NFL teams average age heading into free agency 2013 3

9:34 PM 17 Feb 2013

Twice a season, I will look at the NFL teams average age, and their offenses and defenses. This tells us where the Detroit Lions are at compared to the rest of the NFL.

List of current National Football League stadiums

List of current National Football League stadiums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last time I looked at all the rosters in the NFL was heading into the 2012 season. The Detroit Lions had an average team age of 27.24 years and were the second oldest team in the NFL heading into last season. They also had the oldest offense and the 17th oldest defense. Since the end of the season, teams will add players to what was a 53 man roster, so most of these numbers might seem a little low. The Lions, for instance, added several players with future reserve contracts. Most teams will do this, and these are younger players that will lower average ages a bit across the board, affecting all teams equally.

Heading into free agency, it’s impossible to exclude practice squad players, as the league year also begins on March 12th, and no teams have formed practice squads. When I next do these ages, I will exclude practice squad players, because they are all about the same age group and the overall impact is a wash.

Injured reserve players will also get excluded before the start of the season, as they have no impact on a teams roster with the possible exception of one player a team may bring back from injured reserve per team under the new rules.

The only way to look at any team and their average age is if it can be compared to the rest of the NFL for proper context. Yes, this is a Lions site, but all the averages must be done if we want to see how they stack up against the rest of the league. I’ll also do the averages for the offense and defense.

In my new table format, the teams are ranked with 1 being the oldest team and 32 being the youngest. The tables are also searchable, so typing in ‘N‘ will show all the teams that start with that letter. Typing in Min shows the Vikings, etc. This search will narrow down what you are looking for while you are typing. All tables are also sortable.

Now, for some odds and ends, at the time I gathered this roster information, all the players combined in the NFL were 61,964 years old. Since I counted 2,373 players on all the rosters combined, that means the average NFL player is 26.11 years old. Going into the 2012 season, the average player was 26.21 years old. Since rosters will drop to 53 players before the start of the season, that means some younger guys will become practice squad players. I expect the average age to go back up a little.

Where is your team at? Click the column headers to sort by that column or use the search box to rapidly locate them.

Average age of NFL teams

RankTeamAverage Age
1San Diego Chargers26.86 Yrs
2Detroit Lions26.82 Yrs
3Arizona Cardinals26.67 Yrs
4Atlanta Falcons26.66 Yrs
5San Francisco 49ers26.64 Yrs
6Chicago Bears26.57 Yrs
7Dever Broncos26.47 Yrs
8Baltimore Ravens26.39 Yrs
9Pittsburgh Steelers26.39 Yrs
10Houston Texans26.33 Yrs
11Oakland Raiders26.28 Yrs
12Washington Redskins26.21 Yrs
13Jacksonville Jaguars26.18 Yrs
14Tennessee Titans26.18 Yrs
15New England Patriots26.15 Yrs
16Kansas City Chiefs26.12 Yrs
17Buffalo Bills26.11 Yrs
18Dallas Cowboys26.05 Yrs
19New York Giants26.05 Yrs
20New York Jets26.04 Yrs
21New Orleans Saints26.03 Yrs
22Carolina Panthers26 Yrs
23Philadelphia Eagles25.93 Yrs
24Seattle Seahawks25.81 Yrs
25Cincinnati Bengals25.77 Yrs
26Tampa Bay Buccaneers25.68 Yrs
27Miami Dolphins25.62 Yrs
28Cleveland Browns25.58 Yrs
29Minnesota Vikings25.56 Yrs
30Indianapolis Colts25.53 Yrs
31Green Bay Packers25.53 Yrs
32St. Louis Rams25.4 Yrs

