Football

The 10 Oldest NFL Players

By Ryan Finklestein - December 07, 2018

When Tom Brady won the MVP award last year at 40 years old, he proved that age is a just a number. At least that is the mantra for these 10 NFL players, who are still playing the dangerous contact sport despite their advanced age.

 

10. Eli Manning

At 37 years old, Eli Manning’s best days are long behind him, but the 15-year signal caller remains under center for the New York Giants. While Manning is the oldest player on his team, he is the youngest player on this list of old guys still playing in the NFL.

9. Julius Peppers

The NFL players that typically play well into their 30’s and into their 40’s are usually either quarterbacks or kickers. Julius Peppers is the exception to that rule, as the 38-year old defensive end is still getting after quarterbacks every Sunday. Peppers has been remarkably reliable throughout his career, missing just four games in his 17 years played in the NFL.

8. Josh McCown

Josh McCown is the epitome of the term journeyman, having played for 10 teams in his NFL career. McCown can probably hang around the league for five more years now that he has settled into the backup quarterback/mentor role on the Jets for their young franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. McCown has been a solid quarterback when on the field throughout his career with 97 career touchdowns to 80 interceptions. At 39 years old McCown can still go out an win a game on a given Sunday.

7. Drew Brees

Drew Brees has aged like a fine wine and is in the midst of the best season in his 18-year career. Brees set the record for most career passing yards this season and has completed over 75% of his passes in his age-39 season. Brees has thrown 29 touchdowns to just two interceptions through 11 games played this season and is the favorite to win the MVP.

6. John Denney

Along with kickers and punters, long snappers are special team players that can play in the NFL for a very long time. John Denney is the Miami Dolphins long snapper, which is a position he has held since 2005. Denney is a two-time Pro Bowler and is second in Dolphins history for games played, only behind Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Denney turns 40 years old on December 13th.

5. Sebastian Janikowski

The “Polish Cannon” has been blasting long field goals in the NFL since he was a first round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2000. Sebastian Janikowski played 268 games with the Oakland Raiders, more then any player in franchise history and is now the placekicker for the Seattle Seahawks. If Janikowski returns next season for his age-41 season, he will have spent 20 years in the NFL.

4. Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the Benjamin Button of the NFL, having made three Super Bowls since turning 37 years old back in 2014. Brady continues to be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL and has been documented saying he wants to play well into his 40’s. At 41 years old, Brady is well on his way to leading the Patriots to yet another AFC East division crown.  

3. Matt Bryant

Early in his career Matt Bryant bounced around the NFL and did not seem to have staying power in the league. Bryant spent seasons out of the NFL for teams like the Berlin Thunder, the Frankfurt Galaxy and the Florida Tuskers in between stints in the NFL. Then in 2009, Bryant found a home with the Atlanta Falcons where he has now spent a decade being their kicker. In Bryant’s first eight games of the 2018 season, the 43-year old has yet to miss a field goal.

2. Phil Dawson

Phil Dawson holds the Cleveland Browns franchise record for most field goals made as he spent the first 14 years of his career there. Dawson left Cleveland in 2013 to play for the San Francisco 49ers, where he spent four seasons. Since 2017 Dawson has played for the Arizona Cardinals, but his tenure with the team might have just come to an end as the 43-year-old kicker was just placed on injury reserve.

1. Adam Vinatieri

Simply put, Adam Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all-time. Vinatieri has more Super Bowl appearances (5) and Super Bowl wins (4) then any kicker in NFL history. He also holds NFL records for most points scored, most postseason points scored, most field goals made and most overtime field goals made. Vinatieri is 45 years old now and could easily kick into his 50’s if he wants to keep playing.