Posted January 23, 2014

Are Seahawks, second-youngest team in Super Bowl history, on verge of dynasty?

NFC West, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVIII
Pete Carroll inherited the fifth-youngest Super Bowl team, and he's built the second-youngest.

Pete Carroll (right) inherited the fifth-youngest Super Bowl team, and he’s built the second-youngest. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

When it comes to team-building in the long term, football is for the young. Teams drafting well will find success year after year, while teams more interested in spackling their woebegone rosters with overpriced free agents will pay with implosion season after season. That’s not exactly news to anyone in the game not named Dan Snyder … but when looking at the youngest Super Bowl teams of all time, it’s amazing how valuable it is to get things right, right from the start.

If you want to start an NFL dynasty, it’s generally best to do it young. And in this regard, the 2013 Seattle Seahawks are in remarkably good shape — they’re the second-youngest team ever to reach the Super Bowl. According to data compiled by Chase Stuart of Pro Football Reference and Football Perspective, the Seahawks’ roster had an average age of 26.4 years, putting them a few hundredths of an aggregate year younger than the 1971 Miami Dolphins, the youngest Super Bowl team ever. And in looking at all the great dynasties that have spanned the Super Bowl era, youth is the common characteristic. The 1992 Dallas Cowboys, who went on to win three Super Bowls in a four-year stretch, tied for sixth-youngest ever (27 years) with the 1999 St. Louis Rams, who made two Super Bowls in three years and featured one of the greatest offenses of all time.

The 2001 New England Patriots, who helped keep that Rams run from becoming more than a one-time thing, and also won three Super Bowls in four seasons, were one exception to the rule with an average age of 28.5 years, and this appears to be Bill Belichick’s preference — the 2011 Pats who lost to the New York Giants also had an average player age of 28.5.

One thing’s for sure — if you want to see your window close quickly, ignore the age rule. The three oldest Super Bowl teams — the 2002 Oakland Raiders (30.7 average age), 1998 Denver Broncos (30.1 average age) and the 1972 Washington Redskins (29.8 average age) each went through hard times right after their appearances. The Raiders haven’t been back (and aren’t even close), the Redskins took a decade to get back and the Broncos haven’t been back since the 38-year-old John Elway won his second Lombardi Trophy. Until now, of course.

By the way, the Broncos are also set up with youth — their average age of 27.9 puts them in a bottleneck with six other teams (the 1977 Cowboys; the 2007 Giants; the 1990 Giants; the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles; the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers; the 1979 Rams; and the 1983 Washington Redskins). And that number obviously drops if you remove their 37-year-old starting quarterback. Which, of course, the Broncos would prefer that you didn’t.

Here’s the entire list of average ages, minus this year’s teams. And here’s a bit about how the five youngest teams were built.

1971 Miami Dolphins (Average age: 26.4 years)

Just six seasons away from expansion in the American Football League, the Dolphins topped the AFC with a roster that was stacked with young talent at all the important positions. Quarterback Bob Griese was 26; running backs Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris were all 25 or younger; there was an offensive line with two absolute studs (Larry Little and Bob Kuechenberg) in their mid-20s; and the defense that became the first great one of the 1970s was packed with young, drafted talent.

The Dolphins were splattered by the Cowboys, 24-3 in Super Bowl VI, but everyone involved believed that it wouldn’t be long before they were back — and that was absolutely correct. In 1972, Miami became the first and only team to win every game in a season, including the Super Bowl. The Dolphins extended their streak by one game at the start of the next season, lost in Week 2 to Oakland, and went on to win their second straight Super Bowl at the end of that campaign. We’ll never know what might have happened had the World Football League not poached Csonka and other key players, but the Dolphins of the early 1970s were one of the all-time great examples of team-building.

