Oldest NFL Player Ever – Who Are the Oldest Players in History

oldest nfl players

14 minutes

Last Updated: May 25, 2024


Whether you like it or not, the NFL is the most popular sport in North America. In fact, NFL teams and matches are followed by non-Americans.

It is not a secret that there are loyal NFL fans residing in China, Mexico, and Brazil.

According to the latest reports on the popularity of the NFL outside of the USA, the spot has a sizable fan base of over 23 million in Mexico, over 19 million in Brazil, and around 7 million people in Canada.

The NFL is also very popular in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea, and Australia. In the United States, the most prominent American football league has an audience of over 17 million people on average.

There are several reasons behind the tremendous popularity of the NFL. For many, playing in the NFL is a dream come true.

The sport is associated with loyal companionship and, of course, loads of testosterone, considering most NFL players are big and bulky guys.

The NFL has thirty-two teams every season, and every fan of the sport has at least one favorite.

Even though the format of the NFL games does not change, the spot has managed to capture the interest of millions of American fans every single season.

The sport is also native to the USA, which is another reason Americans love it so much. In fact, the NLF is so deeply engrained in the American culture that it is hard to imagine the US sports industry without our favorite NFL teams and players.

According to most sources, the peak age for a player in the NFL is twenty-seven, and this is also the average age of 80% of the most successful NFL players in their prime time.

As the stakes and thresholds increase, the average peak age for NFL players may decrease. All in all, NFL players over the age of thirty are not very common, but there are some exceptions.

If you are wondering who is the oldest NFL player ever, you are in the right place. In the following sections, we take a look at the oldest person to play in the NFL and nine other players.

10. George Blanda (48 Years)

George Blanda is the oldest NFL player ever. Amazing George played his final game in 1975 at the age of forty-eight.

When we take into account that the peak age for an NFL player is twenty-seven years, George playing at the age of forty-eight is truly impressive.

The oldest football player was born in 1927 in Youngwood, the state of Pennsylvania. The oldest NFL player in history spent twenty-six seasons playing in the NFL.

Probably needless to say, George Blanda spent the longest time playing in the NFL, more than any other player in the history of the sport.

Also, the oldest NFL player of all time scored more points than any other player. It is just hard to imagine a professional athlete remaining active and performing well over the course of two decades, but this is exactly what George Blanda did.

He joined his first time Chicago Bears in 1949. At the time of his retirement in 1975, he was playing for the Oakland Raiders.

Before his tremendously successful NFL career kicked off, George Blanda played college football as a kicker and quarterback for the Kentucky Wildcats football team.

Just in two seasons playing for the team, George Blanda had twelve touchdowns and accumulated over 1,400 yards. Blanda joined the Chicago Bears in 1945, and the team paid US$600 to bring him.

During his time playing for Chicago Bears, George Blanda usually played in the position of a placekicker and quarterback. Sometimes, he also played in the position of a linebacker.

After leaving Chicago Bears, the oldest football player in the history of the NFL joined Baltimore Colts for one season.

Between 1950 and 1958, he played for Chicago Bears before joining Houston Oilers in 1960. He went on to play for Houston Oilers for six seasons before signing for Oakland Raiders in 1967.

While George Blanda may not be considered the greatest NFL player of all time, he remains remembered as the oldest person to play in the NFL.

At the time of his retirement, he was almost fifty years old. Over the years, his amazing talent and dedication were crowned with the NFL Man of the Year award in 1974 and the Bert Bell Award in 1970.

He was also named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 1970. In 1981, he was elected to the Football Hall of Fame.

The oldest NFL player of all time also holds several NFL records, including the record for most played seasons (26), most attempted and made PATs (959 and 943), most high attempts in a single match (68), most total points in a career (3,418).

The oldest NFL player in history is also one of only two players to compete in the NFL in four different decades, and this makes him a legend of the sport. George Blanda passed away in 2010 at the age of eighty-three.

9. Morten Anderson (47 Years)

Morten Anderson spent twenty-three seasons in the NFL. He was actively playing between 1982 and 2004. He retired for two years before returning in 2006.

At the time, Morten Anderson was the oldest football player, alongside Adam Vinatieri, who also appears on this list. Morten Anderson was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August of 1960.

During his early high school years, he played soccer and was an avid gymnast. He came to the United States in 1977 as an exchange student.

He was introduced to America’s number one sport while visiting Ben Davis High School.

It was not long before his tremendous talent was recognized by scouts. Just after one season playing for the high school’s football team, he was offered a full football scholarship by Michigan State University.

His tremendous success playing college football secured him a position on the New Orleans Saints team in 1982.

However, during his first season playing for the team, he injured his ankle and was not able to compete for eight weeks.

Fortunately, he was able to pick up where he had left off. He remained to play for the team until 1994. In 1995, he signed with Atlanta Falcons.

