The NFL has seen some of the most talented and consistent kickers in the history of the game. From legendary names like Adam Vinatieri to the current record holder, Justin Tucker, these players have made a significant impact on their teams and the league as a whole. However, determining who is the best kicker in NFL history is no easy task. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the greatest kickers to ever play the game and evaluate what makes them stand out.
The Early Years of Kicking in the NFL
The role of the kicker in the NFL has evolved significantly over time. In the early years of the league, kickers were often backup players who were called upon to fill the role when needed. As a result, kickers did not receive much recognition or attention from fans or the media. However, there were still some great kickers in those early years, such as Lou Groza, who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1967. Groza was known for his accuracy and consistency, and he was a key contributor to the Browns’ success during his career.
The Modern Era of Kicking in the NFL
In the modern era of the NFL, kickers have become much more specialized and important to their teams’ success. The use of the kicking game as a strategic tool has increased significantly, and teams now have dedicated kickers who focus solely on the role. One of the most significant changes in the kicking game has been the development of the “soccer-style” kick, which involves approaching the ball at an angle and swinging the leg in a fluid motion. This style has become the standard in the NFL, and many of the best kickers in history have used it.
The Best Kickers in NFL History
So, who is the best kicker in NFL history? There are many contenders, but a few names stand out above the rest. Here are some of the greatest kickers of all time:
Morten Andersen played for several teams during his 25-year career, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Minnesota Vikings. He retired as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, with 2,544 points. Andersen was known for his accuracy and consistency, and he was a six-time All-Pro selection.
Jan Stenerud was one of the first kickers to master the soccer-style kick, and he played for several teams during his career, including the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings. Stenerud was a three-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
Adam Vinatieri is one of the most clutch kickers in NFL history, and he is best known for his game-winning kicks in the playoffs and Super Bowls. Vinatieri played for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts during his career and won four Super Bowl championships. He retired as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer in postseason history.
Justin Tucker is currently the most accurate kicker in NFL history, with a career field goal percentage of 90.7%. He has played for the Baltimore Ravens since 2012 and has been selected to four Pro Bowls. Tucker is also the current record holder for the longest field goal in NFL history, with a 66-yard kick in 2021.
READ MORE: The Worst Trades in NFL History
Other Great Kickers in NFL History
When it comes to the greatest kickers in NFL history, there are a few names that often come to mind. However, there are also many other great kickers who have left their mark on the league. Here are a few other kickers who deserve recognition:
Jason Elam played for 17 seasons in the NFL and is best known for his time with the Denver Broncos. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and made two game-winning field goals in Super Bowl XXXII. Elam finished his career with 1,983 points, which ranks 13th all-time in NFL history.
Stephen Gostkowski has spent most of his career with the New England Patriots, where he won three Super Bowl titles. He is a four-time Pro Bowler and has made 87.4% of his field goals in his career, which is the third-highest percentage in NFL history. Gostkowski currently ranks fifth all-time in points scored by a kicker with 1,878.
Matt Prater is best known for his time with the Denver Broncos, where he set the NFL record for the longest field goal made at 64 yards in 2013. He has also made five field goals of 60 yards or more in his career, which is the most in NFL history. Prater has made 83.2% of his field goals in his career and has been named to two Pro Bowls.
Overall, while the debate over who is the greatest kicker in NFL history will continue, it is clear that there have been many outstanding kickers who have left their mark on the league.
What Makes a Great Kicker?
So, what makes a kicker great? There are several factors to consider, including accuracy, consistency, distance, and pressure. A great kicker must be able to make kicks from a variety of distances and angles, and they must also be able to perform under pressure in high-stakes situations. In addition, they must have a strong work ethic and be able to maintain their focus and mental toughness throughout the game.
Determining who is the best kicker in NFL history is a subjective matter, and there are many different opinions on the topic. However, the names mentioned in this article are certainly among the greatest kickers to ever play the game. Morten Andersen, Jan Stenerud, Adam Vinatieri, and Justin Tucker all have impressive resumes and have made significant contributions to their teams and the league as a whole. Their skill, consistency, and ability to perform under pressure have earned them a place in the annals of NFL history.
READ MORE: The Top 15 Best NFL Cornerbacks of All Time
1. What is the longest field goal ever kicked in the NFL?
The longest field goal ever kicked in the NFL was a 66-yard kick by Justin Tucker in 2021.
2. How many Super Bowl championships did Adam Vinatieri win?
Adam Vinatieri won four Super Bowl championships during his career.
3. Who is the all-time leading scorer in NFL history?
The all-time leading scorer in NFL history is Morten Andersen, with 2,544 points.
4. What is the most accurate field goal percentage in NFL history?
Justin Tucker currently holds the record for the most accurate field goal percentage in NFL history, with a career percentage of 90.7%.
5. How has the role of the kicker in the NFL changed over time?
The role of the kicker in the NFL has become much more specialized and important to their teams’ success in the modern era. Kickers are now dedicated players who focus solely on the role, and the use of the kicking game as a strategic tool has increased significantly.