what is the average length of an nfl career

what is the average length of an nfl career

What is the Average Length of an NFL Career?

The average length of an NFL career is surprisingly short, coming in at a mere three and a half years. This is surprisingly short for an individual athlete considering that most sports careers last for a much longer period of time. While three and a half years may not seem like much, the quality and longevity of an NFL career can vary drastically depending on the individual.

Factors Affecting Average NFL Career Length

There are several factors that can affect the length of an NFL career. These include:

  • Age: Older players tend to have shorter careers than younger players, as their bodies are not able to withstand the physical demands of the sport as well as the younger players.
  • Injury: Injuries are unfortunately a common part of football and they can drastically shorten a athlete’s career. An injury may cause an athlete to miss an extended period of time, or worse, force them to retire entirely.
  • Performance: Poor performance on the field can be a major factor in the length of an NFL career. Players who don’t perform up to a certain level may struggle to stay in the league for an extended period of time.

Average Career Lengths by Position

Career lengths also tend to vary drastically by position. Some positions have much longer averages than others due to the physical requirements of a given role. The average career lengths for some of the most popular positions are as follows:

  • Quarterback: 4.44 years
  • Running Back: 2.57 years
  • Wide Receiver: 2.81 years
  • Tight End: 3.30 years
  • Offensive Tackle: 4.44 years
  • Defensive End: 4.42 years
  • Linebacker: 4.21 years
  • Defensive Back: 3.31 years


In conclusion, the average NFL career length tends to be around three and a half years. However, this is an average, and there are several factors that can affect the length of an individual’s career, such as age, injury and performance. Additionally, certain positions tend to have shorter or longer careers, with quarterbacks typically having the longest average career length.

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