2013 Seattle Seahawks (Average age: 26.4 years)

When Pete Carroll became the Seahawks’ head coach in 2010, he inherited a roster so bereft of talent that only four players would survive the subsequent roster purge. Carroll and new general manager John Schneider started hot — their first four draft picks provided key players at left tackle (Russell Okung), safety (Earl Thomas), receiver (Golden Tate) and cornerback (Walter Thurmond). They also stole safety Kam Chancellor in the fifth round. Another great haul came in 2011, but only in the third day of the draft — higher picks James Carpenter and John Moffitt have been unimpressive, but any draft in which you can get linebacker K.J. Wright in the fourth round, cornerback Richard Sherman in the fifth, cornerback Byron Maxwell in the sixth and linebacker Malcolm Smith in the seventh? That’s a spicy meatball.

Of course, the real steal came with the 75th pick in the 2012 draft, when Schneider talked Carroll into taking Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson. That’s worked out pretty well so far, despite Wilson’s obvious lack of height. Linebacker Bobby Wagner was also taken in the second round. Carroll and Schneider have been hit-and-miss with their trades, but the 2010 trade with the Buffalo Bills for Marshawn Lynch cost them a couple of low picks and defined the franchise as much as anything has done in recent years.

1981 San Francisco 49ers (Average age: 26.5 years)

The 49ers had been a joke for years when head coach Bill Walsh was hired in 1979, and the man I consider to be the greatest football mind in the history of the game changed that with a quickness. In his first draft, Walsh decided that there was a quarterback from Notre Dame worth a third-round pick despite his troubling (to some teams) lack of arm strength. Joe Montana repaid his coach’s faith a few times over. Walsh also got receiver Dwight Clark in the 10th round (back when there was one), setting the table for one of the NFL’s all-time plays a few years later. The 1980 draft brought linebacker Keena Turner, but it was the 1981 draft in which Walsh and VP John McVay really cleaned up. With three of their first four picks, they got safety Ronnie Lott, safety Carlton Williamson and cornerback Eric Wright. That was three-fourths of the starting secondary in a Super Bowl XVI win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and the 1981 team was the genesis for a franchise that would come to dominate the decade.

1974 Pittsburgh Steelers (Average age: 26.6 years)

The Steelers had been nailing their drafts since Chuck Noll became the team’s head coach in 1969 and took a little-known defensive tackle from North Texas named Joe Greene. But it was the 1974 draft — unquestionably the greatest single-year selection process by any one team ever — that put the Steelers on the map for a good, long time. In that draft alone, Pittsburgh grabbed four Hall of Famers — receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster. The Steelers assembled their rosters hand-sewn and homegrown, and they were rewarded with a six-year span in which they won four Super Bowls.

1996 New England Patriots (Average age: 26.7 years)

And here’s that Pete Carroll guy again — but this time, on the wrong side of the curve. The 1996 Patriots lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, and after Bill Parcells had some serious questions about who was buying the groceries, owner Robert Kraft hired Carroll to replace the Big Tuna. It didn’t work out well (the Patriots failed to reach the Super Bowl again under Carroll, who was fired in 1999), which was a shame, because Parcells had a team with a great deal of young and estimable talent — 23-year-old quarterback Drew Bledsoe, 23-year-old running back Curtis Martin, 25-year-old receiver Troy Brown and a group of defenders in Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Willie McGinest and Tedy Bruschi who would be around for the Belichick triumphs of the early 2000s.

Has Carroll learned how to take a young team to  a Super Bowl win? We’ll find out soon enough.

104 comments
Anicra
Anicra

Took the Seahawks 38 seasons to get their first championship  and took the 49ers 36 seasons

VincentVysilia
VincentVysilia

Yeah, and Dan Marino was supposed to get to 8 Super Bowls after getting to his first one in his second season.

RickDesper
RickDesper

Every year, some idiot wonders if the most recent Super Bowl winner is on the cusp of a dynasty.  This year, this idiot isn't even waiting for the game.

