eagles, at 37 years old, he’s the oldest professional athlete in Philadelphia. (Jones is a few weeks older than former Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos.) Last year, when we looked at every player from oldest to youngest in Philly, the Flyers hadn’t yet traded Mark Streit, who is pushing 40. But he’s gone, so, congrats, Donnie. You’re the oldest athlete we’ve got.
Jason Peters, the aforementioned left tackle, is close. At 35, Peters is the second-oldest player on the Eagles, and the third-oldest in the city, behind Jones and Philadelphia Union midfield Brian Carroll.
Look, we all get older every day, so age is relative, mostly based on when you read this and which players are still on these rosters. But without question, Lurie owns a team that skews old. They are not basically or otherwise a young team. Maybe he got caught up in the city’s youth movement and thought nobody would notice if he called his team young too?
Sorry, we noticed.
Below is a look at every Philly athlete, ranked by age, and a breakdown of each team as they compare to one another in the city and each respective league. From Donnie Jones to the upcoming signing of Philadelphia Union youth player Anthony Fontana — who can officially sign with MLS on Oct. 14 when he turns 18 — there are 206 players listed from the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, Union and Soul. Yep, the Soul made it this year.
We did our best to include every player, including Eagles practice squad guys and those in Flyers camp expected to challenge for a roster spot. We’ll explain all that in our team by team breakdown. So, from 17 to 37 and every age in between, here’s the big list of Philly athletes, from oldest to youngest and back again.
|Average Age:||Just over 26|
|Age rank in league:||23rd youngest of 32|
The Eagles are, on average, just over 26 years old, based on the current 53-man roster. When including the practice squad players, which our master list below does, the average age drops to just under 26 years old. But as Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice pointed out in his annual breakdown of NFL rosters, the Birds are still on the older end of the NFL spectrum.
Because the roster is so big compared to other teams in the city, it’s understandable that the Eagles would have the most players over 30. Percentage wise, more than 16 percent of the Eagles’ active roster is over 30, compared to just 10 percent of the Phillies and roughly 12 percent of the Sixers. Still, the Flyers, Union and Soul all have a higher percentage of 30-plus players. Maybe Lurie is right.
Due to NFL eligibility rules, the youngest players on the Eagles are 21 — having two or three years on a college campus — while top players in the other sports usually start their professional careers as teenagers. This season, the Eagles’ two newest players are the youngest. Derek Barnett, born June 25, 1996, is the youngest player on the active roster. Sidney Jones, born May 21, 1996, is the second-youngest player on the team. There are eight players under 25 on the practice squad, with just one older.
|Average Age:||Just over 26|
|Age rank in league:||Youngest of 30|
Earlier in the season MLB had the Phillies ranked as the second-youngest team, but per Baseball Reference, the new roster additions have made the Fightins’ the youngest in baseball. And still, the team averages about the same age as the Eagles across the active roster.
J.P. Crawford is the youngest Phillies player at 22 years old, born Jan. 11, 1995, while the oldest is Daniel Nava, recently placed on the 60-day DL with a back issue, something that happens when you hit your mid 30s. Nava is 34, born Feb. 22, 1983.
What makes the Phillies skew so young is the sheer volume of players in their early 20s and the lack of any real “old” players. Nava, Andres Blanco (33) and Luis Garcia (30) are the only players on the roster listed as 30 years old or older, while 10 players are under 25.
Of the 26 players on the roster under 30, 21 of them are 27 or younger, with Freddy Galvis set to turn 28 in November. Aaron Altherr and Tommy Joseph are both 26 and Odubel Herrera will join that list this December, but for a team that averages an age of just over 26, the new core is far younger. Maikel Franco just turned 25, while Rhys Hoskins, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Aaron Nola and Nick Pivetta all turned 24 this year.
The Phillies are going to be young, at least compared to the rest of MLB, for a while.
|Average Age:||Just under 24|
|Age rank in league:||2 of 30|
According to this list last year, the Sixers were not the youngest team in basketball, ranking just behind the Portland Trailblazers. Philly went out this offseason and added two 30-plus veterans in Amir Johnson (30) and J.J. Redick (33), but the roster losses don’t make the team that much older. In fact, with just 16 guys on the current roster, the Sixers average under 24 years old.
