Thursday, April 07, 2022

20 Players With the Longest NFL Careers


by Ryan Brennan

April 6, 2022


Football is one of the most physically-demanding sports in the world, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the players that have enjoyed the longest NFL careers of all-time. They defied father time and overcame the physical demands year after year, all while performing at a high level. 

Most players would sacrifice anything to have a good game, let alone a good season. Those with the longest NFL careers didn’t just have a good year, they had a good two decades and likely could’ve kept playing if they didn’t have other goals and responsibilities outside of football. 

Let’s be honest, staying dedicated to any one thing for 20 years is easier said than done. And the fact that some NFL players do it during their prime years – when they can literally be doing whatever they want – is even more incredible. It’s worth celebrating and that’s what we’ll do. 

Which Players Have the Longest NFL Careers?

Steve Jacobson / Shutterstuck


Many football fans might be wondering which players have the longest NFL careers of all-time. It’s not something that gets discussed often, but games played is a valuable statistic that shows how dependable a player is – after all, you wouldn’t last long in the NFL if you weren’t good. 

With that said, we’re going to take a look at the top-20 longest NFL careers in terms of regular season games played. Some of the names might surprise you, but others probably won’t. In fact, one is currently active and six others are inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

What’s even more interesting is that only three of the players among the top-20 longest NFL careers spent their entire career with one team and six others spent their careers with two teams. Continuity is rare in the NFL – not just among players, but coaches and front office.

8. Phil Dawson – 305 games

Phil Dawson is a retired kicker that spent 20 seasons in the league – 14 with the Browns, four with the 49ers, and two with the Cardinals. He went undrafted in 1998 out of the University of Texas, but wound up playing in 305 career regular season games and just five playoff games. 

During his career, Dawson made 441 of 526 field goals (83.8%) and 518 of 531 extra points (97.6%). His longest field goal was 57 yards out and he made 42 of 60 field goals from beyond 50 yards. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012, his final season with the Cleveland Browns.  

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