Tom Brady has been the NFL’s resident geriatric for such a long time it seems difficult to remember he was ever young.
Brady’s longevity, however, has long since ceased to be a curiosity—it is now record-breaking. He’s the oldest non-kicker to play in an NFL game in the league’s modern era.
Following the legendary signal-caller’s retirement announcement after 23 unforgettable seasons with the Patriots and Buccaneers, it’s worth taking stock of just how rare his perseverance is in a sport that has driven some of its most talented players from the game in less than a decade.
Here’s where Brady ranks among the oldest players in the history of the NFL at the end of the 2022 season.
10. Steve DeBerg, quarterback, 1998 Falcons (44 years, 342 days)
A journeyman who saw action for six teams over a two-decade span, DeBerg made an eight-game, one-start comeback for a Falcons team that would eventually win the NFC title.
9. Ben Agajanian, kicker, 1964 Chargers (45 years, 72 days)
Agajanian has the odd distinction of having played in each of pro football’s three major leagues: the All-America Football Conference (for the Los Angeles Dons), the NFL and the AFL, where he ended his career.
8. Tom Brady, quarterback, 2022 Buccaneers (45 years, 166 days)
Still an exceptional player on the threshold of what would be his age-46 season, Brady threw 25 touchdown passes and led his team to a division title before bowing out against the Cowboys in the wild-card round.
7. Gary Anderson, kicker, 2004 Titans (45 years, 170 days)
The South Africa native, picked for the Hall of Fame’s All-1980s and All-1990s team, kicked well into the 21st century and was among the league’s 10 most accurate kickers at 44.
6. John Nesser, guard-tackle, 1921 Columbus Panhandles (45 years, 223 days)
Nesser is part of a renowned early 20th-century football family, of which Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne once remarked, “Getting hit by a Nesser is like falling off a moving train.”
5. Bobby Marshall, end, 1925 Duluth Kelleys (45 years, 234 days)
Born in 1880, Marshall was the first Black football player in the Big Ten and is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
4. John Carney, kicker, 2010 Saints (46 years, 173 days)
3. Adam Vinatieri, kicker, 2019 Colts (46 years, 338 days)
He tapered off at the end, making just 17 of his 25 field goals in his final season, but Brady’s former New England teammate’s reputation as one of the greatest kickers in history was sealed long before his exit.
2. Morten Andersen, kicker, 2007 Falcons (47 years, 133 days)
Widely regarded as one of the greatest kickers of all time, Andersen made seven Pro Bowls with the Saints and Falcons and is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1. George Blanda, kicker, 1975 Raiders (48 years, 109 days)
One of the best-known ageless wonders in sports history, Blanda retired after his age-31 season with the Bears in 1958 … and then came back to play 16 more years, garnering All-Pro acclaim from The Sporting News as late as 1973.