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Who is the oldest quarterback to ever play in the NFL?

While Tom Brady ranks as the oldest active NFL player in the ‘22 season, he’s not the oldest QB in NFL history yet; George Blanda wins the title at 48.

Oct 27, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) comes on to the field for warms ups before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Ray SeebeckUSA TODAY Sports

After refusing to retire, Tom Brady is officially the oldest active player in the NFL. At 45 years old, the six-time Super Bowl winner is the only NFL player currently in his 40s, as well as the oldest MVP in the NFL.

But does Brady win the title of the oldest NFL quarterback in the league’s history?

Who is the oldest NFL quarterback?

Brady will still need another three years to be the oldest quarterback in NFL history. The former Chicago Bears quarterback, George Blanda, is graded the oldest player and quarterback to ever play in the league, retiring at age 48 in 1976.

Blanda, who played 10 years with the Chicago Bears followed by seven seasons with the Houston Oilers and nine years with the Oakland Raiders, was the first player to celebrate a Silver Anniversary in pro football as he finished his career with an all-time high of 26 seasons.

He was named Player of the Year for quarterbacking, and the “Player Who Best Exemplifies the Pride and Spirit of the Oakland Raiders” in 1970.

John Nesser comes in second place, as the second-oldest quarterback in the NFL, retiring at 45 years old. (Although now that Brady un-retired and is still playing in the NFL, they are technically tied for second.)

Interestingly enough, Nesser started playing football before the NFL even existed, in 1909, and went on to play for the Columbus Panhandlers, who were considered the first NFL team ever.

Tom Brady, oldest active NFL player

The Brady saga continues. At 44 years old, he retired. Two months later, he made a controversial choice to un-retire before the start of the 2022 season, leading to a divorce from his wife, Gisele Bundchen just after his 45th birthday, and followed by a season of disappointment.

Related: Gisele’s ultimatum to Tom: Leave football or I’m gone

There were several years when people asked, “will this finally be the year we see Brady’s age showing?”, and until now, that answer has always been met with a “ha, you wish!”. But as the Buccaneers fell to 3-5 after losing their third straight game, it looks like it might finally be that Brady’s age is showing. This was the first time in 20 years that Brady has lost three games in a row. Playing into ones 40s is possible, but at what cost?

In the 2020 season, Brady’s old Patriots teammate, Adam Vinatieri and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, were the two other NFL players in their 40s. However, they both retired entering the 2021 season, leaving Brady solo in the 40s club.


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