Oldest NFL Quarterback

10 Oldest NFL Quarterbacks Ever (Updated 2021)

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While every position on a football team is important, the quarterback is inarguably the most vital member of any team. Being quarterback requires the most skill, intelligence, and the quarterback needs to posses various leadership qualities.

According to one analysis, the average age of an NFL quarterback is in their early to mid-30s. Ever single one of the quarterbacks on this list far surpasses this average, with all of them playing in their 40s. The oldest quarterback ever, George Blanda, was just shy of his 49th birthday when he retired!

At the time of this writing (March 2021), this list is as accurate as possible and with the exception of Tom Brady, all of the oldest quarterbacks are retired.

10. Brett Favre (October 10, 1969 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 41 years, 2 months, 10 days on December 20, 2010
Years Active:  1991 – 2010 (19 years)
Team(s):  Atlanta Falcons (1991); Green Bay Packers (1992 – 2007); New York Jets (2008); and Minnesota Vikings (2009 – 2010)

Brett Favrephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Brett Favre is one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, but also one its most controversial. Favre was temporarily banned from the NFL in 1996 for abusing alcohol and painkillers. Toward the end of his career, Favre was once again in the national spotlight for misconduct, this time for allegedly sexually harassing the New York Jets’ “Gameday host” Jenn Sterger.

Despite all of these controversies, on the field Favre was a phenomenal quarterback and still holds several NFL records. Favre’s NFL records include most career pass attempts, most career interceptions thrown, most consecutive starts by a player, most times sacked, and most fumbles.

Did You Know?

Brett Favre was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016 and the year before, the Green Bay Packers retired Favre’s number (4) and add him to the Packers’ Hall of Fame.


9. Drew Brees (January 15, 1979 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 42 years, 1 month 20 days (as of March 2021)
Years Active:  2001 – Present (20 years)
Team(s):  San Diego Chargers (2001 – 2005); New Orleans Saints (2006 – Present)

Drew Breesphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Drew Brees is currently the second oldest active NFL quarterback after Tom Brady. Brees recently turned 42, just a few days before his final game of the 2020 NFL season. On February 6, 2021, Brees renegotiated his contract with the New Orleans Saints for the upcoming season. Brees has been with the New Orleans Saints since 2006 and led the team to its first Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XLIV (2010).

Brees was first drafted into the NFL in 2001 by the San Diego Chargers and he played with the team until 2005. During Brees’ 20 years in the NFL, he has done very well as a quarterback, leading in several categories. As of the end of Week 10 of the 2020 NFL season, Brees holds the NFL records for career pass completions, career completion percentage, and career passing yards.

Did You Know?

During his college football career at Purdue University, Drew Brees set two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records.


8. Earl Morrall (May 17, 1934 – April 25, 2014)

Oldest Age While Playing: 42 years, 6 months, 25 days on December 11, 1976
Years Active:  1956 – 1976 (21 years)
Team(s):  San Francisco 49ers (1956); Pittsburgh Steelers (1957 – 1958); Detroit Lions (1958 – 1964); New York Giants (1965 – 1967); Baltimore Colts (1968 – 1971); and Miami Dolphins (1972 – 1976)

Earl Morrallphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Earl Morrall started as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers in 1956 and went on to play in the NFL for 20 years. During his career Morrall played as a starter as well as a backup quarterback. Morrall is known for being one of the greatest backup quarterbacks in NFL history.

Most notably, Morrall subbed in for Bob Griese during the 1972 Miami Dolphins season, which was the only perfect season ever in the NFL. The Dolphins also went to that season’s Super Bowl, which they won. Morrall played in three additional Super Bowls and won all but one.

Did You Know?

During Earl Morrall’s 21 seasons in the NFL, he was part of 255 games, completing 1,379 passes for 20,809 yards and 161 touchdowns.


7. Doug Flutie (October 23, 1962 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing:43 years, 2 months, 9 days on January 1, 2006
Years Active:  1986 – 1989; 1998 – 2005
Team(s):  Chicago Bears (1986 – 1987); New England Patriots (1987 – 1989), (2005); Buffalo Bills (1998 – 2000); and San Diego Chargers (2001 – 2004)

Doug Flutiephoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Craig Michaud

Doug Flutie‘s professional football career spanned over 22 years, but he was not always playing in the NFL. Flutie started out with the United States Football League before being picked up by the Chicago Bears in 1986. After staying in the NFL for a few short years, Flutie left to play for the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the next decade.

Flutie returned to the NFL in 1998 when the Buffalo Bills signed him during the offseason. Initially, Flutie was not the Bills’ starting quarterback, but he was put in after Rob Johnson was injured. Flutie made an explosive comeback and Bills had a great season. Flutie ended up staying in the NFL until 2005, when he was 43 years old.

Did You Know?

Doug Flutie had many accomplishments, including being the 1984 Heisman Trophy recipient and 1998 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.


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

Oldest Age While Playing: 43 years, 7 months, 1 days (as of March 2021) 
Years Active:  2000 – Present (21 years)
Team(s):  New England Patriots (2000 – 2019); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020 – Presen)

Tom Bradyphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Jack Newton

Currently, Tom Brady is not only the oldest active quarterback in the NFL, but also the oldest active player. Brady shows no signs of stopping any time soon, may end up moving higher up on this list someday. Although Brady is in his 40s, he is one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, and is considered by many to be the greatest player ever.