Congratulations, Doug.  You're breaking new ground here.  

jjazznola
jjazznola

ha ha! I don't see them winning ANY Super Bowls. Another dumb article. I guess you guys have to write something.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

LOL at people who think this is going to be a dynasty.  I'm very interested in hearing how they're going to pay Chancellor, Sherman, Okung and Russell Wilson while keeping anything resembling a team around them.  We have a team that's been good for one year (and it's not an amazing season by any stretch of the imagination.  Teams go 13-3, 14-2 and even 15-1 frequently enough that nobody cares.  

Chris P1
Chris P1

Dynasty???  Let's let 'em win ONE, first. With free-agency, dynasties are hard to come by. Besides, Russell Wilson is a good QB, but dynasties tend to have great QBs.

likhon
likhon

DOUG FARRAR... please stay off drugs or go back to school. You are either high or ignorant. 

DonaldDuck
DonaldDuck

OK, so the Hawks have demonstrated something, getting to the bowl, again. This is their first trip to the big one since being pushed off the field and losing to Pittsburg in 2006; Denver and Manning have been there before, wining 2 times. So, Seattle won't have their home field 12th man advantage and Denver will have a little edge with the SB experience. It will be a real proving ground for Seattle, to how mature they are on the big stage, and against Manning and a big show experienced team. It could easily go to the 4th quarter, unless Denver jumps ahead and Russell collapses under the pressure. Manning is more experienced than Russell, so this 'new breed of QBs (Russell, Kaepernick) will be tested. I am not sure mouth, lip, and trash talk will rattle Denver.

Hawkfreak
Hawkfreak

As has been stated several times already, the 'Hawks will have to win one before anyone can start talking about a dynasty.  With that said, the team has an exceptional nucleus in place.  Denver is no slouch and I expect an extremely competitive game.  But if the 'Hawks win, this talk of a dynasty will gain traction because of its' youth. 


Go Hawks!

NEFan
NEFan

they haven't even won a super bowl yet, lets see what happens before calling them a dynasty for reaching the super bowl

cardogpush
cardogpush

nice thought but they are paying almost all of their stars peanuts at this point and  when they have to open up the checkbook for wilson thomas irvin chancellor  and sherman they will be in a much less favorable position. They will need to keep drafting superstars in the 3rd 4th and 5th rounds and that is easier said than done

ianlinross
ianlinross

Dynasty? You have to win something substantial first.

john300
john300

N0!!!! they are far from a dynasty. They will lose sunday so we can drop all the hype about this team. Sorry for the bad news. The game is not being played in seattle!!!!!Your a decent road team at best.

PaulMaggard
PaulMaggard

I see the Hawks are a popular team this year have all these admirir's coming in and trolling that is a sign of love there man Hawks will take out the broncos and shock the world in 10 days 

kenc29
kenc29

Do people even read anymore? Where did it say the Seahawks were a "dynasty"? It said "on verge of" based upon the youth of the team. 

manniefaces
manniefaces

Win two championships in at least two of three seasons and maybe we can have this talk as for now nope.

stagger
stagger

NFL free agency and salary caps killed the dynasty. Which is fine with me. It allows teams that historically haven't been great, like Seattle, to compete. Every team has a chance to have a good run now. Except Cleveland, of course...

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Get real. Try to at least win 1 title before you talk about "dynasty". What a joke.

RS1022
RS1022

Seattle is set up for the long haul better than Denver because of the age of each teams' QB, but not a dynasty. Denver is similar to the Denver teams of late 90s in that they are set up for 2 or 3 year run, but will fall to the middle when PFM retires. The salary cap and the fact that Seattle's division is ultra-competitive leads me to believe a dynasty unlikely.

