Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Canon Review List-A-Mania, Top 7 Kickers in NFL History

Earlier today, the NFL passed a new rule stating that, in playoff games that go into overtime, if the team that gets the ball first scores a field goal, than the other team would get the ball and get one chance to score. The rule came about from last year's NFC Championship Game, which ended when the New Orleans Saints' Garrett Hartley kicked a field goal to defeat the Minnesota Vikings. The media felt that this was somehow unfair, and the NFL agreed, as the owners voted 28-4 to adopt the new overtime policy. Interestingly, one of the teams that voted against the rule change was the Minnesota Vikings, who lost the game that created this whole mess in the first place. Personally, I think it's dumb. After all, the Vikings had a chance to stop the Saints from driving into field goal range, and they failed, so they deserved to lose. Since a kicker was the reason for this rule change, I decided to rank the top seven kickers in NFL History. Why seven? because that's the first number that came into my head, that's why.

7. Mark Moseley

Moseley is the only kicker to ever win the NFL MVP Award. Granted that was in the strike-shortened 1982 season, but nevertheless, Moseley had a heck of a season that year. He hit 20 out of 21 field goal attempts for the Washington Redskins, helping his team to a league best 8-1 record and eventually, a win in the Super Bowl. The next year, Moseley let the NFL with 161 points scored. The last "straight-style" kicker in the NFL, Moseley led the NFL in field goals four times, and currently ranks 22nd all time in scoring.

6. Matt Stover

A model of consistency, Stover spent 18 consecutive years with the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens (the Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1995 season).  Currently on the Colts, Stover has not missed an extra point since 1996, and is 8th all time in field goal percentage. Stover is also fourth all-time in points with 2,004, and scored 100 or more points in 12 seasons.

5. Gary Anderson

Anderson is a four time Pro Bowler, and was named to the NFL all-decade team for both the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, Anderson had perhaps the greatest regular season a kicker has ever had, making all 35 of his field goal attempts and all 59 extra points attempts. However, Anderson may be most well-known for his missed field goal late in the NFC Championship Game, leaving the door open for the Falcons to come back and win against Anderson's Minnesota Vikings. Interestingly enough, Anderson once held the NFL record for most consecutive postseason field goals made (16). A kicker for 23 years, Anderson is currently second all time in points (2,434) and field goals made (538)

4. Adam Vinatieri

Vinatieri was named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000s. He also is the only kicker in NFL History to hit two Super Bowl winning kicks in the final seconds, in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. Vinatieri is the all time leader in postseason field goals with 42, and is largely considered the best clutch kicker of all time. Currently, Vinatieri is 15th in career points (1,530) and 13th in field goals (338), and chances are good that Vinatieri will climb his way up the all-time rankings.

3. Lou Groza

Unlike most other great kickers, Groza played primarily in the 1940s and 50s, where conditions were much tougher to kick in. Not only was Groza an ace kicker, he was also a six-time All-Pro offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns, and was a key part of eight championship teams in the AAFC and the NFL. Even though his accuracy numbers look mediocre compared to modern kickers, Groza was the most accurate kicker of his era, leading in field goal accuracy five times and in 1953, Groza hit 22 out of 25 field goals in a league whose kickers had a 44% success rate. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974, Groza has an award named after him with annually awards college football's best kicker.

2. Jan Stenerud

Stenerud remains the only player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame who was a full-time kicker. One of the first "soccer style" kickers, Stenerud helped revolutionize pro football forever, becoming one of the first full-time kickers in NFL History (before the 60s, kickers and punters usually were players like Groza and Jerry Kramer, men that played other positions on the field). Stenerud was a 6 time Pro Bowler, and was named the kicker on the NFL's 75th Anniversary team in 1994. Currently, Stenerud is 11th in career points (1,699) and 9th in field goals (399).

1. Morten Andersen

Not only does Andersen hold the record for most points (2,544) and most field goals made (565), he also holds the record for most games played in NFL history (382). Andersen, a seven-time Pro Bowler, was not only accurate, he also possessed one of the strongest legs in NFL History, constantly pinning teams deep with his booming kickoffs. Andersen was also a premier clutch kicker, setting an NFL record for most game-winning field goals (103) and kicking the game winning field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game that put the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. In 2007, at the age of 47, Andersen connected on 25 of 28 field goal attempts. For those reasons and more, Morten Andersen is the greatest kicker in NFL History, at least to the Canon Review.

Well, I have to go to bed, as I probably should have been asleep by now considering I have to wake up at 6:45. Oh well, I'll sleep later. Thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future reviews or posts, than let me know either by leaving a comment or by e-mail at

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