Discussion

Not yet time to panic, Pittsburgh

Don't worry, Steelers fans; your team is still very much a contender in the AFC

Originally Published: October 5, 2011
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

Most sports organizations handle the issue of team age management in a very direct way. Once a player starts to get close to 30 years old, these ballclubs will put replacing him high on their offseason priority list. It's not a warm thought, it's just reality.

There are a few front offices across sports that take a different tack. The Scotty Bowman Detroit Red Wings and Bud Grant-era Minnesota Vikings both were able to keep aging rosters performing at a championship level in part by creatively dealing with the physical woes that come with aging (e.g. cutting back on practice time, platooning, having a short training camp that is light on hitting, etc.). We constantly see older teams succeed in the NBA.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also have a long and successful history of managing advanced roster age (four of their eight Super Bowl teams had at least eight starters who were 30 or older).

This is a fact that seems to have been forgotten following the Steelers' 2-2 start. Pundits and fans have criticized Pittsburgh for keeping so many veterans, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where the Steelers ranked as the oldest group in the NFL coming into the season.

That may have prompted some to write off the Steelers' chances of repeating as AFC champions, but a review of their first four games provides evidence that shows this team is still playing extremely well and has a strong chance of making it to the postseason.

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