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Who is the oldest NFL player of all time?

Lane Dias November 12, 2020
George Blanda, Oakland Raiders, during NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns. October 6, 1974.
Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images

Sunday night marked a fierce contest between two of the National Football League’s veteran quarterbacks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, raising the question of who is the oldest NFL player of all time?

The oldest NFL players still active

The duo are currently among the NFL‘s oldest active players with the former 43 years old and Brees aged 41.

Surpassing the age of 40 in such a competitive and physical sport is no mean feat. Yet both players have previously mentioned that they have no intention of hanging up their helmets just yet.

In fact, Brady is insistent on playing for a further few years. Free agent Adam Vinatieri was 47 years of age when he left the Indianapolis Colts last season.

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However, who is the oldest player to have ever played in the NFL?

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Who is the oldest NFL player of all time?

That accolade belongs to the late quarterback and kicker George Blanda, who retired from the sport just short of his 49th birthday.

Blanda’s career spanned 26 years, having been drafted into the league in 1949.

He represented four franchises including the Chicago Bears, where he had two spells. He also played for the Baltimore Colts (now Indianapolis Colts), the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) and the Oakland Raiders (now the Las Vegas Raiders).

Blanda sadly passed at the age of 83 in September 27 2010, ten days after his birthday.

Old but gold

Following the aforementioned Blanda and Vinatieri, the trend of kickers continues with Danish-born Morten Andersen.

Dubbed the ‘Great Dane’, Andersen is third on the all-time list, retiring at the age of 47 years. The former kicker currently holds the record for the most number of games to be played with 382.

Former Saints kicker John Carney, played 302 games and was 46 years old when he called time on his career.

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Future for Brady and Brees

With careers spanning 39 years between them, including seven Super Bowl championship titles and a host of conference divisional successes, the duo have often attracted speculation, regarding retirement.

Former New England Patriot Brady is 15th in the all-time list and has played 294 games, with Brees 19th on 283 games.

With the sheer competition and professionalism shown by both athletes, neither will want to call time on their careers just yet, especially with years ahead to break further records.

However, with the intensity of the modern game we aren’t go to see either Brady or Brees catch up with George Blanda and become the oldest NFL player of all time.

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BA (Hons) First Class degree in Sports Journalism at the University of East London. Sports fan, avid traveller, foodie and lover of films and tv.