Contrary to popular belief, the oldest NFL player was… well, pretty old. That’s kind of shocking considering how often football careers are cut short due to injury, as we’re talking about the ultimate contact team sport.
It’s not a secret that football players suffer gruesome and even life-threatening injuries, sometimes even without contact. That’s just the nature of the sport, and what makes the oldest NFL players of all-time even more impressive.
Oldest NFL player
Throughout history, a handful of players have managed to stand the test of time. Unsurprisingly, most of them are special team players. Even so, legends like Tom Brady — who’s the oldest NFL player right now, have shown us that football players can also age like a fine wine.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the top 5 oldest active NFL players, as well as the 5 oldest NFL players of all-time.
Oldest active NFL players
- Ben Roethlisberger (QB) – 39 Years
- Jason Peters (OT) – 39 Years
- Andrew Whitworth (OT) – 39 Years
- Don Muhlbach (LS) – 39 Years
- Tom Brady (QB) – 44 Years
Oldest NFL players of all-time
5. John Nesser (OL) – 46 Years
John Nesser is the only player on this list who’s not a Special Teams player, and that should tell you just enough about his toughness. He was one of seven football-playing brothers, spending his entire career with the Columbus Panhandles.
Perhaps the most impressive part about Nesser’s career is the fact that he was just 195 pounds. He also played some quarterback but spent most of the time at guard and tackle. Notably, he became a pro at 33 years old and only played for 12 years.
4. John Carney (K) – 46 Years
Despite being a bit of a journeyman, John Carney is one of the greatest kickers of all time. He’s one of the few players to be featured in 4 different decades (1980, 1990, 2000, 2010). Also, he had an 82.4% percentage on field goals and a 98.4% on PAT attempts.
Carney spent 23 years in the league, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Giants. He was a part of the Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV and scored 2,062 career points.
3. Morten Andersen (K) – 47 Years
Morten Andersen is a synonym for longevity. He’s just one of two placekickers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and the New Orleans Saints’ all-time leading scorer with 1,318 points. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings.
A six-time All-Pro, Morten holds the record for most games played in NFL history with 382. He made it to 7 Pro-Bowls and made the NFL 1980 and 1990 All-Decade teams and is a part of the New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor and the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
2. Adam Vinatieri (K) – 48 Years
The man, the legend. Adam Vinatieri holds the record for most points scored in NFL history, knocking down nearly 600 field goals in his incredible career. Playing for the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, he’s deemed as the greatest kicker of all time.
Vinatieri scored 2,673 points and made 365 regular-season games, 17 games shy of Morten Andersen’s record. Also, he’s the only player to score 1,000+ points with two different franchises. Sadly, an injury cut his promising career short at the ripe age of 48.
1. George Blanda (QB/K) – 48 Years
Tom Brady is the only player who could threaten George Blanda‘s incredible record. Not only did he play for 26 years in both the American Football League and National Football League but also, he was featured as a quarterback and placekicker.
Besides being the oldest NFL player of all-time, Blanda managed to score at least one point in 26 seasons, which is an NFL record. Also, he held the record for most points scored at the time of his retirement. He was a 3-time AFL Champion, AFL MVP, 2x AFL passing yards leader, and is tied for the record of most passing touchdowns in a game (7).