NFL: Length of Player Careers, by position
PositionAverage career length,
in years
Kickers/punters4.87
Quarterbacks4.44
Offensive Linemen3.63
Defensive Linemen3.24
Linebackers2.97
Cornerbacks2.94
Tight Ends2.85
Wide receivers2.81
Running backs2.57
League average3.30
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: as of Aug 2022
  • Published: Aug 2022

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 27, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Kickers and Punters Have the Longest Careers

Kickers and punters enjoy the longest average career length at 4.87 years, indicating the relatively lower physical demands of their positions compared to others on the field.

Short Lifespan for Running Backs

Running backs have the shortest average career length at just 2.57 years, reflecting the high-impact nature of their role and the physical toll it takes.

Quarterbacks Outlast Other Skill Positions

Quarterbacks average a career length of 4.44 years, outperforming other skill positions like wide receivers and tight ends, highlighting the premium placed on their leadership and playmaking abilities.

Defensive Players Face Shorter Careers

Defensive linemen and linebackers have average career lengths of 3.24 and 2.97 years, respectively, underscoring the physical demands and injury risks associated with defensive play.

League Average Career Length

The league-wide average career length stands at 3.30 years, a figure that underscores the brief nature of professional football careers across all positions.

Comparative Durability of Offensive Linemen

Offensive linemen boast an average career length of 3.63 years, showcasing their durability despite the physicality of trench warfare in football.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which position enjoys the longest average career length in professional football?

Kickers and punters have the longest average career length at 4.87 years.

Which position has the shortest average career length in professional football?

Running backs have the shortest average career length, lasting just 2.57 years.

How does the average career length of quarterbacks compare to other skill positions?

Quarterbacks outperform other skill positions with an average career length of 4.44 years.

What is the average career length across all positions in professional football?

The calculated league-wide average career length is 3.30 years.

Terms and Definitions

National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league comprising 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

Player careers refer to the span of time that an individual spends playing professional sports. It involves their period of activity in the sport beginning from when they start to when they retire.

The length of player careers in the context of the NFL refers to the average duration for which NFL players continue to participate in professional football before retirement.

A draft is the system used by the NFL to recruit new players from the college league into the professional league. In an NFL draft, teams take turns selecting eligible players to add to their roster.

A rookie is a player who is in their first year of play in the league after being drafted. These players often have less experience and face a steep learning curve.

In the context of NFL, retirement refers to a player's decision to permanently stop participating in professional football. This could be due to age, performance decline, or health reasons.

In sports, an injury refers to a type of harm or damage that occurs to a player's body in the course of a game. Injuries can significantly affect a player's performance and may lead to early retirement.

An NFL contract is a legal agreement between a player and a team. It details the terms of the player's employment, including salary, duration of the contract, benefits, and other specifics.

Free agency in the NFL is a period in which players who are out of contract may negotiate and sign with any team. This often happens when a player's contract with their original team expires and he is not re-signed.

In the NFL, the position refers to the specific role a player has on the team during games. Different positions require different skill sets and have varying average career lengths, depending on the physical demands of the role.
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The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, split equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). Read more »
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