Top 10 oldest players in NFL history

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

Dan Halverson

July 6th, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady continues to defy the odds, by playing at a championship level well past the age most NFL players retire.

While the average NFL player only lasts about 3 1/2 years, the 43-year-old Brady is entering his 22nd season in the league and is set to become one of the 10 oldest players in NFL history.

Let's run down the cagey veterans he'll join when the 2021 NFL season kicks of.

10. Vinny Testaverde

Position: Quarterback
Age in final game: 44 years
Teams: New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots
Years active: 1987-2007

The former first overall pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Testaverde became the prototypical pocket passer. He learned to protect himself, because during his early years in the league, he endured an average of 2.7 sacks per game started during his six-year tenure in Tampa Bay.

Testaverde became a journeyman, and at age 37, he led the league in pass attempts with the New York Jets. He led the Carolina Panthers to a win at age 44.

9. Steve DeBerg

Position: Quarterback
Age in final game: 44 years
Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins
Years active: 1978-1998

DeBerg was mostly a backup during a career that spanned 20 years, after he got the opportunity to start 35 of 39 games in his first three years.

In 1998, he was the backup on the Atlanta Falcons when starting quarterback Chris Chandler was injured and unable to start the following week. DeBerg didn’t finish the game, but stayed on the roster through the end of the Falcons' Super Bowl season.

8. Bobby Marshall

Position: End
Age in final game: 45 years
Teams: Rock Island Independents, Duluth Kelleys
Years active: 1920, 1925

Well before the modern NFL as we now know it, the first African-American man to play professional football was Bobby Marshall, for the Rock Island Independents. 

Years later, he played with the Duluth Kelleys at age 45.

7. Gary Anderson

Position: Kicker
Age during final game: 45 years
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers
Years active: 1982-2004

The South African kicker who played 23 years in the NFL grew up playing soccer and rugby and didn’t touch a football until he was 18.

Once he arrived in the U.S., his childhood sports clearly benefited him, as he went on to become the first NFL kicker to have a perfect regular season while with the Vikings in 1998.

At the time of his retirement, Anderson was the leading scorer in NFL history.

6. Ben Agajanian

Position: Kicker
Age in final game: 45 years
Teams: New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Texans, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers
Years active: 1945-1964

Known as "The Toeless Wonder," Agajanian had four amputated toes and still managed to play across three decades as a kicker in the NFL.

After his long playing career, Agajanian had an even bigger impact as the kicking coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first kicker to take three steps back and two steps to the side, and the first to have the laces held outward. His focus on technique changed the way the game is played.

5. John Nesser

Position: Offensive line
Age in final game: 46 years
Teams: Columbus Panhandles
Years active: 1921

A member of the Nesser family, which had six family members play football, John played until the age of 46 for the Columbus Panhandles.

4. John Carney

Position: Kicker
Age in final game: 46 years
Teams: San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams
Years active: 1988-2010

Carney is one of only a few NFL players who played in four different decades.

At the age of 46 in 2010, Carney booted three field goals in a 16-14 Saints victory. Carney holds the record for most four-field goal games (29).

3. Adam Vinatieri

Position: Kicker
Age in final game: 46
Teams: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts
Years active: 1996-active

The NFL’s all-time leader in points scored, postseason points scored, and field goals made, Vinatieri has made some of the most memorable kicks in the league’s history.

Along with his longevity records, Vinatieri also has four Super Bowl wins and the record for most consecutive field goals made (44).

2. Morten Anderson

Position: Kicker
Age in final game: 47
Teams: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings
Years active: 1982-2007

Just a few years after Gary Anderson retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer, Morten Anderson surpassed the record and played until the age of 47.

Nicknamed "Mr. Automatic," Anderson was reliable all the way through the end of his career, including a five-field goal performance at 46.

1. George Blanda

Position: Quarterback, kicker
Age in final game: 48
Teams: Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers, Baltimore Colts
Years active: 1949-1975

The oldest player in NFL history, Blanda managed to see the field for 26 seasons as a quarterback and scored at least one point in each campaign.

Blanda was utilized both as a placekicker and a quarterback, and it is hard to imagine a position player ever coming close to breaking Blanda’s record.