Being a placekicker in the NFL can feel like a no-win scenario sometimes. When a kicker lines up for a field-goal attempt, we all expect them to make it. Oh, and if a kicker misses an extra point after a touchdown? Even with extra points being moved back, it’s a surefire way for a kicker to become public enemy No. 1 in an NFL town. Some fantasy football leagues have even kicked kickers to the curb.
That being said, we are here to give some love to NFL kickers. They are as much a part of an NFL roster as a quarterback or receiver. Plus, where would a sport called “football” be without guys who put their foot to the ball?
There have been some great kickers in NFL history. We ranked the five best.
Some kickers with big legs like Matt Prater and Greg Zuerlein didn’t quite make the cut. Neither did a handful of the most accurate kickers ever, such as Chris Boswell and Harrison Butker. Sebastian Janikowski, who the Raiders infamously took in the first round, didn’t quite make it. Although, he did have an outstanding career with the Raiders and later the Seattle Seahawks. The Green Bay Packers’ longtime kicker Mason Crosby just missed the cut, as did Stephen Gostkowski. The latter was a big success for the New England Patriots for many years.
In the end, these are the five we landed on as the five best kickers ever of all-time. Some are known for being clutch. Others for their powerful swinging leg. No doinks allowed.
The 5 Best Kickers in NFL History, Ranked
5. Jan Stenerud
Stenerud made NFL history when he became the first exclusive kicker elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joined the NFL in 1967 with the Kansas City Chiefs, and after a stop with the Green Bay Packers, he finished his career with the Minnesota Vikings in 1985. Stenerud made four Pro Bowls after appearing in two AFL All-Star Games before the Pro Bowl’s existence.
His accuracy numbers by modern standards are abysmal, but you can’t judge a kicker from back then by that. As a Hall of Famer, we had to include him at No. 5.
4. Robbie Gould
Gould mixes accuracy and productivity nicely. He’s No. 6 in career accuracy but also ranks 11th in career field goals made. Starting his career with the Chicago Bears, Gould now kicks with the San Francisco 49ers after a brief stop with the New York Giants.
At 38, Gould likely has a few more NFL seasons left to add to his totals.
3. Morten Andersen
Imagine being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the ’80s and ’90s. Andersen did that. He began his career with the New Orleans Saints way back in 1982 and did not play his last season until he retired after the 2007 campaign with the Atlanta Falcons.
Unsurprising, Anderson currently has the record for the most games in an NFL career. Andersen is second in career field goals made, and he is also in the Hall of Fame.
2. Adam Vinatieri
The New England Patriots relied on Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to win all those Super Bowls. However, where would they have been without Vinatieri around to kick clutch field goals? The four-time Super Bowl champ has made some of the biggest kicks in NFL history.
Would we remember the “Tuck Rule Game” if Vinatieri hadn’t nailed his kick? The Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and (now) Los Angeles Rams certainly remember his clutch abilities. Oh, not to mention fans of the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.
After his time with the Patriots, Vinatieri joined the Indianapolis Colts and played several more seasons there. More seasons than he spent in New England. His last year in the NFL came in 2019, and once he’s eligible, a trip to the Hall of Fame is likely. Vinatieri is currently the NFL leader in career field goals made. He came up big when called upon and was reliable for many years.
1. Justin Tucker
Baltimore Ravens fans love him. Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers fans loathe him. When it comes to mixing power and skill, nobody can hold a candle to Tucker. He’s the most accurate kicker in NFL history, and it’s not like he doesn’t try long kicks.
Tucker just made NFL history in 2021. He booted a 66-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions, the longest field goal ever made. Many of the longest kicks ever have been converted by kickers for the Denver Broncos or against the Broncos due to the elevation. That wasn’t the case for Tucker in the Motor City.
Might current kickers eventually make this list? Sure! Former Jaguars and current Seahawks kicker Jason Myers has proven entirely accurate. Ryan Succop has been steady for many years. For now, though, these are the top five, the rare kickers that don’t yield many fan complaints.