Even though Joe Flacco has yet to throw a regular-season pass as a 30-year-old quarterback, he can envision himself doing so as a 40-year-old one.
"I don’t feel any worse because of my age yet," Flacco said after a recent organized team activity. "I’m not going to be 50 [years old] and playing. I hope I’m 40, but 50, no."
Flacco, who turned 30 in January, is relatively young even by football standards. There are 14 starting quarterbacks this season who are older than Flacco, including six who are 35 or older: Peyton Manning (39), Tom Brady (37), Drew Brees (36), Carson Palmer (35), Josh McCown (35) and Tony Romo (35).
Last year, Brady and Brees both said their plan is to play into their 40s, and it wouldn't be ground-breaking if they did so. Brett Favre played in the NFC Championship Game at the age of 40, and Vinny Testaverde threw more than 700 passes after turning 40.
Success and durability determines a quarterback's longevity, and Flacco has a good shot at lasting for another decade because he has excelled in both those areas.
Flacco has won 72 regular-season games before turning 30, which ranks fifth in the NFL. He has led the Ravens to 10 postseason victories before the age of 30, which trails only Brady (12).
He also has become one of the most reliable quarterbacks in league history, starting all 112 regular-season games since entering the NFL in 2008. If he starts the first five games of the 2015 season, Flacco will move past Ron Jaworski to No. 5 on the all-time consecutive starts streak for NFL quarterbacks.
"I’m comfortable with what I do in the offseason and who I work with when I’m not around here," Flacco said. "And it wasn’t like that probably the first two years. But ever since then, I’m pretty comfortable and I feel good about it. It’s kind of been pretty similar, and I rely on my trainer, and when I come back here I rely on these guys. I think it’s working out really well.”
The next question is whether Flacco will finish out his NFL career with the Ravens if he plans to play this long. The Ravens and Flacco are expected to rework his contract after this season because his salary-cap number soars to $28.55 million. If the sides agree to another six-year contract, Flacco would be signed through 2021, when he'll be 36.
By that time, it'll be much clearer whether Flacco can play -- and still wants to play -- in his 40s.