August 10th, 2010

“Functional Age” Of NFL Teams: Who Has the “Youngest” And “Oldest” Rosters

By Robert Ferringo

I came across a very interesting blog post courtesy of the Fifth Down blog for the New York Times. In it, the author utilized some Pro Football Reference value metrics to come up with which players contribute the most to each team on offense and defense. From those players - mostly starters and key reserves - he was able to calculate a “functional” age of each team in the NFL. This is a better way of determining which teams have the oldest and youngest rosters, and individual offensive and defensive units, in the league rather than just counting up everyone’s age and then figuring out a 53-player average for each team. Especially because some teams employ backup quarterbacks, fifth-string wideouts, or special teams players (think kickers and punters) that are either extremely young or extremely old, which would skew the overall age numbers.

It’s a pretty interesting read, and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about click over and you will get a more in-depth explanation. But basically, this version gives you a truer sense of the most and least experienced teams heading into the season. (One caveat, he did these figures back in May using projections for starters. I’m sure some injuries and some late free agents would skew these numbers. But nothing major has happened that would have an overwhelming difference, in my opinion.)

Below is a look at the average age of the 32 NFL rosters, in terms of the players who contribute the most to the offense and defense. After the jump is a full list of the average “functional” roster ages for every offensive and defensive group in the NFL.

Age Team
25.9 Houston Texans
26.4 Jacksonville Jaguars
26.6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26.6 St. Louis Rams
26.6 New York Giants
26.7 Philadelphia Eagles
26.8 Miami Dolphins
26.8 Kansas City Chiefs
26.9 Chicago Bears
26.9 San Francisco 49ers
26.9 Carolina Panthers
26.9 Detroit Lions
27.0 Cincinnati Bengals
27.1 San Diego Chargers
27.2 Tennessee Titans
27.2 Oakland Raiders
27.3 Cleveland Browns
27.3 Green Bay Packers
27.3 Atlanta Falcons
27.4 New Orleans Saints
27.4 Seattle Seahawks
27.4 Indianapolis Colts
27.5 Baltimore Ravens
27.5 Buffalo Bills
27.6 New York Jets
27.7 Dallas Cowboys
28.0 Pittsburgh Steelers
28.0 Arizona Cardinals
28.1 Washington Redskins
28.2 Denver Broncos
28.3 Minnesota Vikings
28.7 New England Patriots
Here is a list of the “functional” ages of the 32 NFL offensive units:

26.1 Philadelphia Eagles
26.1 Miami Dolphins
26.2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26.4 St. Louis Rams
26.5 Houston Texans
26.5 New York Giants
26.5 Chicago Bears
26.5 San Francisco 49ers
26.5 Baltimore Ravens
26.6 Oakland Raiders
26.6 Cleveland Browns
26.8 Carolina Panthers
26.8 Pittsburgh Steelers
26.9 Tennessee Titans
27.0 Kansas City Chiefs
27.0 Detroit Lions
27.1 Jacksonville Jaguars
27.1 Green Bay Packers
27.1 New Orleans Saints
27.3 San Diego Chargers
27.4 Denver Broncos
27.5 Buffalo Bills
27.6 Arizona Cardinals
27.7 New York Jets
27.8 Seattle Seahawks
27.9 Atlanta Falcons
28.1 Indianapolis Colts
28.1 Dallas Cowboys
28.2 Washington Redskins
28.4 Cincinnati Bengals
28.6 Minnesota Vikings
29.7 New England Patriots

As you can see, there is a significant difference between the teams. And perhaps it is no coincidence that last year five of the six teams with the oldest offenses made the playoffs and were Super Bowl contenders. However, we’ll see if that carries over to this season.

Here is a look of the “functional” average ages of the 32 NFL defensive units:

25.3 Houston Texans
25.6 Jacksonville Jaguars
25.9 Cincinnati Bengals
26.5 Indianapolis Colts
26.6 Kansas City Chiefs
26.6 Atlanta Falcons
26.7 New York Giants
26.7 San Diego Chargers
26.8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26.8 St. Louis Rams
26.9 Detroit Lions
27.0 Carolina Panthers
27.1 Seattle Seahawks
27.2 San Francisco 49ers
27.2 Dallas Cowboys
27.3 Philadelphia Eagles
27.3 Chicago Bears
27.5 Oakland Raiders
27.5 Green Bay Packers
27.5 Buffalo Bills
27.5 New England Patriots
27.6 Tennessee Titans
27.6 New York Jets
27.7 Miami Dolphins
27.9 Cleveland Browns
27.9 New Orleans Saints
27.9 Minnesota Vikings
28.1 Washington Redskins
28.4 Baltimore Ravens
28.4 Arizona Cardinals
28.9 Denver Broncos
29.2 Pittsburgh Steelers

Again, we’ll see how the older defenses hold up compared to the younger ones as the season progresses. Some people might think that “fresh legs” or “young legs” would be a benefit because it decreases the risk of injury and perhaps young players will hold up better later into the season. Or does the experience and age give the “older” defenses an advantage that they can utilize as the season grows on and the games get more important.

Posted at 8:55 am | Comments (0)

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