What makes a great kicker in the NFL? Certainly field goal accuracy is critical, and those pesky extra points are also important. Some would also say having a strong leg to hit those long field goals is also a key ingredient. When considering these elements, which NFL kicker should be considered, the best ever?
The game is on the line, your team is within a field goal of a tie or winning the game. The field goal will be a long one, 50 plus yards. If you could have any NFL kicker throughout history take the field for your team, who would it be? Of the ten kickers who made our list of best ever, statistically, you would want Tony Zendejas. During his career Zendejas attempted 23 field goals of 50 yards or more and made 17 of them. That is an amazing 73 percent. Mike Vanderjagt came in second hitting 68 percent of his 50 yarders. While he hit only 47% of his 50 plus yard field goals, Morton Anderson has hit more than anyone else on the list. Morton Anderson has hit an amazing 40 field goals from 50 or more yards.
A perfect season is about as good as you can get. Three kickers have had perfect seasons, hitting 100% of the field goals they attempted. In 1991 Tony Zendejas went 17 of 17. In the year 2000, Jeff Wilkens matched that mark going 17 of 17. In between those two perfect seasons was Gary Anderson, who in 1998 hit 35 of 35 field goals, almost the total of the other two perfect seasons, combined.
Using the made field goal percentage, successful extra point percentage, and the percentage of 50 yard field goals, the list of the top 10 best kickers has been assembled. In case of a tie, the kicker with the most successful field goals won the tie. As with NFL statistics to be eligible to make the list a kicker needed to have a minimum of 100 made field goals.
10. Jan Stenerud (3.5 points) – 373 made field goals
9. Matt Bahr (6.5 points) – 471 made field goals
8. Tony Zendejas (15 points) – 186 made field goals
7. Morton Anderson (16.5 points) – 565 made field goals
6. Nick Lowery (17 points) – 383 made field goals
5. Gary Anderson (17 points) – 538 made field goals
4. Adam Vinatieri (17.5 points) – 339 made field goals
3. John Carney (21 points) – 473 made field goals
2. Matt Stover (22.5 points) – 471 made field goals
1. Mike Vanderjagt (28.5 points) – 230 made field goals