Football Highlights: Best Kicker and Punter Tackles
Whether it's the NFL, AFL, NCAA or High School football, one thing is never a certainty—can the kicker or punter make a tackle in the open field? Many football coaches have spent sleepless nights worrying about this question. This slideshow will provide actual footage of kickers and punters making tackles as well as some evidence as to why kickers should think long and hard about avoiding contact.
Maybe one day kickers will become tackling machines, but in today's football world they are a highlight reel waiting to happen. One day the coaches just might want to put the kickers in a tackling drill. Hopefully, they don't get hurt in the process. Until then, enjoy the kicker tackling extravaganza.
1. Huge Hit by Cowboy Sam Paulescu
Sam Paulescu puts on one of the best hits I have ever seen a kicker make on a football field. The Cowboys had no idea that Paulescu could do this, but he shows in this clip that he can do more than just punt.
He absolutely destroys the back with a tackle that the Dallas defensive coordinators could use as a training video. I wouldn't try to do this every time if I were Sam, but I'm sure it's a play he will never forget.
2. Baylor Kicker Sepulveda Explodes
The Baylor Bears might have thought about letting the punter Daniel Sepulveda stay on the field at linebacker after this brilliant open-field form tackle. Sepulveda explodes through the return man and puts the Big 12 on notice that the Baylor kickers are a force to be reckoned with.
3. BYU Punter Is Just Plain Mean
BYU's punter cannot be stopped, he can only hope to be contained in this clip. Watch as he enters the frame with wild abandon and absolutely levels the opposing back. The return man never knew what hit him, but this BYU punter sure knows how to bring the pain. Just look at that stare down. That is one punter who means business.
4. Texan Neil Rackers: Tackling Machine
Neil Rackers makes a hard tackle that he is extremely proud of and should be. Rackers made some noise and lowered his shoulder. Kudos to Neil for getting into the mix and proving that he can tackle. His Texan teammates sure must have taken a double take in this film session. Rackers proves that aggression on the field is much better than trying not to get hit.
5. AFL's Gould Celebrates in Style
Robbie Gould's younger brother could teach his big brother a thing or two—about tackling. Chris Gould went low and blew up the back and must have felt pretty good about it. His dance moves could use a little improvement, but how often do kickers really get a chance to show their moves? Can you blame him?
6. VMI Kicker Draws a Line in the Sand
This VMI kicker shows some moxie by meeting the back down the sideline full speed. The impact was so intense that both of them went flying in the opposite direction. VMI must teach its cadets to never back down because this special teamer really took it to his opponent. Well done.
7. The Pats' Gostkowski Sends a Message
Stephen Gostkowski is Bill Belichick's newest weapon in the New England Patriot arsenal. The kicker lowers the boom on an unsuspecting return man as if he had done this a thousand times.
The specialist's hit must have been felt the next day, but I'm not sure it was by the man that received it. Stephen might want to stick to using his feet, but at least he knows that he can get the job done when it counts.
8. Dolphin Dan Carpenter Makes a Big Save
Dan Carpenter was praying that he could make this tackle as he dove to make the play. He was just as surprised as everyone else that his attempt was successful, but in any event, he achieved his task.
Carpenter was able to keep those menacing Arizona Cardinals from putting up some points and earned some love from his Dolphin compatriots. Carpenter just hopes that next time it doesn't come down to his tackling prowess.
9. Minessota Gophers' Punter Lends a Hand
The Gopher punter abides by the kicker/punter tackling creed—hold on for dear life and hope the guy goes down.
In this instance the attempt worked out, but I think that the Minnesota punter might be a little dizzy. I'm not sure if this punter should stick to football or join the rodeo. In any event, this was another play that the kicker in question would probably prefer not to repeat.
10. Cowboy Filipovic Has a Showdown with Champ Bailey
I honestly don't know what Champ Bailey looks so timid about? This almost looks like two kickers about to collide.
Filip Filipovic, aside from having one of the funniest names in the NFL, also had the unfortunate duty of stopping Bailey on this play. It was a half-hearted effort by the kicker, but Bailey seemed more content to prance out of bounds after absorbing the meager force that was inflicted. Way to go Filip Filipovic.
11. Panthers' Baker Saves a TD
Leon Washington only thought he had a touchdown. He didn't know that Carolina Panther's Punter Jason Baker was on the field. Baker kept in stride with Washington and made a picture perfect shoestring tackle.
Baker could not have made the play again if he tried it 100 more times, but Washington will be forever reminded that he got tackled by a punter while he was showboating on the way to the end zone. Add this one to the Jason Baker highlight reel.
12. Sav Rocca Enters the Scrum
Sav Rocca might be the only kicker who knows anything about tackling. Rocca spent some time down under playing Australian Rules Football and mixed it up in the process. However, the NFL is a different story as Mr. Rocca has come to find out.
Sav enters the fray in this video, but he is smart enough not to take the brunt of the blow. A smart play by a man who knows a thing or two about collision sports.
13. Packers' Masthay Almost Catches Devin Hester
Devin Hester is known for making the opposing special teams look silly. The Green Bay Packers were no exception in this instance. However, The Packers punter Tim Masthay made a tremendous effort and did not give up in his pursuit of Hester.
The attempt was futile, but Masthay's dive was a valiant effort and against most other return men would have been successful. Still, Masthay's determination is laudable.
14. Sav Rocca Gets Roughed Up
Sav Rocca may know how to handle himself on the field, but in this instance, Rocca looked like a deer in headlights.
Sav was absolutely destroyed in the open field, which I'm sure he remembered the next time he stepped on the field. He must have been happy just to exit the field. Next time Rocca will keep his head on a swivel for sure.
15. Janikowski Missed Tackle
Sebastian Janikowski made very little effort to make this tackle while quite possibly being the largest kicker in the NFL. This little sidestep must not have went over well in the Raider film room.
Maybe Sebastian should take some cues from the other kickers and punters on this list, but for now it makes one funny highlight.