Aaron Rodgers takes over as NFL's oldest player: QB's age marks a rarity the league has not seen in 30 years

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When Aaron Rodgers took the field against the Bills on Monday night, he officially became the oldest player in the NFL for 2023. That’s right, the 39-year-old Rodgers is older than EVERY other player in the league. 

The title of the NFL’s oldest player usually belongs to a kicker (or Tom Brady), but this year, Rodgers got the honor. If you want to feel old, just consider this: The four-time MVP is the ONLY player in the NFL this year who was born in 1983. 

Although Rodgers only got to play four snaps before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, he’ll still exit the year as the NFL’s oldest player. 

The fact that Rodgers holds the title of oldest player is actually somewhat of a surprise, because it means that there isn’t a single player in the NFL this year who is over the age of 40. That marks the first time since 1993 that there hasn’t been at least one player 40 or older on a roster to start the season. 

Although the NFL is certainly a young man’s game, there has always been a small crop of players who played into their 40s over the past three decades, including Brady, Adam Vinatieri and John Carney. Brady played his final snap at age 45, but that didn’t top Vinatieri, who played in his final game on Dec. 1, 2019, just 27 days before his 47th birthday. As for Carney, he also topped Brady in the age department as he played in two games in 2010 at the age of 46. 

Thanks to Carney, Vinatieri and Brady, there’s been at least one 40-year-old in the league since 2004, but if you take those three out, there’s still been at least one 40-year-old in every season since 1994. 

The 29-year streak started with Jackie Slater, who turned 40 in 1994. After Slater retired following the 1995 season, Warren Moon kept the streak alive, playing in his 40s from 1996 thru 2000. At that point, Gary Anderson took over, carrying the streak until 2004 (There were other players in their 40s during this window, but these guys did the heavy lifting to keep the streak alive). 

The title of oldest player usually belongs to a kicker, but obviously, that won’t be happening this year. As a matter of fact, the NFL’s second-oldest player this year isn’t even a kicker. Arizona’s Matt Prater, who turned 39 in August, is the oldest kicker, but he’s only third on the list of oldest players for 2023. 

Here’s a look at the five oldest NFL players heading into the 2023 season: 

  • 1. Jets QB Aaron Rodgers, 39 (Dec. 2, 1983)
  • 2. Bears TE Marcedes Lewis, 39 (May 19, 1984)
  • 3. Cardinals K Matt Prater, 39 (August 10, 1984)
  • 4. Titans K Nick Folk, 38 (Nov. 5, 1984)
  • 5. Jets OL Duane Brown, 38 (Aug. 30, 1985)

With Rodgers done for the year, that means Lewis will be the oldest active player in the league heading into Week 2, as you can see above. 

It should also be noted that the NFL’s streak of having at least one 40-year-old player could actually continue this season. Veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters has expressed some interest in playing this year and even has a workout scheduled this week with the Seahawks. if the 41-year-old signs with a team, he’ll instantly become the oldest player in the NFL. 

Former 49ers kicker Robbie Gould is also hoping to play this year and the 40-year-old would also keep the NFL’s streak alive if he ends up playing this season. 

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