Matt Bryant’s birthday is tomorrow, and he will be 42 years old. I don’t have to tell you how remarkable it is that that Bryant is still as good as he is at that age, but let’s take a moment to consider how historically remarkable it is.
Here’s a list of all the players 40 and older who have ever played in the NFL. The oldest ever was George Blanda, who was 48, followed by 47 year old Morten Andersen, who was pretty remarkable in his own right. If we’re talking players 42 and over, the list is only 25 names long, and 12 of those (13 including Bryant) have been kickers. He’s in rare company, in other words, and it’s fair to argue he’s performing at a higher level than anybody else on the list.
Bryant hit 91.9% of his field goals a year ago, and while there are no guarantees he’ll continue to kick at that level, he’s broken age and injury barriers that have felled lesser kickers. It’s not unreasonable to think he can do this another 2-3 years, and even with slightly diminishing returns, he’d still be one of the more reliable kickers in the NFL.
Just by breaking the 40 year barrier, Bryant has already beaten the odds. I wouldn’t bet against him to continue to do so, and I think the Falcons will try to keep him around as long as it’s financially feasible and he can keep the good times rolling.