Oldest NFL Players to Play the Game: Fan’s Perspective

In recent years, we have bounced back and forth while QB Brett Favre decided if he was really ready to retire or not. This year, after the Chicago Bears lost QB Jay Cutler to injury, it was even being rumored that he would be willing to come back.

While many fans have said he is too old to keep playing the game, in all honesty Favre is just a spring chicken when compared to other NFL players that have played the game. If we just look at the past 20 years, there have been 35 NFL players to play in the game over the age of 40. With Favre retiring when he was 41, he was far from being the oldest NFL player.

In the last 20 years, the oldest player to still be in the game was the 2007 Atlanta Falcons K Morten Andersen at the age of 47. Next in line would be 2004 Tennessee Titans K Gary Anderson and 2010 New Orleans Saints K John Carney at the age of 45. Looking at this, obviously the kicker position seems to have a bit more longevity when it comes to the NFL.

Now, at the age of 44, the majority of the players were QBs. At the age of 44, we find 1998 Atlanta Falcons QB Steve DeBerg, 2000 Kansas City Chiefs QB Warren Moon, 2007 Carolina Panthers QB Vinny Testaverde and 2000 Washington Redskins kicker Eddie Murray.

Those guys that managed to stay in the game until the age of 43 include 2005 Washington Redskins G Ray Brown 2009 New York Giants P Jeff Feagles, 2005 New England Patriots QB Doug Flutie and 2005 Philadelphia Eagles P Sean Landeta.

At the age of 42, 2002 Washington Redskins CB Darrell Green, 2004 Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks WR Jerry Rice and 2010 Houston Texans P Matt Turk were still playing.

Now, we all know Brett Favre finished his career (at least for now) at the age of 41 with the 2012 Minnesota Vikings. Players also still in the game at the age of 41 included 2005 St. Louis Rams P Bryan Barker, 2002 Philadelphia Eagles, 2002 New York Giants TE Trey Junkin, 1995 St. Louis Rams T Jackie Slater and 2009 Indianapolis Colts K Matt Stover.

Now, the list of players that ended their career at the age of 40 is actually larger than I would have thought. It includes 2005 Minnesota Vikings P Darren Bennett, 1995 Oakland Raiders QB Vince Evans, 1990 Indianapolis Colts QB Joe Ferguson, 1999 St. Louis Rams P Mike Horan, 2008 Dallas Cowboys QB Brad Johnson, 2010 Carolina Panthers K John Kasay, 1998 Tennessee Oilers QB Dave Krieg, 1991 New York Jets K Pat Leahy, 1996 New York Jets K Nick Lowery, 2001 Tennesse Titans OL Bruce Matthews, 1996 Atlanta Falcons LB Clay Matthews (the father of the famous Clay Matthews currently with the Green Bay Packers), 2009 New England Patriots LB Junior Seau, 2003 Washington Redskins DE Bruce Smith and 1999 Oakland Raiders QB Wade Wilson.

So, given this list, with Favre being 42 right now, we still have around five years to wonder if he is going to come out of retirement again.

Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and avid football fan. She is a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for the NFL and Olympics. She has followed the Denver Broncos since she was a child and can usually be found yelling at the television during football season. Follow her on Twitter at @fwcdeborah.

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Updated Saturday, Dec 31, 2011