Josh McCown, one of the NFL’s oldest quarterbacks last season, retired. McCown was able to last in the league for quite a long time as a dependable backup. To determine what it takes for a QB to last in the league, it helps to look at the league’s oldest to see what traits they have in common. Some are no-doubt Pro Bowl and Hall of Fame caliber players. Others, like McCown, take on the role of understudy.
Let’s take a look at the 10 oldest quarterbacks in the NFL in 2019:
10. Aaron Rodgers – 35 years old
It felt like just yesterday that Rodgers was a young question mark taking the job over from the legendary Brett Favre. Now, 10 years, a Super Bowl championship, and a career of near-perfect passes later? He’s looked at as one of (if not the single) best QBs of all time.
9. Ryan Fitzpatrick – 36 years old
Known for his Harvard diploma and a massive beard, Fitzpatrick isn’t one of the league’s top talents, but he’s got staying power. He’s lasted in the league due to his ability to throw the ball downfield successfully on a consistent basis. He’s had pitstops in New York, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Tampa.
8. Derek Anderson – 36 years old
Anderson is the journeyman’s journeyman, bouncing around from backup job to backup job. He briefly held the starting job in Cleveland as one of the QBs on their never-ending carousel of signal callers, but he’s better known for being Cam Newton’s backup in Carolina before heading to Buffalo. Like McCown before him, he’s a reliable arm who’s managed to stick around in the league for a long time.
7. Philip Rivers – 37 years old
Another holdover from the 2004 NFL Draft class, Rivers is still going strong in year 37. Last season he threw 32 touchdowns and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
6. Matt Cassel – 37 years old
Cassel had a fairly pedestrian career as a starter, except for his stellar 2008 season where he became an answer to a trivia question: who is the only Patriots QB other than Tom Brady to start the majority of a season in the Brady and Belichick era? He’s now settled into a role as Matt Stafford’s backup in Detroit.
5. Ben Roethlisberger – 37 years old
Controversies with his teammates aside, there’s no question who the man is in Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger’s play hasn’t slowed down even as he approaches his late 30’s and the Steelers seem likely to let him start for another two or three seasons at least.
4. Matt Schaub – 38 years old
The former Houston Texans starter is back in Atlanta as a backup, where he started his career behind Michael Vick. He had a penchant for interceptions near the end of his Houston run, but he’s extended his career by playing behind Matt Ryan.
3. Eli Manning – 38 years old
Eli may not have long – the Giants seem smitten with sixth overall pick Daniel Jones – but since taking over midway through his rookie season, he’s only missed one game.
2. Drew Brees – 40 years old
Brees’ career was D.O.A. due to a bum shoulder after he left San Diego in the mid-2000s. He was able to revive his career in New Orleans, win a Super Bowl, and move from being a middle-of-the-road QB with injury baggage to being a holder of multiple passing records.
1. Tom Brady – 41 years old
Brady said last year that he wanted to play until he was 45. Looking at his results the past few seasons – winning two of the last three Super Bowls while appearing in all of them – and it’s hard to argue that he won’t be able to do just that. Brady is not only the oldest quarterback in the NFL, but he’s also the best too.