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Who has the longest NFL career in the history of the game? A ranked top 10 list
FormulaThe National Football League is one of the most dangerous sports, involving players tackling one another to prevent opponents from scoring. Due to its high injury rate, it is difficult not to wonder how long football players' careers last or who has the longest NFL career in the sport's history.
Some of the greatest quarterbacks in history are among those who have suited up for the most extended stints. With a minuscule average playing career of around three years, NFL players who show longevity often grab the public's attention and deserve a closer look. So, who has the longest NFL quarterback career?
Who holds the record for the longest NFL career?
Playing professional football is undoubtedly a solid career. Once players make it into the NFL and build a good reputation, they stick it out for as long as possible and maximise their professional opportunities.
After an in-depth analysis, Sports Brief has compiled a list detailing some of the longest NFL careers ever. Have a look at the list below to find out just who has been in the NFL the longest.
10. Brett Favre - Quarterback
- Full name: Brett Lorenzo Favre
- Date of birth: 10 October 1969
- Age: 54 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 302
- Teams: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings
- Years active: 1991-2010
Even though he barely makes it to the list, Brett Favre had an average NFL career. He is an American former football quarterback who played in the National Football League, NFL for 20 seasons, primarily with the Green Bay Packers. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings.
9. John Carney - Kicker
- Full name: John Michael Carney
- Date of birth: 20 April 1964
- Age: 59 years of age as of November 2023
- Game played: 302
- Teams: San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams
- Years active: 1998-2010
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A member of the Notre Dame all-time team, it shocked his fans when John Carney was not drafted back in 1987. However, the Connecticut national proved all the sceptics wrong, earning two Pro Bowl honours, winning Super Bowl XLIV as a member of the New Orleans Saints and finishing as the San Diego Chargers' all-time leading scorer.
8. Jerry Rice - Wide receiver
- Full name: Jerry Lee Rice
- Date of birth: 13 October 1962
- Age: 61 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 303
- Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks
- Years active: 1985-2014
Jerry Rice was nicknamed the World because of his superb catching ability, accomplishments, and numerous records. Following his incredible stats, Rice is regarded as the most excellent wide receiver of all time and one of the greatest players in NFL history.
His first three NFL seasons would have made him a notable player with a record of 200 receptions, 3,575 yards, and 40 touchdowns. However, the fact that the 13-time Pro Bowler starred over three decades at wide receiver is surreal.
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7. Phil Dawson - Kicker
- Full name: Philip Drury Dawson
- Date of birth: 23 January 1975
- Age: 48 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 305
- Teams: Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals
- Years active: 1999-2018
Included in lists of the oldest NFL players, Phil Dawson was still an incredible player into his mid-40s. He is still regarded as the Cleveland Browns' all-time leader in field goals, overtaking Hall of Famer Lou Groza in 2010. Additionally, he holds the 49ers' single-season record for points and field goals.
6. Jason Hanson - Kicker
- Full name: Jason Hanson
- Date of birth: 17 June 1970
- Age: 53 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 327
- Teams: Detroit Lions
- Years active: 1992-2012
Jason Hanson is the only player on this list to have spent his entire career stint in one team. As much as that says about Detroit's recent futility, it is equally impressive on the former kicker's part. He is one of the kickers with the longest NFL career.
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He connected on 82 per cent of his field goals during a brilliant 21-year career stint. Moreover, he holds the NFL records for most field goals of 189 yards, most career games with one NFL team, most consecutive field goals, and most game-winning field goals in overtime.
5. Tom Brady - Quarterback
- Full name: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr
- Date of birth: 3 August 1977
- Age: 46 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 335
- Teams: New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Years active: 2000-2023
The renowned NFL legend Tom Brady has had multiple careers since entering the league as a sixth-round pick of the Patriots during the 2000 draft. He has so far recorded seven Super Bowl titles.
The all-time NFL legendary quarterback has won completions, passing yards and touchdowns, over 700 career touchdowns, postseason included.
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4. Jeff Feagles - Punter
- Full name: Jeffrey Allan Feagles
- Date of birth: 7 March 1966
- Age: 57 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 352
- Teams: New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots
- Years active: 1988-2009
The longest NFL career for the punter season goes to the former undrafted free agent from Miami, Jeff Feagles. His career stint was one to be talked about as he is regarded among the best professional careers of that dynasty.
Feagles earned two Pro Bowls and holds the NFL record for most consecutive games played, most punts, most punts inside the 20, and most punting yards.
3. Gary Anderson - Kicker
- Full name: Gary Allan Anderson
- Date of birth: 16 July 1959
- Age: 64 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 353
- Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers
- Years active: 1982-2004
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Gary Allan Anderson is a South African-based former football player who played in the National Football League, NFL for 23 seasons. He is ultimately the first South African player to appear in an NFL regular season game.
He spent the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is also known for his Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, and San Francisco 49ers tenures.
2. Adam Vinatieri - Kicker
- Full name: Adam Matthew Vinatieri
- Date of birth: 28 December 1972
- Age: 50 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 365
- Teams: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts
- Years active: 1996-2019
At the second position sits Adam Vinatieri, widely known for hitting multiple game-winning field goals in the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots. Vinatieri will become one of the few regular kickers to earn a spot in Canton.
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The renowned NFL player finished his career as the sport's leader in games, playing both regularly and in the playoffs. Additionally, he is known for most career field goals, most field goal attempts, and most career points.
1. Morten Andersen - Kicker
- Full name: Morten Andersen
- Date of birth: 19 August 1960
- Age: 63 years of age as of November 2023
- Games played: 382
- Teams: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants
- Years active: 1982-2004, 2006-2007
The all-time NFL leader in games played, Morten Anderson, is known to have earned seven Pro Bowl appearances during his brilliant 26-year career stint. At 47 years of age with the Falcons, he made nearly 90% of his attempts and did it right for many years.
Notably, the one thing that makes Anderson essential around the NFL is that he held 17 league records the moment his career ended in 2007. That includes most 50-yard field goals in a game, most game-winning field goals, most games with points, and most consecutive games scoring a point. As of November 2023, Morten Anderson is one player who has played in the NFL the longest.
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Following the sport's susceptibility to injuries, finding who has the longest NFL career in history is not as difficult a task as it may seem. This is because just a few players extend their careers after the set average ages and periods of playing. Nevertheless, all these players continue to leave positive marks on people's hearts.
Sports Brief published an article with a detailed insight into Formula 1 transmission technology. Are F1 cars manual? This intriguing question often sparks curiosity among racing enthusiasts and those eager to delve into the intricate world of Formula 1 technology.
While they may not have a traditional manual transmission like your everyday road car, clutches in these high-speed racing machines are a fascinating blend of innovation and precision. Click on the link above and find more information about whether or not Formula 1 cars are manual.