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Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (right). (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)
July 6th, 2021
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady continues to defy the odds, by playing at a championship level well past the age most NFL players retire.
While the average NFL player only lasts about 3 1/2 years, the 43-year-old Brady is entering his 22nd season in the league and is set to become one of the 10 oldest players in NFL history.
Let's run down the cagey veterans he'll join when the 2021 NFL season kicks of.
Position: QuarterbackAge in final game: 44 yearsTeams: New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New England PatriotsYears active: 1987-2007
The former first overall pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Testaverde became the prototypical pocket passer. He learned to protect himself, because during his early years in the league, he endured an average of 2.7 sacks per game started during his six-year tenure in Tampa Bay.
Testaverde became a journeyman, and at age 37, he led the league in pass attempts with the New York Jets. He led the Carolina Panthers to a win at age 44.
Happy Birthday to #Jets legend Vinny Testaverde. Vinny had the most dominant season for any QB in Franchise history in 1998Here’s Vinny slinging a TD to @keyshawn to give the Jets the lead in the Divisional Round that year ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BAX2oqT6K7— NYJ MIKE (@NyjMike) November 13, 2020
Happy Birthday to #Jets legend Vinny Testaverde. Vinny had the most dominant season for any QB in Franchise history in 1998Here’s Vinny slinging a TD to @keyshawn to give the Jets the lead in the Divisional Round that year ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BAX2oqT6K7
Position: QuarterbackAge in final game: 44 yearsTeams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Miami DolphinsYears active: 1978-1998
DeBerg was mostly a backup during a career that spanned 20 years, after he got the opportunity to start 35 of 39 games in his first three years.
In 1998, he was the backup on the Atlanta Falcons when starting quarterback Chris Chandler was injured and unable to start the following week. DeBerg didn’t finish the game, but stayed on the roster through the end of the Falcons' Super Bowl season.
Position: EndAge in final game: 45 yearsTeams: Rock Island Independents, Duluth KelleysYears active: 1920, 1925
Well before the modern NFL as we now know it, the first African-American man to play professional football was Bobby Marshall, for the Rock Island Independents.
Years later, he played with the Duluth Kelleys at age 45.
Position: KickerAge during final game: 45 yearsTeams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ersYears active: 1982-2004
The South African kicker who played 23 years in the NFL grew up playing soccer and rugby and didn’t touch a football until he was 18.
Once he arrived in the U.S., his childhood sports clearly benefited him, as he went on to become the first NFL kicker to have a perfect regular season while with the Vikings in 1998.
At the time of his retirement, Anderson was the leading scorer in NFL history.
GARY ANDERSON-2021 HoF nominee-Steelers all-time leading scorer-Most accurate kicker in NFL history during career-Surpassed Blanda for most career pts in NFL history (now 3rd)-NFL All-Decade Team 1980’s & 1990’s-Greatest FG in Steelers history ⬇️pic.twitter.com/WGoFlksDGn— Steel City Star (@steelcitystar) September 16, 2020
GARY ANDERSON-2021 HoF nominee-Steelers all-time leading scorer-Most accurate kicker in NFL history during career-Surpassed Blanda for most career pts in NFL history (now 3rd)-NFL All-Decade Team 1980’s & 1990’s-Greatest FG in Steelers history ⬇️pic.twitter.com/WGoFlksDGn
Position: KickerAge in final game: 45 yearsTeams: New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Texans, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh SteelersYears active: 1945-1964
Known as "The Toeless Wonder," Agajanian had four amputated toes and still managed to play across three decades as a kicker in the NFL.
After his long playing career, Agajanian had an even bigger impact as the kicking coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first kicker to take three steps back and two steps to the side, and the first to have the laces held outward. His focus on technique changed the way the game is played.
Position: Offensive lineAge in final game: 46 yearsTeams: Columbus PanhandlesYears active: 1921
A member of the Nesser family, which had six family members play football, John played until the age of 46 for the Columbus Panhandles.
Position: KickerAge in final game: 46 yearsTeams: San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Los Angeles RamsYears active: 1988-2010
Carney is one of only a few NFL players who played in four different decades.
At the age of 46 in 2010, Carney booted three field goals in a 16-14 Saints victory. Carney holds the record for most four-field goal games (29).
Position: KickerAge in final game: 46Teams: New England Patriots, Indianapolis ColtsYears active: 1996-active
The NFL’s all-time leader in points scored, postseason points scored, and field goals made, Vinatieri has made some of the most memorable kicks in the league’s history.
Along with his longevity records, Vinatieri also has four Super Bowl wins and the record for most consecutive field goals made (44).
Nineteen years ago today, Adam Vinatieri hit two of the biggest field goals in #NFL history. pic.twitter.com/WqrAmT0lvs— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin17) January 19, 2021
Nineteen years ago today, Adam Vinatieri hit two of the biggest field goals in #NFL history. pic.twitter.com/WqrAmT0lvs
Position: KickerAge in final game: 47Teams: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota VikingsYears active: 1982-2007
Just a few years after Gary Anderson retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer, Morten Anderson surpassed the record and played until the age of 47.
Nicknamed "Mr. Automatic," Anderson was reliable all the way through the end of his career, including a five-field goal performance at 46.
Position: Quarterback, kickerAge in final game: 48Teams: Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers, Baltimore ColtsYears active: 1949-1975
The oldest player in NFL history, Blanda managed to see the field for 26 seasons as a quarterback and scored at least one point in each campaign.
Blanda was utilized both as a placekicker and a quarterback, and it is hard to imagine a position player ever coming close to breaking Blanda’s record.
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