In 2001, he joined New York Giants for one season. He also played two seasons for Kansas City Chiefs and one season for Minnesota Vikings. In 2006, he returned to Atlanta Falcons, and this is where his professional career ended.

Morten Anderson competed in the NFL for twenty-five seasons. He holds the record for most matches played (382), as well as the record for most consecutive matches scoring (360).

He received two Golden Two Awards, one in 1986 and the second one in 1995. He was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

He also received the New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor back in 2015. Today, the sixty-one-year-old Morten hosts an NFL show. He also has a podcast called “The Great Dane Nation Podcast”.

8. Adam Vinatieri (47 Years)

Adam Vinatieri is not only the oldest person to play in the NFL between 1996 and 2019, but he also holds a record for most field goals made.

Adam Vinatieri was born in December of 1972 in Yankton, the state of South Dakota. During his high school years, he was very active in soccer, track and field, basketball, wrestling, and of course, American football.

Although he struggled with minor learning disabilities, Adam Vinatieri graduated high school with honors.

After graduating from high school in 1991, he enrolled at the USMA (United States Military Academy). However, he decided to leave only three weeks later.

After leaving the USMA, Adam Vinatieri enrolled at South Dakota State University and joined the college football team, where he played in the position of punter and placekicker.

In the summer of 1996, he started training with Amsterdam Admirals to boost his odds of being drafted into the NFL.

Adam Vinatieri joined New England Patriots that same year as a free agent. Of course, his goal was to become one of the team’s starters but to do so; he had to outperform Matt Bahr.

At the time, Marr Bahr was the team’s favorite, judging by his close friendship with coach Bill Parcells. However, it was ultimately decided to keep Adam on the team.

Adam Vinatieri spent ten years of his career with this team. With New England Patriots, he won three Super Bowl titles.

In 2006, he signed for Indianapolis Colts, where he will remain until his retirement in 2019. He was the oldest person to play in the NFL during his last season with Indianapolis Colts.

Adam Vinatieri is the league’s all-time leader in most points scored (2,673), most consecutive goals (44), most career goals (599), and most goals attempted (715).

He also holds a record for most seasons with over a hundred points (21) and most goals in a postseason (14).

7. John Carney (46 Years)

John Carney was only two years younger than the oldest NFL player in history, George Blanda, at the time of his retirement. John Carney was born in April of 1964 in Hartford, the state of Connecticut.

He lettered in American football during his high school years at Cardinal Newman High School in Palm Beach. He graduated high school with honors.

After finishing high school, he enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, where he played football for two years.

He did not have much luck during the NFL Draft in 1987 when nobody signed him as a starter. However, that same year he joined Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent.

In 1987, he joined Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he played for two seasons. Then, in 1990, he was drafted by Los Angeles Rams, where he stayed only one season before joining San Diego Chargers.

He played twelve games for the teams throughout eleven seasons. In 1994, he got his first Pro Bowl selection.

Before the start of the 2001 season, he signed for New Orleans Saints, where he stayed until 2006. He played for Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs in 2007.

He also spent one season playing for New York Giants before signing again with New Orleans Saints in 2009. He announced his retirement in 2010.

He finished his career with 2,062 points in total and 478 goals. Just like the oldest NFL player ever, George Blanda, John Carney competed in the NFL through four different decades.

6. John Nesser (45 Years)

John Nesser retired from the NFL at the age of forty-five, which makes him the fourth oldest NFL player in history.

John Nesser was born in 1876 in Trier in the Rhine province of the German Empire. As suggested, he played in the earliest NFL seasons as well as the Ohio League.

John moved to the United States with his family when he was very young. Speaking of his family, John Nesser was the oldest child of seven siblings.

All seven Nesser brothers played American football and John Nesser weighing around 195 pounds (88 kg), was the smallest of them.

For most of his career in the Ohio League, he played in the position of a quarterback thanks to his impressive tackling and blocking abilities. Despite his smaller stature, he enjoyed huge success on the field.

John Nesser was the oldest football player in the NFL in 1921 when he retired from the sport. He held this record until 1925 when it was taken over by Booby Marshall, who played for Duluth Kelleys.

John Nesser spent his last season in the NFL playing for Columbus Panhandles. The team competed in the Ohio League between 1904 and 1920 and the National Football League between 1920 and 1926, when it ceased to exist.

5. Ben Agajanian (45 Years)

If you are wondering who is the oldest football player who competed in the 1940s and 1950s, that would be Ben Agajanian. Ben Agajanian was forty-five years old at the time of his retirement in 1964.

Nicknamed “The Toeless Wonder”, Ben Agajanian was born in August of 1919 in Santa Ana, the state of California. He played in the NFL between 1945 and 1964.

While Ben Agajanian is not the oldest NFL player of all time, this record is taken by George Blanda. He definitely remains one of the sport’s legends.