Average age of NFL Offenses
RankTeamAverage Offense Age
1Detroit Lions27.61 Yrs
2Chicago Bears27 Yrs
3San Diego Chargers26.93 Yrs
4San Francisco 49ers26.83 Yrs
5New York Giants26.67 Yrs
6Tennessee Titans26.64 Yrs
7Houston Texans26.59 Yrs
8Dever Broncos26.56 Yrs
9Arizona Cardinals26.5 Yrs
10Atlanta Falcons26.49 Yrs
11New England Patriots26.38 Yrs
12Buffalo Bills26.27 Yrs
13Tampa Bay Buccaneers26.25 Yrs
14Pittsburgh Steelers26.24 Yrs
15New Orleans Saints26.24 Yrs
16Oakland Raiders26.18 Yrs
17Jacksonville Jaguars26.11 Yrs
18Seattle Seahawks26.11 Yrs
19Baltimore Ravens26.1 Yrs
20Philadelphia Eagles26.07 Yrs
21Kansas City Chiefs26.02 Yrs
22Carolina Panthers26 Yrs
23Dallas Cowboys25.98 Yrs
24Washington Redskins25.97 Yrs
25Cleveland Browns25.85 Yrs
26New York Jets25.78 Yrs
27Cincinnati Bengals25.69 Yrs
28Green Bay Packers25.61 Yrs
29Miami Dolphins25.39 Yrs
30Minnesota Vikings25.39 Yrs
31Indianapolis Colts25.34 Yrs
32St. Louis Rams25.34 Yrs

Average age of NFL Defenses

RankTeamAverage Defense Age
1Arizona Cardinals26.9 Yrs
2Atlanta Falcons26.9 Yrs
3San Diego Chargers26.77 Yrs
4Baltimore Ravens26.69 Yrs
5Pittsburgh Steelers26.54 Yrs
6Washington Redskins26.46 Yrs
7San Francisco 49ers26.42 Yrs
8Oakland Raiders26.38 Yrs
9Dever Broncos26.36 Yrs
10New York Jets26.29 Yrs
11Jacksonville Jaguars26.28 Yrs
12Kansas City Chiefs26.26 Yrs
13Dallas Cowboys26.12 Yrs
14Houston Texans26.09 Yrs
15Chicago Bears26.08 Yrs
16Carolina Panthers26 Yrs
17Detroit Lions25.97 Yrs
18Buffalo Bills25.91 Yrs
19Miami Dolphins25.9 Yrs
20New England Patriots25.89 Yrs
21Cincinnati Bengals25.84 Yrs
22New Orleans Saints25.8 Yrs
23New York Giants25.78 Yrs
24Philadelphia Eagles25.76 Yrs
25Minnesota Vikings25.75 Yrs
26Indianapolis Colts25.73 Yrs
27Tennessee Titans25.66 Yrs
28Seattle Seahawks25.5 Yrs
29St. Louis Rams25.48 Yrs
30Green Bay Packers25.44 Yrs
31Cleveland Browns25.28 Yrs
32Tampa Bay Buccaneers25.05 Yrs


Well, the Lions are still the second oldest team overall in the NFL at 26.82 years, behind only the San Diego Chargers. The Lions also once again have the oldest overall offense at 27.61 years and the 17th overall oldest defense.


Things will change, and depending on whether Lions kicker Jason Hanson and left tackle Jeff Backus retire, the Lions average age could drop both overall and on offense. These numbers are going to change.


Right now, if both Jeff Backus and Jason Hanson return for the 2013 season, I would not recommend the Lions go after a veteran free agent, unless that free agent is younger and can help the team. Both those things also mean a higher price tag, so I don’t see the Lions going after any young studs in free agency.


I’m also thinking these numbers seem to indicate that the best way to find a replacement for Jahvid Best would be through the draft, with a younger player and speed, not often mentioned Reggie Bush. Sure, at 27 years old, Bush seems young. Now going into his seventh season as an NFL running back, how much could Bush bring to the Lions and at what cost?

Since I am also calculating the ages of the offense and defense, don’t tell me that a player like 42 year old Jason Hanson shouldn’t be included in the Detroit Lions offense. I think even the average Lions fan can tell you that Hanson is the Lions all time leading scorer, with over 2,000 points. I think that tells me he must be included in the offense, along with the long snapper snapping the ball on field goal attempts.

I also feel the Punter must be included in the offense, it’s all about field position. The ideal situation is to pin the opponent inside the five on punts, and the desired result would be a safety or excellent field position because of a defensive stop that leads to points.


3 thoughts on “NFL teams average age heading into free agency 2013

  1. Dave Brown, TSB Senior Writer Reply Dave Brown Feb 21, 2013 4:20 PM

    Almost forgot once again, the difference between the oldest team in the NFL and the youngest team in the NFL may seem slight, but at around 78 players on a roster right now, the difference is almost 114 years.

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