Being a Kicker is a no-win situation at times. Outside of the Head Coach and Quarterback, no player is under more pressure and scrutiny than the Kicker. Today we will look at the greatest kicker ever to play in the NFL. If you get the time check out our Greatest DBs in NFL History!
The criteria are easy. Who had the best field goal percentage? No, being big in the clutch gets you in the Top Ten. Making a kick with the Super Bowl on the line will give you added points. How many years you played is also a big help.
The guys that play the longest are the most consistent, and consistency is the biggest of all the criteria for kickers. The big distinction is when a Kicker player, if it was before 1970 chances are they were a straight on Toe kicker which is hard to be extremely accurate kicking that way. So guys that were straight on kickers will make this list if they were the best at kicking that way.
George Blanda stands out as an unusual character on this list. Drafted by the Chicago Bears back in 1949, Blanda became known for both placekickering and quarterbacking roles throughout his NFL career from 1949 until 1975; upon retiring as the all-time leading scorer with 2,002 points (now seventh).
Blanda made 335 of 641 field goals at 52.3% accuracy during an era when kickers used their toes to score goals – no Soccer style-kickers existed during most of Blanda’s career. Most kickers still tied the ball! He also boasted 236 touchdown passes for 26,920 yards as an added feat of greatness.
The Raiders all-time leading scorer is not one of their Hall-of-Famers such as running back Marcus Allen, wide receiver Tim Brown or even kicker George Blanda. Instead, this honor goes to former Florida State University Kicker Sebastian Janikowski drafted by Oakland in the first round iof the 2000 draft.
Janikowski is only the third kicker ever chosen in the first round in NFL history, making his selection even more of a milestone. Long renowned for his robust physique and powerful kicking style, Janikowski boasts one of the highest strike rates among kickers today.
Janikowski earned an 80.4% field goal percentage during his 18 seasons in the NFL. In 2011, he tied Justin Tucker and Matt Prater’s record of longest field goal kick at 63 yards; since then it has been eclipsed. Additionally, Janikowski scored 1,913 points overall – placing 12th all-time.
Jason Hanson stands out in the NFL not just because of his great placekicking ability but because he holds numerous records with one team (21 seasons with Detroit Lions, 327 games). You have to admire Hanson for such incredible loyalty!
Hanson made 495 out of 601 field goals at an 82.4 percent clip while playing for a team known for being “lovable losers.” His longest field goal measured 56 yards. Hanson amassed 2,150 points during his time in the league – fourth-most ever. Additionally, Hanson was elected to three Pro Bowls and selected for inclusion on an All-Rookie Team in 1992.
Hanson on a better team with more playoff opportunities may be much higher on this list.
Drafted by the New York Giants in 1990, placekicker Matt Stover unquestionably earned his place on this all-time kickers list. Over his career he made 471 of 563 field goals at an 83.7 percent success rate; even though his longest field goal ever only covered 55 yards; nonetheless he ranks sixth all-time with 2,004 career points to his credit.
Stover gained his greatest notoriety as a member of the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2008. Led by Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis and still widely recognized today as perhaps one of the greatest defenses ever assembled on an NFL gridiron field, these 2000 Baltimore Ravens are often considered by many as being the greatest defense ever.
Matt Stover made sure his team had just enough points to win each game, leading all kickers with 135 points that season and ultimately helping lead them to Super Bowl XXXV victory over this former team, led by quarterback Trent Dilfer. Which meant scoring was in the Kicker’s hands on that team.
Lou Groza was known by all as “The Toe.” He played for Cleveland Browns from 1946-1967 with brief retirements for injury between 1959-1961.
Groza was an impressive 54.9% field goal kicker despite using only the front part of his foot to kick thye ball, earning himself the Sporting News Most Valuable Player award in 1954 and four NFL Championship titles (in 1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964). Additionally he was named nine times Pro Bowler, four time All Pro and was part of the 50th Anniversary Team in 2013.
Sure the number arent like modern-kickers but 50 per cent was considered a solid season before the 1960s, and the award for the best kicker in College Football is named after Lou Groza. Check to see if Groza made our Top 10 Cleveland Browns of all time list!