Despite the fact that Ben did not have four toes, he still managed to compete in one of the most competitive professional sports leagues in the world.

He attended San Pedro high school, where he played football. He also played football for the New Mexico Lobos college football team.

When it comes to his career in the NFL, he was drafted by Hollywood Bears in 1942. In 1943, he joined San Diego Bombers, while in 1944, he was a member of the Hollywood Rangers squad, which competed in the American Football League. In 1945,

Ben Agajanian played for Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburg Steelers. He also spent two seasons playing for the Los Angeles Dons before joining New York Giants in 1949.

Until his retirement in 1964, he also played for Dallas Texans, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and Green Bay Packers.

He won two NFL Championship titles, one in 1956 with New York Giants and the second one in 1961 with Green Bay Packers. Ben Agajanian passed away in 2018 at the age of ninety-eight.

4. Gary Anderson (45 Years)

Next, we have Gary Anderson, who, at the time of his retirement, was forty-five years old, which means he was only three years younger than the oldest NFL player of all time George Blanda.

Gary Anderson was born in July of 1959 in the Union of South Africa. His father was a professional soccer player. After graduating high school, he moved with his family to the United States.

When he was very young, he dreamt of becoming a professional soccer player, like his father. However, he went on to play rugby and American football during his college years.

He enrolled at Syracuse University and joined the college’s soccer team. He was on the squad for two years, but in 1979 he decided to fully focus on pursuing his career in American football.

Shortly after graduating, Gary Anderson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the position of a placekicker during the NFL Draft 1982.

However, he did not play a single game for the team as he was released even before the season kicked off.

Several days from leaving the team, he was signed by the Pittsburg Steelers, and this is the team where he spent thirteen seasons, from 1982 to 1994.

He also spent one season playing for the Philadelphia Eagles and one season playing for the San Francisco 49ers. In 1998 he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, where he played until 1998.

He spent one season with the Tennessee Titans before retiring in 2004. He finished his tremendously successful career with a total of 2,434 points.

3. Bobby Marshall (45 Years)

At the time of his retirement, Booby Marshall was forty-five years old, only three years younger than the oldest NFL player ever.

Booby Marshall was also the very first African-American to play football professionally. Even though Booby Marshall is best known for playing football, he was also an avid baseball and ice hockey player.

Booby Marshall was born in March of 1880 in Wisconsin. During his high school years, he played baseball.

He also played on the baseball and football team at the University of Minnesota. After graduating from college, he was drafted into the NFL by the Rock Island Independents in 1920.

This team ceased to exist six years later. Between 1921 and 1924, he played for the Minneapolis Marines. In 1925, he was drafted by the Duluth Kelleys, and at the time, he was forty-five years old.

Bobby Marshall passed away in 1958 at the age of seventy-eight after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Steve DeBerg (44 Years)

Steve DeBerg was only four years younger than the oldest NFL player of all time at the time of his retirement. Steve DeBerg was born in January of 1954 in Oakland, California.

He attended Savanna High School located in Anaheim, and he excelled not only in playing football in the position of a quarterback but also in many other sports activities, including pole vault.

He attended Fullerton College and has been active on the college football team. During his second season, the team won a South Coast Conference title and even set a 5 – 0 record.

After two years, he decided to transfer to San Jose State University. As for his professional career, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys back in 1977. However, he was cut off that same season.

He also spent three seasons playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

In 1981, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos, where he played until 1983. Between 1984 and 1987, he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while in 1988, he joined the Kansas City Chiefs squad.

He returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1992. At the time of his retirement, he played for the Atlanta Falcons.

After retiring, he went on to become a quarterback coach. He coached three teams, including the New York Giants, Indian Firebirds, and Tampa Bay Storm.

1. Vinny Testaverde (44 Years)

Last on the list of the oldest (but not the fastest NFL players) of all time we have Vinny Testaverde. At the time of his retirement in 2007, Vinny Testaverde was forty-four years old, four years younger than the oldest person to play in the NFL, George Blanda.

Vinny Testaverde was born in November of 1963 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Sewanhaka High School in 1981. He enrolled at Fork Union Military Academy that same year.

He was offered a scholarship from the University of Miami, which he accepted. During his college years, he played for the Miami Hurricanes squad.

In 1986, he received the Heisman Trophy for his impressive performance during the 1986 season.

In 1987, he was drafted into the NFL by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he remained on the team until 1992.

Between 1993 and 1995, he played for the Cleveland Browns, while in 1996, he was signed by the Baltimore Ravens.

As a child, he was a huge fan of the New York Jets, and he always dreamed of joining the team. His dream came true in 1998.

He remained on the team until 2003. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2004. Before retiring, he was also signed by the New England Patriots in 2005 and by the Carolina Panthers in 2007.

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