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Football Trivia (General)/Football Legends.


Dear Jim

Cricket and Football are Outdoor Games. In Cricket, normally a cricketer retires at the age of 40 years with few exceptions.

Cricket has three versions viz Test Cricket - 5 Day match, One Day International - 50 Overs match completed on the same day, T-20 match - 20 overs match completed on the same day.

Statistically are there football legends who have played football
over the age of 40 years ?.

If yes, can you give me the names of those football legends ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

George Blanda
George Blanda  
Dear Prashant,

Thank your for the interesting question.  I appreciate the questions in which I learn as much as the person asking the question.

American football players will play on average 6.1 years.  Depending on the the level of success they experience in the league, their career will last longer than average career.
Assuming that they enter the NFL following a college, their average age would be 22 years old.  Consequently, few NFL players cross the 40-year old threshold.

However, your inquiry refers to football "legends" who have played beyond the age of 40. There are very few players who are still playing at the age of 40. The physicality of the game compared to the conditioning of the younger athletes make the NFL a place where 40 year old are a rare sight.  

There is one position that is not physically demanding and that is a kicker.  They simply kick the ball to begin a series of downs, or kick the ball through the goalposts as a scoring mechanism of the game.  It is not unusual for a kicker to remain in the league beyond the age of 40. A punter is another position that would also enhance a player's opportunity for longevity.

I am a little surprised to report that only 59 NFL players have played beyond the age of 40.  The best answer I could find on the internet is that 23,000 people have played in the NFL since 1920.  That would mean that 1 out of every 500 players would play beyond the age of 40.  
[NOTE:  The NFL football players during the first decade rarely played more than three years past college.  The sport back then was considered barbaric and the pay rate was much better in a normal job.]

Of the 59 players ....

18 of the 59 players were Quarterbacks ... 17 of these 18 players were playing as a backup, mentor, or called into service because of an injury.  5 of these players are in the NFL Hall of Fame.  (I am using the membership in the Hall of Fame as the qualification if a player is considered "legendary".  There is one player of the 18 who performed at a very high level and will undoubtedly be voted into the NFL Hall of Fame.  That is Brett Favre.  Unfortunately, when we see that Brett is the only person to play at a high caliber out of the other 17 players, one has to think that performance enhancing drugs may have played a role in his extended career.

11 of the 59 players were kickers. No one from these 11 are in the NFL Hall of Fame.  However, of the 3 kickers who are (in total) in the Hall of Fame, 2 come from the list of 40+ players.  Both players were tasked with playing two positions.  The first is Lou Groza, a defensive tackle and kicker for the Cleveland Browns from 1946-1974.  As Groza grew older, he was exclusively a kicker.  The other is a LEGEND.  This is George Blanda, who retired at age 48.  While in his 40's, he was a backup quarterback and full time kicker.  However, Blanda was called into service as the QB in his final years with the Oakland Raiders, turning in remarkable performances.  At age 48, Blanda was the oldest person to have played in the NFL.

7 of the 59 players were punters.  No one has entered the NFL Hall of Fame whose only position was punter.

Of the remaining 23 players, 7 of these players are in the Hall of Fame.  A couple of them were "hanging on", but for the most part, they made a contribution to their team.

I hope this answers your question.  I will share the URL of the website where most of this information comes from:

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Jim Considine


The subject of my expertise pertains to "American Football", as opposed to "Futball" or the game we refer to as soccer in the USA. --------------------------------------------------------- I can answer statistical questions about professional football. I am especially strong on the subject of the BALTIMORE COLTS from 1947 through 1983, Washington Redskins, and the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. My services are best used when an older, obscure question is posed. The newer NFL records are easily accessible through I do not appraise memorabilia. I am not an expert on Canadian Football, though I will take a shot at any questions you might pose. I have a good understanding and recall of the folklore about Baltimore football. Some of this information may be subjective in nature. I will give the best answer possible if this is the case.


I am former NFL Statistician with the Washington Redskins. I grew up during the days of the Baltimore Colts in the 1960's. (Please refer to the movie "Diner" for more information about the Baltimore Colts fans)

Washington Redskins Statistician, 2005-2010 Baltimore Ravens, 1996-2003

The records were used by author Jon Morgan in his book, "Glory For Sale". The records have been part of the Baltimore Ravens Media Guides since their inaugural season in 1996. I was interviewed for the cover story of The Press Box, a local, monthly sports tabloid newspaper.

I researched and was able to piece together the statistical history of the AAFC Baltimore Colts 1947-49, and the 1950 NFL Colts. This information was used by The Baltimore Ravens for their 1996 Media Guide. The records were entitled "Baltimore Football Records". It was considered "unofficial" since the AAFC league records were not incorporated with the NFL records when the leagues merged. The reason that this information was created was due to the fact that the NFL had prohibited the 1996 Baltimore Ravens from bringing the records, colors, and team name from the Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore football records were presented in order to create a frame of reference. The Ravens have kept these records since 1996, adding and amending as the Ravens football team challenge these records.

Awards and Honors
I was awarded two game balls from the Ravens and was recognized for my work as the top game day employee.

Past/Present Clients
Baltimore Ravens, Wise Guides, Washington Redskins

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