By what standard are the Patriots the youngest team to ever win the Super Bowl?
February 22 Update – There were 107 players that were once on the Patriots 2014 90-man roster or on the practice squad. Their average age as of December 31, 2014 is 25.2. While Pro Football Reference says that the average age is 25.2 they show on http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2014.htm 69 players. The average age of the 69 listed players is 25.88. I have added a two table to the bottom of this blog. Using Pro Football Reference standard of including every player who was ever on the 90-man roster or on the practice squad the Patriots are the 2nd youngest team ever to win the Super Bowl.
Right after the Patriots defeated the Seahawks it was tweeted out that the Patriots were the youngest team ever to win the Super Bowl with an average age of 25.2 years. That number surprised me since I keep track of the Patriots ages and that number seemed low to me. Right after week 1 games the NFL released a report on the makeup of the team’s 53-man rosters. The NFL PDF had the Patriots average age as 25.79. Right before the Super Bowl ESPN.Com’s Mike Sando included this table in a January 27 piece about the Seahawks roster construction. Since the table was tweeted out later as a graphic I feel comfortable sharing it even though it came from an ESPN Insider piece.
How does the average age go from 26.6 to 25.2 in a less than a week?
Here are the averages of the 53-man roster as of February 1, 2015, the day of the Super Bowl.
The average age for the 53 players was 26.38. The average active of the 46-man active roster was 26.65 as the 7 inactives (Tyms, Gray, Vellano, White, Moore, Devey, Boyce) were younger than the team average.
Here are the ages of the 10 Patriots who were on Injured Reserve the day of the Super Bowl
|Total of 53+IR||1643|
As you can see, if you include the ages of the 10 players on Injured Reserve to the mix, the average age for the 63 players was 26.08.
|Total of 53+PS||1610|
|Total of 53+PS+IR||1855|
As you can see, if you include the ages of the 9 Practice Squad players to the mix, the average age for the 72 players was 25.76.
This next table includes all 107 players that were once on the Patriots 90-man roster or on the practice squad at any time during the 2014 season. Their age is as of December 31, 2014.
|Van Hooser, Wilson||12/31/1990||24|
This next table shows the 69 players listed on ProFootballReference’s roster page. Age is also as of December 31, 2014. ProFootballReference was not consistent in its treatment of practice squad players. It shows Cam Henderson who was on the practice squad for days but not Jake Bequette who was on the practice squad for the entire season. Nor does it make sense to include Antonio Johnson, Rufus Johnson, and Dion Lewis in their listing since they were signed for the 2015 season.
Since I doubted that the 25.2 average age number is accurate, I then began to wonder if the resulting conclusion (Patriots were the youngest team to ever win the Super Bowl) was also suspect. So I researched the ages of the Seahawks on 2/2/2014 )the day of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Comparing apples to apples (ages as of the day of the Super Bowl game) the Seahawks were the younger team. On 2/22 I learned that using the ProFootball Reference standard the 2013 Seahawks are the youngest team to ever win the Super Bowl and the Patriots the second youngest.
One thing DeflateGate has taught me is to question media reports and whenever possible research their claims on my own. In that vain, I will ask that you do not simply accept my numbers. I encourage you to verify them so I have included links to my sources below.
Sources: Super Bowl XLIX gamebook
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