Kickers are becoming more and more important to National Football League teams. What began merely as an almost unimportant job, has morphed into perhaps the most vital on the field (just look at Super Bowl XXXVI).
However, who is the best kicker? Is it Adam Vinatieri, Gary Anderson or even Jason Elam?
You'll just have to read the article to find out.
If you think I've left anyone important off this list, just leave me a comment.
Bakken played from 1962 to 1978, and thus, Bakken's career numbers pale in comparison to George Blanda's (more on him later). However, a higher FG percentage (63.3) gets him a few extra points, but not enough to propel him past Blanda.
Bakken got a 71.9%, 74.1%, and 79.2% FG percentage in 1973, 1976 and 1975 respectively. Unfortunately, those percentages didn't lead the league in that category in those seasons.
Bakken's career numbers: FGA: 447, FGM: 282, FG%: 63.3, XPA: 553, XPM: 534, XP%: 96.6%.
Blanda is certainly more famous for what he did as a quarterback, but he did have a very distinguished kicking career.
Despite starting his career in 1949, Blanda's career continued until 1975. From 1967 to 1975, Blanda was almost exclusively a kicker for the Raiders.
In every season of Blanda's career, he made at least six field goals a season. And even then, that was only for a three season period from 1950 to 1953.
At age 46 in 1973, Blanda made a career high 23 field goals. Blanda never made it above 70 percent field goal completion, his career high being 68.8, set in 1955.
The only reason why Blanda isn't higher on this list is because I feel his numbers are bloated by the fact that he stuck around the NFL for 26 freaking seasons.
Blanda's career numbers: 639 FGA, 335 FGA, 52.5 FG%, 959 XPA, 943 XPM, 98.3 XP%.
In an era where the "straight-ahead" kickers were a dying breed, as more and more kickers began changing to the "soccer style" of kicking, Moseley kept doing what he was good at, and had great results.
His career numbers aren't great (more on them below), but, in a feat that would be unimaginable in today's NFL, Moseley won the NFL MVP in the strike-shortened 1982 season (even though people argue that his best season was, in fact, 1981).
Moseley was chosen to two Pro Bowls and All Pro once. He also helped the Redskins win Super Bowl XVII over the Miami Dolphins with two field goals and three extra points.
When Moseley retired in 1986, he also retired the 'straight-ahead' kicking style with him.
Moseley's career numbers: FGA: 457, FGM: 300, FG%: 65.6, XPA: 512, XPM: 482, XP%: 94.1%.
Jason Elam turned 39 this season, yet he's still kicking quite well.
He's starting to slow down (a career low FG% of 63.3 thus far this season), but he is still the greatest kicker in the history of the Denver Broncos, as he was their No. 1 (both on the depth chart and on his uniform) kicker from 1993 to 2007.
Until this season, Elam had only had a FG percentage below 75 once: his rookie season when it was 74.3.
Elam is one of the great extra point kickers of all time, as he's only missed four in his entire 16-year career.
Elam's career numbers: FGA: 540, FGM: 436, FG%: 80.7%, XPA: 679, XPM 675, XP%: 99.4%.
Jan Stenerud revolutionized modern kicking, as one of the first kickers to adopt "soccer style" kicking.
Though the invention of soccer style kicking goes to Pete Gogolak, Stenerud revolutionized kicking by proving just how good and effective soccer style could be.
Stenerud was averaging 70 percentage on field goals when his old school kicking counterparts were still considering 56 percent to be good.
Stenerud was a six time Pro Bowler and one time First Team All Pro. In 18 NFL seasons, Stenerud was a little erratic in FG percentage, and that stat varied from 44 to 91.
Stenerud's career numbers: FGA: 558, FGM: 373, FG%: 66.8%, XPA: 601, XPM: 580, XP%: 96.5.
John Carney began kicking in 1988. If he's still on a team's roster in 2010, it will be Carney's fourth decade in the NFL.
Carney has jumped around from team to team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1988-1989), Los Angeles Rams (1990), San Diego Chargers (1990-2000) , New Orleans Saints (2001-2006, 2009), Jacksonville Jaguars (2007), Kansas City Chiefs (2007) and New York Giants (2008).
Despite being 45, Carney is still having an above average season. He has been as solid as any kicker in the league since 1989 (1988 was, arguably, his worst season).
