September 7, 2016

NOT THAT THE QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT MATTERS:

The NFL Has an Age Problem (Kevin Clark, 9/07/16, The Ringer)

If you're worried about the level of play in the NFL, you have an unlikely ally: coaches and executives. "Everything from defensive linemen not knowing where their eyes should be looking, not knowing where blocks are coming from," said Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "Defensive backs not recognizing routes, not knowing how to burst, stop, start, and change direction so they don't tear their ACLs. Offensive linemen not knowing where blitzers are coming from. Just not a lot of technique anywhere."

It's rare for NFL coaches and executives to agree en masse on anything, but these days, nearly all of them seem to be fretting about a new and game-changing trend: The NFL is getting dangerously young due to changes at both ends of the age spectrum, with record numbers of less experienced rookies entering the league and veterans getting the boot.

"This is a real serious concern," Harbaugh said. "Not just for the quality of the game, but for the well-being of these young guys coming into the NFL."

Football Outsiders tracks a statistic called "Snap-Weighted Age" that averages the age of the players on the field based on snaps. In 2015, the league-wide average age hit its lowest mark since the site started keeping track a decade ago. In 2006, the average age of the players on the field was 27.2; in 2015, it was 26.6. On offenses alone, the average age of players on the field dipped almost a full year, from 27.6 in 2006 to 26.8 last year.

Posted by at September 7, 2016 2:14 PM

  

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