What Players Have Been The Best In The League, And On The Downside Of Their Career?

Most football fans believe that each of the offensive skills positions have one key stat associated with them. For quarterbacks, quarterback rating has become the measuring stick that all who play the position are held up to, for running backs it’s total rushing yards, and for receivers it’s receptions. As a player gets older and approaches the end of their playing career, it is normal to see some amount of diminishing skills. What players at each position though have excelled during what is supposed to be the downside of their careers? For the cutoffs, we’ll use the age 35 for quarterbacks and receivers, and 30 for running backs.

Players On The Downside Who Have Led The League…

…in Quarterback Rating:
1959 – Charlie Conerly, age 38 – New York Giants
1963 – Tobin Rote, age 35 – San Diego Chargers (AFL)
1963 – Y.A. Tittle, age 37 – New York Giants (NFL)
1970 – John Brodie, age 35 – San Francisco 49ers
1978 – Roger Staubach, age 36 – Dallas Cowboys
1979 – Roger Staubach, age 37 – Dallas Cowboys
1996 – Steve Young , age 35 – San Francisco 49ers
1997 – Steve Young, age 36 – San Francisco 49ers
1998 – Randall Cunningham, age 35 – Minnesota Vikings

…in Rushing Yards:
1950 – Marion Motley, age 30 – Cleveland Browns
2004 – Curtis Martin, age 31 – New York Jets

…in Receptions
No one has ever led the league in receptions after their 35th birthday. The oldest a player has ever been when they’ve led the NFL in receptions is 34, Jerry Rice accomplished this while playing for the San Francisco 49ers in 1996.

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