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Steelers have oldest defense in NFL

Warren Sapp must be wearing a smile a mile wide, as a recent ESPN ranking confirms his theory about the antiquated nature of the modern Steelers defense.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Some fans still refuse to believe the Pittsburgh Steelers will remain serious contenders in 2013, due to a recent injection of youth into what was believed to be an "old" roster. Turns out, they're still old after all.

Mike Sando of ESPN's NFC West blog recently compiled the average ages of each NFL team's starters. Even though Pittsburgh claims the third-youngest offense in the league, their defense is still the oldest; and the roster ranks eighth-eldest overall.

At first glance, it seems impossible for the Steelers to be ranked so high with a defense which will boast at least three new starters in 2013, and relatively young starters already placed in Ziggy Hood, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley. However, the over-30 club still includes Larry Foote and Troy Polamalu (32), Ryan Clark and Ike Taylor (33), and Brett Keisel(34). Pittsburgh will be relying on their players' collective experience to mold the younger reserves not accounted for in this equation.

It's still interesting how much younger the rest of the league has gotten, and how much younger Pittsburgh's offense has gotten as well; although they still weren't young enough to compensate for the defense's age and pull them out of the top ten.

The Steelers have been addressing their age issues, and added youth to necessary positions. If the veterans driving the average age up are in as excellent condition as they claim to be, their team could surprise in 2013 those who had already relegated them to the retirement home.