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Average playing career length in the National Football League by positions

Average playing career length in the National Football League
Average playing career length in the National Football League

We have heard it over and over again in life that the average career of an NFL player is around 3 years, but do you know which position has the highest career length, and which position has the lowest?

A study was performed by Christina Gough of Statista, and it was pretty interesting. It discovered the average career lasts around 3.3 years.

What I found most interesting was while the sport is super demanding and tough with all the injuries, kickers and punters have the longest life span with only Quarterbacks and Offensive Lineman coming in over the average.

Different positions have different average career lengths. For example, kickers and punters tend to have longer careers compared to running backs or linebackers due to the lower physical demands of their positions.

Another significant factor in determining the length of an NFL career is injuries. Players who suffer major injuries may see their careers cut short, while others may be able to extend their careers by staying relatively injury-free.

Some players choose to retire earlier than others for various reasons, including concerns about their long-term health, desire to pursue other interests or careers, or simply feeling they have achieved their goals in football. Look at Aaron Donald who stepped away this past week, he is still in his prime if you ask me.

At the end of the day, 3.3 years is not a long time. In the NFL, players become eligible for certain retirement benefits after playing for a minimum of three credited seasons. A credited season is defined as being on the active roster for at least three regular-season games. Once a player has accrued three credited seasons, they become eligible for the NFL’s pension plan, which provides retirement benefits based on the number of credited seasons and other factors such as age at retirement.

Additionally, players may also become eligible for other post-career benefits, such as the NFL Player Annuity Program and the 401(k) plan, after completing their third credited season.

Additionally, retirement benefits can vary depending on the specific player’s circumstances and the choices they make regarding their career and post-football plans.


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