At 43 years, one month, and 10 days, Tom Brady became the oldest player in NFL history to score a touchdown when he carried the ball into the end zone against the Saints in Week 1. For the past several years, it has seemed that he could play as long as he wants. But now that the "oldest" distinctions are kicking in on a weekly basis, it is important to remember that Brady would need to play through at least 2021 if he is going to make some headway into the below list. Here are the 10 oldest players in NFL history.
10. Vinny Testaverde
The Patriots cut the 43-year-old quarterback before the 2007 season, and no other team signed him. Then Panthers starter Jake Delhomme suffered an elbow injury and backup David Carr played with a sore back, so they signed Testaverde four weeks into the season. Testaverde traded starting duties with Carr but became the second-oldest quarterback to start a game at 44 years and 19 days as he led the Panthers to a 31-14 win over the 49ers on Dec. 2. He announced his impending retirement a few days before the season finale against the Buccaneers, the team that first drafted him. With a 31-23 win secure, Panthers head coach John Fox sent him out in for the final kneel-down.
9. Steve DeBerg
The journeyman quarterback played primarily as a backup for 21 seasons with six different teams. In 1998, he was second-string to Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler, who suffered a bruised left shoulder and ribs against the Saints in week seven and was unable to play the next game with the Jets. At 44 years, nine months, and six days, DeBerg became the oldest quarterback to start an NFL game. He did not play the full contest, completing nine of 20 passes for 117 yards and throwing a pick before being replaced by Tony Graziani in a 28-3 loss. He remained with the Falcons through their Super Bowl run that season and retired after it.
8. Ben Agajanian
Agajanian had four toes in his kicking foot crushed in a work accident in college but persevered to play for nine different professional football teams. In his last season, he kicked for the AFL's San Diego Chargers in 1964 and was 45 years, three months, and 29 days old when the team lost the league championship 20-7 to the Buffalo Bills.
7. John Nesser
Nesser played lineman for the Columbus Panhandles in the 1910s and was still on the squad when it helped form the NFL in 1919. He was 45 years, four months, and 17 days old when he played his final game with the team in 1921.
6. Gary Anderson
The first South African to play in an NFL regular-season game kicked for 23 seasons with five different teams. When he played his last game with the Titans in 2005 at 45 years, five months, and 17 days, Anderson held the career records for points scored and field goals made.
5. Bobby Marshall
One of the first Black players in the NFL played end for three different teams in the first six years of the league's existence. He finished his career playing for the Duluth Kelleys in 1925 at 45 years, seven months, and 20 days.
4. John Carney
The veteran placekicker signed with the Buccaneers in 1987 and is one of only two players in NFL history to play in four different decades. On Oct. 3, 2010, the 46-year-and-nine-day-old Carney booted three field goals as the Saints beat the Panthers, 16-14. The Saints released him two days later, and he did not sign with another team.
3. Adam Vinatieri
The NFL's all-time leader in points scored, postseason points scored, field goals made, and overtime field goals made would also become its oldest player if he plays in week one of the 2021 season. Given that he is currently unsigned, it is unclear if that will happen.
2. Morten Andersen
One of two primary placekickers to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Andersen had the most accurate season of his career in 2007, making 25-of-28 field goals. However, he was not signed by any team in 2008 and waited until December 8 to retire. Had he played on or after Dec. 6, 2008, he would have topped this list. Instead, he is second having played his last game at 47 years, four months, and 11 days.
1. George Blanda
The irony is that pro football's grand old man retired from the Bears after a 10-season career in 1958 because head coach George Halas only wanted to use him as kicker. He came out of retirement in 1960 to play both quarterback and placekicker for the AFL's Houston Oilers and won two league titles. After signing with the Oakland Raiders in 1967, Blanda had one his most memorable runs in 1970 at 43 when the Raiders started 2-3, but his clutch passing coming off the bench and kicking proved the difference in a 4-0-1 run that turned the season around. He came off the bench to relieve an injured Daryle Lamonica in the AFC Championship that season, becoming the oldest quarterback to play in a conference title game in a 27-17 loss to the Baltimore Colts. Blanda played his final game at 48 years, three months, and 18 days, kicking an extra point and a field goal in a 16-10 loss to the Steelers in the 1976 AFC Championship.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo courtesy of buccaneers.com)