That’s thanks to a run of drafting young talent, with No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz being the youngest. He turned 19 on May 29 and he’s 14 months younger than fellow rookie Furkan Korkmaz, who turned 20 this summer. Ben Simmons and Jahlil Okafor are still just 21 — Okafor turns 22 on Dec. 15 — while seven players on the roster are 22 or 23 years old. Seven!
Nik Stauskas, Richaun Holmes and Justin Anderson are all set to turn 24 in the next few months, but with Joel Embiid and Dario Saric still 23 and T.J. McConnell (25), Robert Covington (26) and Jerryd Bayless (29) the only returning players over the age of 24, this team is really, really young.
|Average Age:||Just under 26|
|Age rank in league:||16 of 31|
While the Sixers roster is mostly set, the Flyers have 34 players in camp with a shot to make the NHL team, so in a few weeks the team’s average age could be drastically different. Per NHL Numbers, the Flyers have a team in the middle of the pack in terms of age, and like most Philly teams, it averages out to just under 26 years old.
What’s tricky for the Flyers is that they have three players in rookie camp who might be on the team at the start of the season, or could get sent back to juniors. 2017 first-round pick Morgan Frost, born May 14, 1999, is the youngest at just 18 years, 4 months, while second-rounder Isaac Ratcliffe is three months older, born Feb. 15, 1999. Nolan Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the draft this season pictured above, turns 19 on Sept. 19.
Without all three of them, the Flyers age will jump to over 26, on average, but without, say, 32-year-old goaltender Brian Elliott as well, it would average to just about what it is. So for now, let’s say the Flyer are about 26, odd considering no player on the current roster is actually 26.
It will be interesting to see how much younger the Flyers get once camp breaks, as most of the roster is under 30, with a number of notable names — Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny — under 25. But Claude Giroux turns 30 in January, so let’s start the speculation of if he’ll still be in Philly by his birthday!
|Average Age:||Just over 26|
|Age rank in league: 15 of 22|
Technically the Union only have one player who is under 20 on their roster — 19-year old Auston Trusty — but since they’ve declared the rights to sign Fontana once he’s eligible, we included him at his current age of 17. And still, the Union skew just over 26 which puts them, per MLS Soccer, near the top of the league in terms of age.
The Union have nine players in their 30s, which even with MLS dubbed “a retirement league” that’s far too many. They do have 21 players in their 20s, but just 12, including the two teeanagers, under 25.
If the Union want to be successful in MLS, they do need to balance young talent with veteran leadership, but this many older players feels like too many. The Union have just 32 players on their squad and have as many guys over 30 as the Eagles. At 28 percent of the full roster, and some huge names in both MLS and U.S. Soccer in that group, some hard changes may be coming if the Union are ever going to compete.
|Average Age||Just under 28.5|
Yes, we included the Soul this year. Back-to-back champs deserve some love. But golly they’re old. The Soul have 11 players over 30 (more than the Eagles and Union, yes) and just two under 25. With only five teams in the league, we didn’t bother calculating a league average, but it’s safe to say players don’t jump to the Arena League until they’ve exhausted every other professional football avenue, hence the older roster.
There’s nothing shocking on this list. The Sixers are very young, the Union are too old, the arena team is full of guys who couldn’t make the NFL team, which itself is young, but not really as young as the owner wants us to think. The other two teams are still in the process of revamping their lineups, which means they have a lot of very important young players, but also some old guys that will soon be shipped out of town.
For the first time ever, Philly’s pro athletes are all born in the ’80s and ’90s. There are no more players born in the 70s on Philly teams. And, beware, because next year, surely, a post-Y2K baby will make a roster.
We’ve reached peak millennial in Philly sports. Embrace it.
Here’s the full list of Philly athletes, with the most updated rosters that had birth dates we could find from either the team sites, references sources or league media partners. You can also rank players by team, position, height and weight, but that’s a whole different article.
[table id=PhillySportsAge17 /]