Through 21 seasons, Carney has only missed 10 extra points in his entire career, and never more than once a season has he missed a XP, except for 1993 and 2009, when he missed a career high two.
Carney's extended NFL career has potentially taken away from his career numbers in the long run.
Carney's career numbers: FGA: 574, FGM: 473, FG%: 82.4%, XPA: 535, XPM: 525, XP%: 98.4%.
Stover and Adam Vinatieri have sort of platooned the kicking duties this season for the Indianapolis Colts.
Stover and Jason Elam's career numbers are almost identical. Stover has been around two years longer (he started his career in 1991 with the Cleveland Browns) and his career XP percentage is 99.5, one decimal higher than Elam's. Elam has missed four career extra points, Stover has missed three.
However, Stover is higher on this list because Elam has been slightly more erratic in field goals. His 80.7% compared to 83.3% put Stover a hair ahead of Elam and gets him higher on this list.
Stover's career numbers: FGA: 563, FGM: 471, FG% 83.7, XPA: 593, XPM: 590, XP%: 99.5%.
Gary Anderson had arguably the greatest single kicking season of all time. In 1998, with the Minnesota Vikings, he made 59-of-59 PATs and 35 of 35 field goals.
The only reason why Anderson isn't No. 2 or No. 1 on this article is: he missed a field goal in 1998. He missed a crucial field goal with 2:07 left in the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons, and the Falcons came back to win the game.
This seemed to throw Anderson off for 1999, as he went jut 19-30 for field goals in 1999.
Anderson retired after the 2004 season as one of the greatest kickers of all time.
Anderson's career numbers: FGA: 672, FMG: 538, FG%, 80.1%, XPA: 827, XPM: 820, XP%: 99.2%.
Perhaps the best clutch kicker of all time, Vinatieri won three Super Bowls for the New England Patriots by kicking the deciding field goal in all three, two with time expiring.
Vinatieri seems to be getting better as he gets older, as his worst seasons were in his first few seasons in the league with the Patriots.
He won another Super Bowl with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts and if he keeps up the success he's had so far in his career, Vinatieri will find himself at No. 1 soon.
Vinatieri's career numbers: FGA: 411, FGM: 337, FG%: 82.0%, XPA: 523, XPM: 514, XP%: 98.3%.
Morten Andersen has been playing football longer than I've been alive. Hell, I could have almost two of my lifetimes in Andersen's entire career.
He started playing football way back in 1982, and "retired" (did he ever officially retire?) after the 2007 season.
Andersen's pure longevity in the kicking game is what got him the all-time NFL scoring title as well as all time field goal and extra point titles.
Andersen's best field goal percentage was 89.3 in the final season of his career.
Amazingly, throughout his 24 season NFL career, Andersen has only missed 10 career extra points.
NFL teams, if you need an emergency kicker, don't be afraid to give Morten Andersen a call.
Andersen's career numbers: FGA: 709, FGM: 565, FG%: 79.7%, XPA: 859, XPM: 849, XP%: 98.8%.
Robbie Gould: The future of the kicker in the NFL, Gould is one of the best kickers in the game today.
Gould's career numbers: FGA: 149, FGM: 128, FG%: 85.9%, XPA: 167, XPM: 166, XP%: 99.4%.
Nate Kaeding: The 27-year-old Kaeding will provide the future of the NFL kickers along with Gould. Kaeding is arguably the best kicker in the NFL today, and the only reason why he isn't on the Top 10 list is because I don't think he's played enough seasons to be chosen among the Top 10.
Kaeding's career numbers: FGA: 169, FGM: 147, FG%: 87.0%, XPA: 297, XPM 295, XP% 99.3.
Sebastian Janikowski: The numbers aren't really there, but he's been one of the rare solid players on the Oakland Raiders for the last few years.
Janikowski's career numbers: FGA: 287, FGM: 224, FG%: 78.0%, XPA: 315, XPM: 312, XP%, 99.0%.
Mike Vanderjagt: the greatest kicker in the history of the Indianapolis Colts, and one of the most accurate kickers in the history of the NFL. Don't pay attention to Vanderjagt's one terrible season with the Dallas Cowboys. Vanderjagt entered the league at age 28, well older than any of the other players on this list.
Vanderjagt's career numbers (which have been discredited because of one horrendus season with Dallas): FGA: 266, FGM: 230, FG%: 86.5%, XPA: 379, XPM: 377, XP%: 99.5%.