In football, the kicker is arguably the least respected, most underappreciated, and yet most pressurized position in all of sports.
While the tasks that a kicker are asked to perform seem simple in nature, they are in fact vital in order for a football team to be successful.
Therefore, I felt it was necessary to lend some recogntion to this incredibly scrutinized position by naming the top five kickers in the NFL today.
My assessment and the list that I will create as a result will be based not only only statistical data, but also on their physical abilities as well as their importance in the success of their team.
With the aforementioned information in mind, I present to you the top five kickers in the NFL today.
This season, Jason Elam hit 29 field goals at a success rate of 94 percent, among the best in the league.
Furthermore, Elam showed the ability to hit field goals beyond 50 yards when asked to, and he is always a notable presence as a tackler on kickoffs.
John Carney came out of nowhere this year to replace the injured Lawrence Tynes for the New York Giants.
Carney hit 35 field goals at a 92 percent success rate, and he showed the ability to dig deep within himself and hit some long field goals when he had to, despite being the oldest player in the NFL at 44 years old.
Carney's inspiring 2008 season will send him to Hawaii as a Pro Bowler.
Yes, I know what you're thinking.
How is Adam Vinatieri only number three on this list?
Well, the answer is that Vinatieri isn't quite the same player as he was during his prime, and I do not believe that he can still be considered as the best kicker in the NFL.
However, despite his field goal percentage of only 80 percent, Vinatieri still does know how to get it done in big games, and he deserves some credit for that.
This season, Stephen Gostkowski led the league with 36 field goals made with a percentage of 90 percent made.
In addition, the Patriots' young kicker has proven himself to be able to hit some kicks in pressure situations.
However, a few inexplicable misses from under 30 yards away from the goal keeps Gostkowski from making the top spot on my list as of this time.
However, don't be surprised to see Gostkowski take over the title of being the best kicker in the NFL in the near future.
Now, I wouldn't be surprised if many of you don't even know who Jason Hanson is, namely because he plays for the Detroit Lions.
However, Hanson's 2008 absolutely cannot be ignored. In 2008, Hanson hit 21 out of 22 field goal attempts for a 96 percent success rate, the highest in the league. Furthermore, Hanson went an almost unrealstic 8-for-8 on field goal attempts beyond 50 yards!
That's right, Jason Hanson's field goal percentage beyond 50 yards is 100 percent.
With that in mind, I believe that Hanson is currently the best kicker in the NFL.
If only he played for a half-decent team, I believe that many more NFL fans would know it.