The title of the NFL's oldest player almost always belongs to a kicker, but this year, the honor is going to belong to Tom Brady. That's right everyone, for the first time ever, the 43-year-old quarterback is officially the oldest active player in the NFL. Tom Brady has finally outlasted everyone.
Last year, Brady was the NFL's third-oldest player, but he's now at the top of the list because the two players from last season who were older than him -- Matt Bryant, Adam Vinatieri -- are both free agents. Basically, this means that Brady better enjoy his time as the NFL's oldest player, because he could lose the title in an instant if any team decides to sign Bryant or Vinatieri this year.
Thanks to kickers like Bryant and Vinatieri, the NFL used to be filled with guys who were able to play into their 40s, but this year, that's simply not the case. Going into Week 1, there are only three players in the league who are at least 40 years old. Besides Brady, there's also Drew Brees (turned 41 in January) and Josh McCown, who was signed to the Eagles practice squad just last week. At 41 years old, McCown is the oldest practice squad player in NFL history. (Former Vikings defensive back Terence Newman could also join the list of players over 40. Newman has told the team that he's open to returning this year if they need help in the secondary, and if that happens, then Newman, who turned 42 on Sept. 4, will become the second oldest player in the NFL).
As for Brady, he's been around so long that he's going to break one of Brett Favre's most impressive records as soon as he steps on the field for his Week 1 game against the Saints. The game in New Orleans will mark the 327th game of Brady's career, which will set the record for most games ever played by a quarterback, including the playoffs. Brady has played in 285 regular season games and 41 playoff games for a total of 326 so far. As for Favre, he hit 326 by playing in 302 regular season games and 24 postseason games.
The reason this is an impressive record is because it's not easy for a quarterback to play in that many games. For one, you have to stay healthy, and even if you do that, that doesn't guarantee you'll break the record, because you also have to be good enough to keep your job for the better part of 20 years.
Of course, Brady still has a long way to go if he wants to break the all-time record for most games played, which is held by Vinatieri. Since his first year in 1997, the ageless kicker has played in a total of 397 games, including the playoffs, and he could add to that total if he signs with a team this year.
As for Favre's record, Brady's game against the Saints won't just break that, it will also mark the first time since 2014 that a team quarterbacked by Brady has been an underdog, which is an insane streak. Brady could have been the favorite in Sunday's game if he was playing for New Orleans, which is worth mentioning, because apparently, that's something that almost happened this offseason. The Saints reached out to the former Patriots quarterback and were ready to add him if Drew Brees had decided to retire.