Oldest NFL Players Ever

10 Oldest NFL Players Ever (Updated 2024)

For most NFL players, their careers only last a few years and they often retire sometime in their early 30s. Although this may be true for the average professional football player, all ten of the men on this list retired from the sport in their 40s.

Most of them had impressive careers spanning over 20 years and several of them were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Some of the players even set several NFL records and firsts which still stand today.

As of July 2023, these are the oldest NFL players ever in history.

11. Vinny Testaverde (November 13, 1963 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 44 years old in 2007
Last Team: Carolina Panthers
Position: Quarterback
Years Active: 1987 – 2007 (21 years)

Vinny Testaverdephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Vinny Testaverde is best known for playing as a quarterback for 21 consecutive seasons in the NFL. In addition to this accomplishment, Testaverde was also the oldest starting quarterback to win a game, the 6th in career passing yardage, 7th in career touchdown passes, and 6th in career completions.

He is the highest ranked player in each of those categories not inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Despite all of these records, Testaverde is not regarded as a successful quarterback in terms of wins and losses and his 123 losses are an NFL record he has a regular season winning percentage of .423, which is the lowest of any quarterback with at least 70 wins.

Did You Know?

Vinny Testaverde holds the record for most consecutive seasons with at least one touchdown pass (21) as well as the most losses as a starting quarterback (123).

10. Warren Moon (November 18, 1956 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 44 years old in 2000
Last Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Position: Quarterback
Years Active: 1978 – 2000 (22 years)

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Warren Moon is a retired gridiron football quarterback who played for the Canadian Football League and the National Football League.

At the time of his retirement, Moon held several gridiron football records (which have since been broken) including: the record for most pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and touchdowns.

In addition to his impressive football career, Moon was the first African American, as well as the first undrafted quarterback, to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Since retiring in 2000, Moon has worked as a commentator for the Seattle Seahawks’ radio network.

Did You Know?

Statistically Warren Moon is one of the best players ever on the Tennessee Titans (previously the Houston Oilers) and he holds many franchise records, including most career passing touchdowns (196) and most pass attempts during entire career (4,546).

9. Bobby Marshall (March 12, 1880 – August 27, 1958)

Oldest Age While Playing: 45 years old in 1925
Last Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Position: End
Years Active: 1920 – 1925 (5 years)

Bobby Marshallphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Although Bobby Marshall is best known for his football career, he also played baseball, track, boxing, and ice hockey.

He played the position of end for the University of Minnesota from 1904 – 1906 and was the first African America to play in the Big Nine (which later became the Big Ten Conference) and was also the first African American, along with Fritz Pollard, to play in the NFL.

Marshall’s professional football career was short and he played for three teams: the Rock Island Independents, the Minneapolis Marines, and Duluth Kelleys. In 1971, he was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Did You Know?

Bobby Marshall was the grandson of Civil Rights pioneer Ezekiel Gillespie.

8. Gary Anderson (16 July 1959 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 45 years old in 2004
Last Team: Tennessee Titans
Position: Placekicker
Years Active: 1982 – 2004 (23 years)

Gary Anderson is a former NFL placekicker and the first South African to play in the League. During his career, Anderson primarily played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but is known for his time with the Minnesota Vikings.

During the 1998 football season with the Vikings, Anderson became the first NFL kicker to have a perfect regular season in which he successfully made every field goal and point after touchdown during regular season play.

Unfortunately, Anderson’s success is often overshadowed by a missed field goal during the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons. Anderson finished his football career playing for the Tennessee Titans and retired at 45 years old.

Did You Know?

During the 1998 season, Gary Anderson had a 100% field goal percentage and successfully completed  35 out of 35 field goals.

To see pictures of Gary Anderson, click here

7. Ben Agajanian (August 28, 1919 – February 8, 2018)

Oldest Age While Playing: 45 years old in 1964
Last Team: San Diego Chargers
Position: Placekicker
Years Active: 1945 – 1964 (19 years)

Ben Agajanianphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Ben Agajanian, whose nickname was “The Toeless Wonder”, is a retired professional football player who mostly played as a placekicker in the NFL.

Agjanian is one of only two players who played in the All-America Football Conference, the American Football League, and the National Football League.

He is known for being the second kicking specialist in professional football and he earned his nickname because he has four amputated toes on his kicking foot.

Prior to playing professional football, Agajanian served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a physical training instructor. After he retired, Agajanian was the kicking coach for the Dallas Cowboys for over 20 years.

Did You Know?

Ben Agajanian is the only other player besides Hardy Brown who played in the All-American Football Conference, the American Football League, and the NFL.

6. John Nesser (April 25, 1876 – July 29, 1931)

Oldest Age While Playing: 45 years old in 1921
Last Team: Columbus Panhandles
Position: Guard, Tackle, and Quarterback
Years Active: 1909 – 1921 (12 years)

photo source: Wikimedia Commons (John is second from the left)

John Nesser was one of seven brothers who played for the early NFL from around 1907 until the mid 1920s. John was the oldest and the smallest of the brothers, who all emigrated to the U.S. from Germany.

Before playing football, the brothers worked with their father as boilermakers for Panhandle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

In 1907, Joe Carr restarted the Columbus Panhandles and wanted to build his team around the Nesser Brothers – six of the seven brothers eventually joined the team and remained as its backbone over the next 20 years.