New England is the closest thing there has been to a recent dynasty (though I would say they are not). Much of New Englands success could be attributed to playing a division where Chad Penningron is the second best QB in the division over the last 15 years. The weak AFC East has allowed them to not only be in the playoffs every year, but play most of their playoff games at home.

xosred
xosred

Dynasty I doubt. I would say more like an every year contender. I know their in a better position than Denver who will quickly become a 7/9-9/7 squad as soon as their lebron James ( manning) retires, which very well may be after the SB if he wins it. If you listen to the media its really not a Denver Superbowl its all about Manning getting his 2nd. If you think about alls Denver did to get where their at is have elway suck off manning the best 2 off seasons ago. Its also funny that a team who hated Manning for crushing them every year in the playoffs, its why they traded for champ, now embraces this guy. My brother, who's a big bronco fan, isn't really on board with this Superbowl run because of the this. He says it'd be more enjoyable if it was cutler leading this team.

x72
x72

The adderall is working.

pirate
pirate

Much as I woulds love to see the 'Hawks win it year after year after year, it's not in the cards. All those young players are going to need to be paid soon, and it's inevitably going to break up the gang. More than half the team's salary cap is tied up in it's top seven players, which isn't close to as bad as some teams (looking at you, Pittsburgh, at over 70 percent) but it all takes a toll. So I'm savoring this year and probably next year, because team finances will probably block anyone from becoming a dynasty.

Dan13
Dan13

A lot of things not taken into consideration here, free agency and salary cap to start.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@VincentVysilia Wrong he was supposed to get to 19 Super Bowls and throw for 450 yards in all of them plus return a kickoff the distance in each as well. 

John4
John4

@RickDesper Correct.  There are NO dynasties in the NFL any more.  As soon as a team gets good, its players will begin the exodus with FA contracts with other teams.  No way the Seahawks will be able to sign ALL of their key players when their contracts are up.  

j7apple
j7apple

@Chris P1  What defines a good/great QB?  I hear the argument, great stats but no wins is not a great QB...many wins but no stats is not a great QB...which one is it?


All I know is Wilson has won more games in his first 2 years than any QB before him...and is in the  SB....How many great QB were not even in a SB, little less win one?  Next week will tell.



Hawkfreak
Hawkfreak

@DonaldDuck I think if you watch more of the Seahawks defense, it's more than just "mouth, lip, and trash talk."  


It's a pretty stout defensive front that platoons its' relentless pass rushers, continues to push into the backfield, and never takes a play off.


Its' a largely ignored, and unheralded linebacking corps that have great range, excellent fundamentals, and are extremely athletic.


It's a secondary so brash and punishing that they literally wear out their opponents, covering them like white on rice, and dishing out hits like they were in an MMA octagon.


The verbiage just comes from the confidence that the team is brimming with.


I think a lot of fans expect Peyton Manning to toy with the Seahawks all day.  I think its' also assumed that because Peyton Manning just had the greatest historical season that a quarterback has ever enjoyed, that the magical run he had during the regular season and into the the Broncos two playoff games, is going to continue in the Super Bowl.  Not every "great" passer makes it to the Super Bowl (Dan Fouts), and even if they get there with their gaudy numbers (Dan Marino) they always win.  Heck, Kurt Warner is the most prolific Super Bowl quarterback ever...and he went 1-2 in the Big Game (granted, both loses were very close).


I expect a great game.  A close game.  A chess match pitting two different philosophies against one another.  But don't bank on Russell Wilson collapsing under pressure.  The top four defenses in the NFL?  They were all the last four teams standing in the NFC.  Wilson's "poor" play down the stretch after the Saints game on Monday Night Football? Bothe Seahawk loses came towards the end of the 4th quarters: a two point loss to the Niners in San Francisco (set up by a 51 yard run by Frank Gore with Seattle clinging to a 17-16 lead), and a seven point home loss to the Cardinals, capped by a perfectly thrown ball, and an amazing catch...with absolute blanket coverage on the receiver.


It could come down to that in the Super Bowl.  One play at the very end.  I think these teams are pretty evenly matched.  I think the Bronco's record setting offense is equally offset by the menacing Seahawks defense.  In my estimation, the real wild card is Wilson.  I think he is going to make some plays in this game that will be on highlight reels that our grandchildren will be mesmerized by decades from now.