Gary Anderson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1982 and began a 23-year NFL career that earned him four Pro Bowl selections, totaling 2,434 points during that time – third-most ever recorded in history.
Gary Anderson may be best remembered for being perfect on field goals in 1998 as the Vikings went 15-1 and looked poised to capture their first-ever championship. Ironically, however, most will remember him for one that missed in the NFC Championship game he missed a 38-yard field goal which allowed Atlanta Falcons kicker Morten Anderson to eventually win in overtime. All of Minnesota has yet to forgive Anderson for that disastrous miss. But, he had a tremendous career.
Stephen Gostkowski won three Super Bowl Championships (XLIX, LI, LIII) with Tom Brady’s New England Patriots playing from 2006 to 2019 as the placekicker. His overall field goal percentage success rate of 86.34% made him one of only 11 all-time to nhave a percentage that high. He had to follow Adam Vinatieri, which was not easy..
Gostkowski will always be remembered for his spectacular statistics; however, what truly set him apart was his play in the playoffs. He earned four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro honors over his five-year NFL career; also setting records such as consecutive extra point attempts (523) made and leading most seasons leading the league in points scored (5).
Morten Andersen holds the NFL record for most regular season games played with 382. His field goal percentage stands at.797% with 565 of 709 made. As a member of the New Orleans Saints (1982-1994), Andersen made headlines when he kicked a 60-yard field goal which at that time tied for second longest all time. He later went on to become a seven-time Pro Bowler.
Andersen went on to join the Atlanta Falcons, becoming the first kicker ever to kick three field goals of 50 yards or greater in a game – and eventually kick them to their first Super Bowl berth (overtime of 1998 NFC Championship game against Minnesota Vikings – sorry Gary). Additionally, Andersen is second all-time points list in NFL with 2,544.
For placekickers, there are two records considered holy grails of their profession – highest field goal percentage and longest field goal. It makes sense, because this showcases both accuracy and power in one individual – both records belong to Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker!
Tucker stands as the all-time leader for field goal percentage with 90.54% and holds the longest field goal record with 66 yards. After joining as an undrafted free agent in 2012 with the Ravens and quickly becoming their kicker (he helped them win Super Bowl XLVII with a 38 yard field goal in the final five minutes of that game), Tucker would undoubtedly rank #1 overall on this list if it wasn’t for Vinatieri’s playoff and Super Bowl kicks. I think Tucker may hold this number one spot by the time he retires.
Adam Vinatieri holds one of the most admired NFL records today – scoring 2,673 points! No other player can even come close. Additionally, Vinatieri held numerous other records such as most consecutive field goals made (44), points scored during playoff games (238) most seasons with 100+ point scoring (21), overtime field goals made (11) and most field goal attempts (715).
His Field Goal to win the playoff game in 2001 in the snow in New England was one of, iy not the greatest field goals ever kicked. He was as clutch as any kicker whoever lived. He kicked multiple game winning field goals in the Super Bowl. He is easily number one in my book. Check out our lost of Greatest Special Teams Players of all time.
Elam was a prolific kicker and had an enormous leg kicking a 63 yeard field goal the third longest in history. Elam was a three-time Pro Bowler and two time Super Bowl Champion. Made 81 Per cent of his Field Goals and 99.4 per cent of his extra points.
Prater helped by playing seven NFL seasons for Denver. In 2013, he even bested Elam’s record with an amazing 64-yard field goal as part of the Broncos while connecting on an incredible 96.2% of his field goal attempts.
One of the first great NFL Kickers and the first kicker elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. Four Time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion. His list of outstanding achievements is long. With 1,699 points, he ranked behind only the legendary George Blanda in all-time scoring at the time of his retirement.
Breech kicked in two Super Bowls for the Bengals and in Super Bowl 23 he may have been the MVP. He kicked a 43 yard field goal with just over three minutes left to give the Bengals the lead. Breech is the Bengals all-time leading scorer and was at his best in the clutch.
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