John usually played quarterback and when he retired, he was the oldest player in NFL history until George Blanda broke his record.

Did You Know?

John Nesser had a lot of athletic prowess and won a medal as all-around champion athlete of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

5. Tom Brady (August 3, 1977 – Present) 

Oldest Age While Playingcurrently 45 years old as of August 2022
Last Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (current) 
Position: Quarterback 
Years Active: 2000 – present (22 years+) 

photo source: Flickr via All-Pro Reels

As any football fan knows, Tom Brady is one of the biggest names in the history of the sport. Brady has been in the NFL for over 22 seasons and shows zero signs of slowing down. 

For his first 20 years, Brady played for the New England Patriots. He quickly became the face of the franchise and helped the team dominate from 2001 to 2019. During his time with the Patriots, Brady led the team to 17 division titles, 13 AFC Championship Games, nine Super Bowl appearances, and six Super Bowl titles. 

In 2020, as rumors of his retirement swirled, Brady shocked everyone when he decided not to re-new his contract with the Patriots. Instead, Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that had struggled for a few decades. 

Brady immediately turned the Buccaneers’ prospects around and helped the team win Super Bowl LV in 2021. 

Following the 2021 season, Brady announced his retirement. However, just 40 days after his announcement, he said that he would return to the Buccaneers for the 2022 season. 

In addition to being one of the oldest football players ever, Brady is currently the oldest active NFL player

Did You Know?

Tom Brady holds nearly every major quarterback record, including passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, games started, Pro Bowl selections, career quarterback wins, quarterback regular season wins, quarterback playoff wins, and Super Bowl MVP awards. 

4. John Carney (April 20, 1964 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 46 years old in 2010
Last Team: New Orleans Saints
Position: Placekicker
Years Active: 1987 – 2010 (22 years)

John Carney was a placekicker in the NFL who retired in 2010 at the age of 46. In 1987, Carney started his professional football career after he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals.

When he retired, Carney was the third leading scorer in the NFL with a career total of 2,044 points and before his retirement, he was the last remaining player from the 1980s still active in the League.

Throughout his career, Carney played for several different teams including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Giants.

Did You Know?

John Carney holds several NFL records, including most games with 4 or more fields goals in a career (29) and most games with 6 or more field goals in a season (1993) (2).

To see pictures of John Carney, click here

3. Morten Andersen (August 19, 1960 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 47 years old in 2007
Last Team: Atlanta Falcons
Position: Placekicker
Years Active: 1982 – 2004; 2006 – 2007 (23 years)

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Morten Andersen, aka “The Great Dane” is Danish former professional NFL kicker and one of the oldest people to play in the League. He holds the record for most games played at 382 and is also the all-time leading scorer in NFL history.

Andersen was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2017 induction class) and is the second exclusive placekicker in the Hall of Fame.

In 1977, Andersen first visited the U.S. as a Youth For Understanding exchange student and his knack for kicking a football was discovered after playing one season of high school football, which earned him a scholarship to Michigan State University.

Did You Know?

While Morten Andersen holds many impressive NFL records, he also has set many age-related records, including oldest player to score 14 points in a game (47 years, 133 days (for Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks, December 30, 2007)) and oldest player to kick 5 field goals in a game (46 years, 43 days).

2. Adam Vinatieri (December 28, 1972 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 47 years old in 2019 
Last Team: Indianapolis Colts 
Position: Placekicker
Years Active:1996 – 2019 (23 years)

Adam Vinatieriphoto source: Flickr via Jeffrey Beall

Adam Vinatieri was the oldest active NFL player until his contract with the Indianapolis Colts was not renewed after he was placed on the injured reserve near the end of the the 2019 season.

For  a time following his injury, Vinatieri had hoped to return to the NFL as a free agent. However, he was never picked up by a team. On May 26, 2021, Vinatieri officially announced his retirement from the NFL. 

During his 23-year long career, Vinatieri has accomplished a number of remarkable feats, including being a four-time Super Bowl champion and holding the record for most consecutive field goals ever made (44).

In 2018, Vinatieri added another record to his long list of accomplishments, when he kicked his 566th field goal – his record ended up at 599. Vinatieri retired as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer. 

Did You Know?

Adam Vinatieri holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances and wins by a kicker – he won three with the New England Patriots and once with the Indianapolis Colts.

1. George Blanda (September 17, 1927 – September 27, 2010)

Oldest Age While Playing: 48 years old in 1975
Last Team: Oakland Raiders
Position: Quarterback, Placekicker
Years Active: 1949 – 1975 (26 years)

George Blandaphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

George Blanda was a quarterback and placekicker who played in both the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL).

He played in the NFL for 26 seasons, which makes him the sport’s record holder and at the time of his retirement, he had scored more points than anyone in NFL history; additionally Blanda holds the record for most extra points kicked.

Blanda is the oldest NFL player ever in history, retiring at the age of 48.

Blanda started his NFL career in 1949 and was signed with the Chicago Bear, who he played for until 1958. After a very brief “retirement”, Blanda returned to football to play for the Houston Oilers from 1960 – 1966. A year later, Blanda joined the Oakland Raiders and stayed with the team until he retired in 1975.

Did You Know?

George Blanda hold the NFL record for most seasons scoring a point (26), which means that he scored during every season he played.


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