I think it all comes down to a Steven Hauschka field goal in OT...in the coldest Super Bowl ever...and in the first one ever to go into overtime.  I predict a classic.       

xosred
xosred

Let's see Irvin can go. Kam has been extended already, Wilson Sherm and Thomas will be paid. Sidney Rice will be cut freeing up $$, Chris Clemons could be cut. This is something all teams have to deal with. Drafting is also something all teams need to do well. They'll keep their core together and go from there. Don't think Seattle will be any kind of dynasty but an every year contender is quite possible. They're in a better position than Denver, who'll be 7/9, 9/7 once Manning is gone.

KevinMcClain
KevinMcClain

@john300 True, the SeaHawks are just an average road team. However this is not a road game where they are in a hostile environment. This should be a neutral environment. They won't have the atvantage of their extremely loud stadium and fans. But Denver should not have an advantage in that respect either.

John4
John4

@john300 YOU'RE.  For the love of God, get it right.

Anicra
Anicra

@john300Seriously that is a myth this season.

Seattle was 6-2 on the road (tied with the best) (handful of stats) 

Gave up a total 121 points 15.1 points per game- (1st in the NFL) 

Gave up a total 2344 yards on the road - ( 1st in the NFL) 

Created 18TOs on the road - (2nd in the NFL) 

Sacked the QB 25 times on the road - (2nd in the NFL) 

Redzone D on the road - (1st in the the NFL) 

Rushing yards on the road 134.25yard - (4th in the NFL) 

Gave up 4 Ints on O on the road -(t4th in the NFL) 

On Offense avg 5.56yard per play -(4th best in the NFL)

On Defense avg 4.59 yard per pay -(1st in the NFL) 

Going to say with confidence, these Seahawks play very well on the road.

NEFan
NEFan

@PaulMaggardI don't think I would be shocked if they won.  They have a very fast defense, and Manning can be rattled under pressure.  I am not confident in their offense though.  Russell Wilson is scary in his decision-making process.  It seemed he ran backward as much as forward against SF.

NEFan
NEFan

@kenc29Agreed.  My answer is NO.  They have at best a 50% chance of winning.  I like them, and hope they do win.  I don't like their qb situation, however.  I was not impressed in his decisions that risked losing 20 yards every time he scrambled...much of it backwards!

x72
x72

@kenc29  JUST SHUT UP ALREADY AND LISTEN TO SOME MERLE HAGGARD

PaulMaggard
PaulMaggard

@manniefaces pretty sure you don't need to do anything to have this talk troll said could become not has become learn to read ya idiot troll 

KevinMcClain
KevinMcClain

@stagger   It also allows teams that historically have been great, like Dallas, to become mediocre.That and Jerry Jones.

PaulMaggard
PaulMaggard

@Richard--Ramirez the only joke is you troll for responding to a article with out actually reading the article says they can become a dynasty not are one man love all the retarded trolls giving the Hawks much love by showing how scared they are of them by trolling on every page that is of the Hawks whats the matter don't you have any donkey fan pages you can yack on ? 


NEFan
NEFan

@RS1022Really how does anyone define a dynasty?  I don't disagree about your comments about New England in a weak division, but they have beaten down the best teams outside their division for years.  Even when they lost a couple super bowls it was to lucky plays and controversial calls.  Those games could have been their victories just as easily.  They are always competitive.

PaulMaggard
PaulMaggard

@pirate you never know some of those players could take a pay cut it it meant going down as the all time best team in history I know I would if I had the chance besides after their dynasty they could just as easly go to other teams and get the big fat paycheck 

John4
John4

@j7apple a good QB is when the teams wins more games because of their QB.  For example, how many games would the 2013 Patriots win if Tom Brady was not there?  8?  Less than 8?  Very very quickly, Russell Wilson will be (accurately) seen as a very good (and almost great) QB.  

Kurgan
Kurgan

@PaulMaggard , Sherman is the BEST so don't come at Sherman with some mediocre contract extension. Russel WIlson just had the two most wins of any starting QB and brought your team to its second Superbowl ever!!!! If he wins you better PAY da MAN!!