The competition to be named among the best NFL kickers of all time has never been more fierce. Granted, many of the greatest kickers in NFL history are in the past, but some of the most successful NFL kickers are playing right now.

That creates quite the conundrum when it comes to comparing players from different eras and creating a list of the best NFL kickers of all time.

Best NFL kickers of all time

But what makes a great kicker? Is it kicking one of the longest playoff field goals and gaining glory that way? Is it having the highest field goal percentage in NFL history? There was a lot to consider, but we thought about consistency, longevity, and just overall level of difficulty when putting together our ranking of the 10 best NFL kickers of all time.

10. George Blanda

George Blanda’s incredible longevity helps to put him among the best kickers of all time. He didn’t retire until he was 48, which is old, even for kickers.

He retired with the record for most all-time points scored, doing so in 26 seasons. That makes Blanda one of two players in NFL history to compete in four different decades. It’s worth noting that Blanda also made waves as a quarterback. But as a kicker, he converted 98.3% of his PATs and 52.4% of his field goals, playing in an era when field goals were far more challenging.

       

9. Lou Groza

Technically, Lou Groza also played as a lineman, but he’s best known for his kicking exploits. Why else would he be given the nickname of “the Toe?” Groza was the trailblazer who made NFL teams realize that they needed a place-kicking specialist on their roster.

At one point, he owned all of the records for kicking accuracy and distance. If we’re splitting hairs, Groza only made 57.8% of his field goals and his longest field goal was 52 yards. But his impact on the game was too profound not to include him among the best kickers of all time.

8. Jason Elam

For a while, Jason Elam was tied for the longest field goal ever made when he nailed a 63-yarder. But his career was so much more than that.

He made over 80% of his career field goal attempts and 99.4% of his PATs. At times, he benefited greatly from kicking in Denver’s thin air. However, Elam was also accurate enough to help the Broncos win two Super Bowls and be selected to the Pro Bowl three times. 

7. Jason Hanson

Based on loyalty and longevity alone, Jason Hanson deserves to be mentioned among the best kickers of all time. He spent all 21 seasons of his career with the lowly Lions when he surely could have found a home with a more competitive franchise.

Playing in Detroit likely cost him exposure, limiting him to just two Pro Bowl selections. Despite a lack of eyeballs on him, Hanson converted 82.4% of his field goals over his 21 seasons in the NFL while missing just seven PATs. Also, even though his team didn’t always win, Hanson had nine game-winning field goals in overtime, which is tied for the all-time record.

6. Matt Prater

When it comes to kicking from a distance, few in NFL history are better than Matt Prater. He owes part of that to the years he spent in Denver’s thin air. But even after leaving the Broncos, Prater has continued to be one of the best long-distance kickers the game has ever seen.

For many years, he held the NFL record with a 64-yard field goal. Prater has also made more field goals from 50 yards or longer than any other kicker. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with an 83% career conversation rate on field goals, putting him in rare company.

5. Gary Anderson

Born in South Africa, Gary Anderson played both football and soccer during his college days at Syracuse. But he wisely focused on football during his junior and senior seasons, ultimately becoming one of the best kickers of all time.

In 1998, he became the first kicker to convert every PAT and field goal for a full regular season. Of course, Vikings fans only remember his miss in the NFC Championship Game. That low moment aside, Anderson was a four-time Pro Bowler and a member of both the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams, as he was one of the league’s premier kickers for 23 seasons.

4. Stephen Gostkowski

One should not overlook the role that Stephen Gostkowski played for the Patriots during their dynasty, as he was New England’s kicker from 2006 to 2019. During that time, he led the NFL in scoring five times, including four consecutive years from 2012 to 2015, earning him a spot on the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team.

While he got plenty of opportunities because of Tom Brady and set the record before PATs were moved back to 35 yards, Gostkowski holds the NFL record for 479 extra points converted. It’s safe to say that record will never be broken. He ended his illustrious career with four Pro Bowl invitations and three Super Bowl rings.

3. Adam Vinatieri

One could say that Adam Vinatieri is the one who “kicked off” New England’s dynasty. He kicked the game-winning field goal when the Patriots won their first Super Bowl, not to mention the field goal in the snow he kicked to tie the Division Round game in the infamous Tuck Rule Game.

Clearly, Vinatieri was a kicker who excelled in big moments, but he’s so much more than that. After 10 seasons with the Patriots, he spent another 14 with the Colts, ultimately setting the NFL’s all-time record for points scored. Vinatieri also holds several other records, including the most consecutive field goals made and made field goals. He’s truly one of the most storied kickers in NFL history.

2. Morten Andersen

Who could have predicted that a left-footed kid from Denmark would become one of the best kickers in NFL history?

The one-time soccer player had an unlikely journey to the NFL, but once he got there, he was always among the best. Morten Andersen would eventually earn the nickname of Mr. Automatic, connecting on 565 field goals during his career at a clip of nearly 80%.

Andersen was a seven-time Pro Bowler and a five-time First-Team All-Pro selection during his career, which spanned a quarter-century, helping him set the NFL record for games played. He was also among the first kickers to make a field goal from 60 yards or further during an era when that was even rarer than it is now. Most importantly, Andersen was just the second placekicker to earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1. Justin Tucker

His career may not be over but it should already be clear that Justin Tucker is the greatest kicker the NFL has ever seen. Statistically, he’s the most accurate placekicker in league history. He also owns the record for the longest field goal at 66 yards, which is far from the only field goal from 60-plus yards that he’s hit in his career.

Since he came into the league in 2012, he’s been close to automatic on PATs, even when the distance was pushed back. Tucker has been nearly as automatic on field goals, frequently among the top kickers in both made field goals and percentage. When you see Tucker on the field, you just know the kick is going to be good no matter the situation, and that’s what makes him the best of all time.

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