Running Backs have a notoriously short lifespan in the National Football League. The average one stays in the league less than a full season. The good ones play three to five seasons. The great ones may get seven or eight productive years. But, the punishment they take is just too much for most running backs to sustain a high level of play beyond that. There are some excellent ones though that have continued to be productive for more than a decade in the league.
This brings up a question, who is the oldest running back to score a rushing touchdown in National Football League history?
The oldest player to score a rushing touchdown in NFL history is former Bears, Patriots, Bills, and Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie. While playing with the Chargers in 2005, at the age of 42, Flutie ran in a one yard score in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs and bettered his own mark as the oldest player ever to do so.
In his final year in the league in 1997, Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen scored a fourth quarter touchdown for the Chiefs in a 25-13 win over the New Orleans Saints. He was 37 years old at the time, roughly three months shy of his 38th birthday. Allen had an amazing career and had enjoyed both productivity and durability. This score, along with every other touchdown he’d gotten that season, made him the oldest running back to ever rush for a touchdown in NFL history.
That record did not stand though. In 2006, at the age of 38, in a 31-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints running back Fred McAfee ran in a touchdown from six yards out giving him the record for oldest running back to score a rushing touchdown.
McAfee had been drafted by the Saints in 1991, but had bounced around the league to the Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before coming back to the team he started his career with in the year 2000. He was an inspirational leader on the team during his second stint in New Orleans and even went to the Pro Bowl as a special teams player in 2002. Amazingly, when he scored that touchdown as a 38 year old in 2006, it had been more than ten years since his last touchdown scored in the league.
There have been some great players in the league, but to accomplish something like this you either need to have amazing durability or to have less wear and tear on you due to not being an every down player. One of those descriptions fits Marcus Allen and the other fits Fred McAfee.