Average Age Of Super Bowl Winning Rosters
Josh Markowitz | 8 mins
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After winning Super Bowl 56 with the third-youngest championship roster of the last 15 years, the Los Angeles Rams are back to defend their title with an even younger group. Largely fueled by the retirement of their two oldest players, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and safety Eric Weddle, this year’s edition of the Rams projects to have an average age of 26 years, 5 months and 5 days on Super Bowl Sunday.
That's down about four months from the average age of the squad that suited up against the Bengals in February. And it is four days younger than the 2014 Seattle Seahawks, the youngest team to win a Super Bowl in recent years.
In conjunction with our project examining the average age of all 32 NFL rosters for this season, Bookies.com also analyzed the final roster of every Super Bowl champion since 2008 to see if we could spot any trends.
Based on our research, the average age of the final roster of the last 15 Super Bowl Champions* is 27 years, 3 months and 9 days old.
*Player ages are based on the day the Super Bowl is played that year (2/12/23 this year).
Rams Not the Only Young Contenders
As Bill Speros noted when he explored this season’s rosters, the Rams currently have the fourth-best Super Bowl odds for 2023 at +1100 per BetMGM, while the Kansas City Chiefs sit third at +1000.
Should the Chiefs to take home the Lombardi trophy this year, they would be just over one month older than the Rams and that 2014 Seahawks team, coming in with an average projected age of 26 years, 6 months and 16 days on Super Bowl Sunday. Something to consider for Chiefs fans ahead of the new season, with Kansas sports betting now live in the Sunflower State.
The NFC East favorite Dallas Cowboys feature a roster that would make them the youngest champion in years at 26 years, 2 months and 14 days on average.
Just six teams are projected to eclipse the average age of recent champions this season and only two of them, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, are expected to make the playoffs based on the NFL futures odds at BetMGM. In fact, the team with the roster most similar in age to the group of recent winners, the Houston Texans at 27 years, 3 months and 14 days, have the longest Super Bowl odds of any team in the league at +30000.
The preseason NFL betting favorite Buffalo Bills possess the 8th oldest roster in the NFL going into this season and would average 27 years, 2 months and 23 days on Super Bowl Sunday. That is just over 2 weeks younger than the recent average and would make them the ninth-youngest winners since 2008.
Given the trend of younger rosters around the league this year, even if the Bills are not crowned the eventual champions there is a decent chance this year’s winner brings the recent average age down (now watch Tampa Bay win again, because of course Tom Brady).
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2019 Pats, 2021 Bucs, Oldest Winners
Brady has led two teams to titles since turning 40 and they both come in as the only teams with an average age above 28. But Brady was far from the only veteran presence on either roster. Both squads had 14 other players over the age of 30 on their final roster, more than any other team in the sample. Removing Brady from the equation bumps the 2019 Patriots and 2021 Buccaneers down slightly, but they would still be among the oldest recent champions without him.
The Buccaneers heavily invested in youth in the secondary, with all five of their starting defensive backs from Super Bowl LV coming in at under 25 years old, but they featured more experience across the rest of the team. Veterans like Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David proved instrumental to a defense that held the Chiefs to 9 points in the title matchup, while 31-year-old Rob Gronkowski and 32-year-old Antonio Brown combined for all three receiving touchdowns that night.
Meanwhile, the age of the 2019 Patriots roster was the product of sustained success. 26 of the 53 players on the roster for Super Bowl LIII were also on the roster for Super Bowl LI, and that does not even include Gronkowski or Eric Rowe, who played on both teams but were on injured reserve for one of the Super Bowls. With almost half the team automatically two years older than the last championship team, it is no wonder the 2019 team was almost 15 months older than the 2017 team on average.
Interestingly enough, the 2017 Patriots were only three days older on average than the 2015 Patriots despite 23 common players. However, only eight of the 16 players over 28 on the 2015 final roster also appeared on the 2017 final roster, whereas 10 of the 17 players over 28 on the 2017 final roster also appeared on the 2019 final roster. Those eight made up all but one of the over 30 players on the 2017 team, while the 2019 team had five additional over-30 players to go along with the ten holdovers. Overall, 13 players were on the final active roster of all three teams.
Young Quarterbacks Do Not Mean Young Teams
NFL franchises covet elite quarterbacks on rookie contracts because of the flexibility they create in roster building. Though just four of the last 15 champions started a quarterback on his first contract in the Super Bowl, those teams had vastly different looks.
The 2014 Seahawks were by the far youngest team in the sample, while the 2013 Ravens were among the older squads. The 2020 Chiefs and 2008 Giants were both about average, with the Chiefs just five days below the mean age of all recent Super Bowl winners.
Seattle built their title team through a string of draft successes that are practically impossible to replicate. In addition to quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks drafted 10 other Super Bowl XLVIII starters in the four prior years, including stars such as Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas. This allowed them to spend money in free agency on key pass rushers like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, supplementing the core they already developed internally.
Joe Flacco parlayed his legendary 2013 playoff run into a then record-breaking contract, but he could not have led Baltimore to glory without help from his defense. The Ravens started seven defenders over the age of 28 in Super Bowl XLVII, including franchise icons Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. Flacco’s top target Anquan Boldin, and three of the teams five starting offensive linemen, were all also 28 or older.
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The Chiefs starters were mostly on the younger side, as all 22 of their first-string offensive and defensive players from Super Bowl LIV were under age 31. However, punter Dustin Colquitt was 37 and three other backups were over 34, raising the team average considerably. Kansas City’s biggest stars were a mix of first and second contract guys, though it has proven difficult for the Chiefs to keep them all, as evidenced by the projected youth of this season’s team.
Speaking of punters skewing the data, the 2008 Giants featured the oldest non-Tom Brady player of any recent champion with Jeff Feagles clocking in at 41 years, 10 months and 28 days old on the date of Super Bowl XLII. Removing him from New York’s roster would drop them three spots on the list alone.
As for any grand takeaways, recent history has proven championship rosters can be constructed in a multitude of ways. It helps to have a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, but his age and the age of his teammates does not matter all that much, just as long as he has a capable supporting cast because at the end of the day, talent wins titles.