Football Kickers: most stressful position in football? Best NFL Kickers All Time and 2022

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers

The kicker is one of the most stressful positions in all of American Football and for good reason. Whole football games can be decided by a missed field goal or a made extra point. Kickers often aren't big names until they screw up, many NFL fans know Cody Parkey for his double doink missed kick for the Chicago Bears but few know David Akers who made the most field goals in a NFL season. Like Charlie Brown kicking the football, the misses are iconic and the makes are far from note-worthy. So let's dive in on what makes a kicker and who the best are.

What does a kicker do?

A kicker has three main responsibilities. The first is kicking the ball to the other team after the offense scores. The NFL rules state that the ball must be kicked to the other team after a possession results in a score. The second is kicking the extra point. After a touchdown, an offense can elect to run a play from the two yard line, which if scored is worth two points, or kick an one point extra point through the uprights placed at the back of each end zone. This kick would occur at the fifteen yard line. The third is the field goal, which is worth three points. The field goal can be kicked at any spot on the field and is usually kicked on a fourth down. A miss results in a change of possession at the spot of the kick and a make results in three points.

What is an onside kick?

An onside kick is another important duty of any kicker. The onside kick is the alternative to the kickoff that happens after a score and is usually used to get the kicking team the ball back on the kick. The kicker kicks the ball short and the kicking team attempts to recover it once it gets past ten yards from the spot of the kick. It is often unsuccessful but on the rare occasion it succeeds, it can be very beneficial. However failure can result in the receiving team getting very good field position.

Who are the best kickers in the NFL in 2022?

The kicking position is the best it has ever been. We have seen generational talent after generational talent put balls through the uprights in the past few seasons. With the retirements of Adam Vinateri and Stephen Gostkowski, a new crop of kickers has a time to shine in the NFL. Here are the best ones.

1. Justin Tucker - Baltimore Ravens

Tucker has been a monster for the Baltimore Ravens for his entire career. He is a virtual lock for the hall of fame, which is very rare for a placekicker. But that's the type of talent that Tucker possesses. Tucker has an all-time accuracy of 91.1%, which makes him the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He also has made two kicks over 60 yards.

2. Harrison Butker - Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs veteran was originally signed to fill in for the injured Cairo Santos but did so good that he became the franchise kicker for the Chiefs. Butker has hit 90.1% of his kicks making him the 2nd most accurate kicker in NFL history. He has many field goals over 50 yards and is the only kicker to do so multiple times in the same Super Bowl.

3. Chris Boswell - Pittsburgh Steelers

Boswell hopped from team to team early in his career as he struggled with accuracy. The Steelers gave him a chance and never looked back. Boswell has been the best kicker of the past three years. He's hit 90% of his field goals in each of the past three seasons, a feat no other kicker has accomplished.

4. Younghoe Koo - Atlanta Falcons

The South Korea native almost didn't make it to this point. He was left unemployed after a disastrous start to his career with the LA Chargers. Luckily, he was given a chance with the upstart AAF which folded weeks into its existence. Luckily Koo had made an impact and found himself on the Atlanta Falcons. He has hit 13 of his 14 field goals over 50 yards. He has also been an expert at kicking onside kicks, making him an asset.

5. Robbie Gould - San Francisco 49ers

Gould has been a mainstay for the red and gold warriors. He has waned as he barrels towards forty years old but has been one of the best kickers of his generation. Gould has been insanely clutch and has made every field goal he has attempted in his playoff career. The Niners signed him as a free agent and has been a fan favorite ever since.

What is the longest field goal in NFL history?

Justin Tucker broke the record for longest field goal in exciting fashion in 2022. His 66-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions to win the game, broke Matt Prater’s 64 yard field goal with the Broncos. However, none of that measures up to the longest college football field goal, a 69-yard field goal by Ove Johansson for Abilene Christian University.

How much does an NFL kicker make?

Kicker salary varies based on the performance of the player obviously, but kickers do not make as much as the tight ends, running backs, and quarterbacks of the world. The average salary of an NFL kicker is $860,000. Here are the highest paid kickers.

  1. Justin Tucker Baltimore K $5,000,000
  2. Younghoe Koo Atlanta K $4,850,000
  3. Graham Gano New York Giants K $4,666,667
  4. Daniel Carlson Las Vegas K $4,600,000
  5. Ka'imi Fairbairn Houston K $4,412,500

Who are the best kickers in NFL history?

5. Lou Groza

Groza may not be anywhere near the talent level of today’s kickers. But he was the first to pioneer the field goal. He set record after record at the time drilling field goals from a then unheard of forty yards.

4. Gary Anderson

Anderson ranks third all-time in field goals made and games played by a kicker. He, at one point, hit a record 46 consecutive field goals. His twenty three year career was consistent and almost Hall of Fame worthy but a crucial miss in an NFC Championship game has soiled his reputation.

3. Mort Anderson

The seven time pro bowler and five time all-pro was “Mr.Automatic” during his playing career. Not only was he consistent but he played basically forever. He didn’t retire until age 47 and is the current leader for most games played.

2. Justin Tucker

Tucker is the best active kicker and is on pace to be the best kicker of all time. He is a four-time all pro and is the all-time leader in field goal accuracy. He still has a ways to go to be the GOAT but he’s doing just fine.

1. Adam Vinateri

Vinateri retired last year but he left a mark no kicker has. He is a four time Super Bowl champion and has records for most points by a kicker, most field goals made, and postseason points scored. It will be a long time until we see a kicker break those.