On Sunday against the Giants, Washington running back Adrian Peterson raced around the right end of the line and ran down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown. It was the 33-year-old Peterson’s longest touchdown run since 2015, and it was the longest run a player his age has had in a very, very long time.
According to the NFL, the last time a player older than Peterson ran for a touchdown 60 yards or longer was in 1921. The player was Jim Thorpe, who was 34 years old when he ran for an 80-yard touchdown for the Cleveland Indians against the Columbus Panhandles.
Thorpe, born in 1887, won the gold medal in the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Olympics, is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, played six seasons of Major League Baseball and played some professional basketball before the NBA existed, and is generally recognized as one of the greatest athletes in human history. Peterson is in some pretty good company there.
Two other 33-year-olds have run for a touchdown longer than 60 yards: Former quarterback Steve Bono, who ran for a 76-yard touchdown in 1995, and former Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, who ran for a 70-yard touchdown in 1979. Bono and Bleier were both a couple months younger at the time of their long touchdown runs than Peterson is now.
Pederson has 127 carries for 587 yards and four touchdowns, and another nine catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, through seven games this season. He’s far exceeding what anyone could have expected at the age of 33. And doing things that haven’t been done since the days of leather helmets.