Brady has spent nearly his entire professional career with the New England Patriots and he led the team to six Super Bowl wins. On March 17, 2020, the day before Brady’s contract was set to expire with the Patriots, he announced that he would not re-sign with the team, ending the 20-year partnership. A few days later, Brady signed on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Proving that he truly is one of the best players in NFL history, Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to his seventh Super Bowl win and the team’s second.

Did You Know?

Tom Brady currently holds 54 NFL records, which include most games won by a quarterback (264), most combined passing yards (91,653), most combined touchdown passes (664), most Super Bowl wins as a player (7), and many more.


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

Oldest Age While Playing: 43 years, 11 months, 4 days on October 22, 2000
Years Active:  1984 – 2000 (16 years)
Team(s):  Houston Oilers (1984 – 1993); Minnesota Vikings (1994 – 1996); Seattle Seahawks (1997 – 1998); and Kansas City Chiefs (1999 – 2000)

Warren Moonphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Warren Moon had an exceptional career not only in the NFL, but in the Canadian Football League (CFL) as well. Before joining the Houston Oilers in 1984, Moon spent five seasons with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. During his time with the Eskimos, Moon led his team to win a record five consecutive Grey Cups.

Moon continued to be an impressive quarterback when he joined the NFL and within a few years, Moon led the league with 4,689 passing yards, attempts (584), completions (362), and touchdowns (33). In 2006, Moon was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, becoming the first African American quarterback as well as the first undrafted quarterback to do so.

Did You Know?

Throughout his career, Warren Moon had 9 Pro Bowl selections and was the 1990 NFL Offensive Player of the Year.


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

Oldest Age While Playing: 44 years, 1 month, 17 days on December 30, 2007
Years Active:  1987 – 2007 (21 years)
Team(s):  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987 – 1992); Cleveland Browns (1993 – 1995); Baltimore Ravens (1996 – 1997); New York Jets (1998 – 2003), (2005); Dallas Cowboys (2004); New England Patriots (2006); and Carolina Panthers (2007)

Vinny Testaverdephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Vinny Testaverde was a quarterback for 21 seasons and started his professional career in 1987. During his time with the NFL, Testaverde played for seven different teams, beginning with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ending with the Carolina Panthers.

Although Testaverde had such a long career, he was not necessarily a notable quarterback in terms of statistics or wins and losses. When Testaverde retired, he was 6th in career passing yardage, 7th in career touchdown passes, 6th in career completions.

Did You Know?

Vinny Testaverde’s 123 losses as a starting quarterback is an NFL record, and his career regular season winning percentage of 42.3% is the lowest of any quarterback with at least 70 wins.


3. Steve DeBerg (January 19, 1954 – Present)

Oldest Age While Playing: 44 years, 9 months, 6 days on October 25, 1998
Years Active:  1977 – 1993; 1998 (17 years)
Team(s):  San Francisco 49ers (1977 – 1980); Denver Broncos (1981 – 1983); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1984 – 1987), (1992 – 1993); Kansas City Chiefs (1988 – 1991); Miami Dolphins (1993); Atlanta Falcons (1998)

Steve DeBergphoto source:  Famous Fix

Steve DeBerg may not have been one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and he may not have ever won a Super Bowl, but he is known for being the oldest starting quarterback. After retiring in 1993, DeBerg came back for the 1998 season as a backup for the Atlanta Falcons. On October 25th, DeBerg played his only game that season and final game ever at the age of 44.

Technically, DeBerg was part of the Falcons team that went to Super Bowl XXXIII, but he did not play in the game. At the time, DeBerg was 45 years old, making him the oldest player on a Super Bowl roster.

Did You Know?

DeBerg had a brief career as a coach for the Arena Football League’s Indiana Firebirds and Tampa Bay Storm in 2004.


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

Oldest Age While Playing: 45 years old in 1921
Years Active:  1909 – 1921 (12 years)
Team(s):  Colombus Panhandles

John Nesserphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons – John is second from the left

John Nesser‘s time playing professional football predates the formation of the NFL, however he and his six brothers are often mentioned in NFL history. At the time, the Nesser Brothers were the most famous football family in America. Nesser played for the Columbus Panhandlers, which is cosidered one of the NFL’s first teams.

Due to the differences in football culture during the 1920s, Nesser isn’t widely recognized as a quarterback – he is listed as only a tackle guard –  despite records illustrating that Nesser lined up in the QB position up to his year of retirement in 1921.

Did You Know?

John Nesser was the oldest quarterback in NFL history until George Blanda broke his record in the 1970s.


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

Oldest Age While Playing: 48 years, 3 months, 18 days on January 4, 1976
Years Active:  1949 – 1975 (26 years)
Team(s):  Chicago Bears (1949), (1950 – 1958); Baltimore Colts (1950); Houston Oilers (1960 – 1966); Oakland Raiders (1967 – 1975)

George Blandaphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

George Blanda retired from playing professional football at the age of 48, which makes Blanda the oldest NFL quarterback ever. While Blanda was primarily a quarterback and placekicker, he was also used from time to time as a linebacker during the early years of his career.

In addition to being the oldest QB ever, Blanda also holds the record for being oldest professional football player in NFL history. Blanda’s career lasted for 26 seasons, which is another record. In 1959, Blanda briefly retired following an injury that made him less desirable as anything other than a kicker. However, when the American Football League was established in 1960, Blanda was given a second chance and he played for another 15 years.

Did You Know?

George Blanda was the first player in the NFL to ever score 2,000 points.


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