Tom Brady, Philip Rivers join list of aging NFL superstars to leave their longtime team for another franchise


The Tom Brady era is officially over for the New England Patriots as the quarterback announced Tuesday that he was going to do the previously unthinkable and continue his NFL career with another team. In a period where the world of sports has screeched to an absolute standstill, all eyes will be focused on where the six-time Super Bowl champ ends up. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the chapter of Philip Rivers’s career with the Los Angeles Chargers officially came to a close, as the eight-time Pro Bowler agreed to a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts

As players who will be 43 and 38 years old at the start of the 2020 season–whenever that might be–the two quarterbacks aren’t likely to turn their new respective franchises into the top-tier squads on their own. Still, each guy has enough left in the tank to provide a level of competence at quarterback that only some teams are privileged enough to even have–though that might apply to Brady a bit more than it does to Rivers.

Of course, they’re also not the first aging NFL star to make a late-career pivot to another franchise, and they certainly won’t be the last. Brady and Rivers will have these other famous players to compete against with regards to how well they succeeded with their new franchise.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Former team: Indianapolis Colts, 13 seasons
Stats (4 seasons): 17,112 yards, 140 touchdowns, 53 interceptions, 66.5% completion
Record: 45-12
Accolades: won Super Bowl 50, briefly NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, one of the worst performances in Super Bowl history, three-time Pro Bowl selection

Joe Montana, Kansas City Chiefs

Former team: San Francisco 49ers, 13 seasons
Stats (2 seasons): 5,427 yards, 29 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 60.7% completion
Record: 17-8
Accolades: Made AFC Championship in 1993 (Lost 30-13 to Buffalo), voted to Pro Bowl (2003)

Joe Namath, Los Angeles Rams

Former team: New York Jets, 12 seasons
Stats (1 season): 606 yards, 3 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 46.7% completion
Record: 2-2
Accolades: n/a

Emmitt Smith, Arizona Cardinals

Former team: Dallas Cowboys, 13 seasons
Stats (2 seasons): 1,193 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns, 3.3 yards per attempt
Record: 8-17
Accolades: Oldest player in NFL history to throw his first touchdown pass

Jerry Rice, Oakland Raiders/Seattle Seahawks

Former team: San Francisco 49ers, 16 seasons
Stats (4 seasons): 3,648 receiving yards, 268 receptions, 21 touchdowns
Record: 33-32
Accolades: 1,000-yard season at 40 years old, voted to Pro Bowl (2002), first player to catch a touchdown in four super bowls (Super Bowl XXXVII), became NFL’s career leader in total yardage (2002), set career NFL record for combined net yards (2004)

Brett Favre, New York Jets/Minnesota Vikings

Former team: Green Bay Packers, 16 seasons
Stats (3 seasons): 10,183 yards, 66 touchdowns, 48 interceptions, 65.4% completion
Record: 26-19
Accolades: Sets record for consecutive starts at one position (2009), first quarterback in NFL history to defeat every one of the league’s 32 franchises (2009), set record for four-touchdown games (2009), set playoff records for pass completions and passing yards (2009), eclipsed 500 career touchdowns and 70,000 career passing yards (2010)

Ed Reed, Houston Texans/New York Jets

Former team: Baltimore Ravens, 11 seasons
Stats (1 season): 38 combined tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 4 passes defended
Record: 3-11
Accolades: Helped keep Rex Ryan’s job, kinda (2013)

John Randle, Seattle Seahawks

Former team: Minnesota Vikings, 11 seasons
Stats (3 seasons): 53 solo tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
Record: 24-19
Accolades: Voted to Pro Bowl (2001), left the NFL tied with Richard Dent for fifth in number of career sacks (2003)

Larry Allen, San Francisco 49ers

Former team: Dallas Cowboys, 12 seasons
Stats (2 seasons): Started 27 games
Record: 10-17
Accolades: Two-time Pro Bowl selection, blocked for Frank Gore’s franchise record 1,695 rushing yards (2006), blocked for Gore’s single-game franchise record 212 rushing yards (2006), defended his ESPN’s “Strongest Man Award” title (2007)

Bruce Smith, Washington Redskins

Former team: Buffalo Bills, 15 seasons
Stats (4 seasons): 133 solo tackles, 36 tackles for loss, 29 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Record: 27-35
Accolades: Passed Reggie White’s all-time sacks record (2003), finished career with over 200 sacks

Junior Seau, Miami Dolphins/New England Patriots

Former team: San Diego Chargers, 13 seasons
Stats (7 seasons): 235 solo tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries
Record: 45-23
Accolades: Captain during Patriots’ undefeated regular season (2007)

Reggie White, Carolina Panthers

Former team: Philadelphia Eagles/Green Bay Packers, 14 seasons
Stats (1 season): 15 solo tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Record: 7-9
Accolades: n/a

Johnny Unitas, San Diego Chargers

Former team: Baltimore Colts, 17 seasons
Stats (1 season): 471 yards, 3 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 44.7% completion
Record: 1-3
Accolades: Last career win as a starter happened against the Bills. Unitas went 10-for-18 for 175 yards, threw two touchdown passes and no picks in a 34-7 win





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