Who is the best place kicker to ever play in the NFL? This question can not be answered without deciding which qualities determine who is the best to ever kick an oblong ball through two sticks.
One important factor must be about being the best to play during your time period and also being innovative while your at it. If you want to use those qualities, Lou Groza is the best ever.
It seems as though the place kicker is only in the game when the game is on the line, so the ideal kicker would have to be Adam Vinateri.
Maybe the "athlete" who had a very long career and was reliable enough to score the most points ever, and then the best ever would have to be one of the un-biological brother Anderso(e)n: Morten Andersen or Gary Anderson.
If you happen to be Al Davis then all you must care about is pure power, and then there is no question that Sebastian Janikowski takes the cake.
But when it comes down to it, you want a kicker that is going to get the ball through the uprights the highest percentage of times possible, and then, and only then may I add, is Mike Vanderjagt the best kicker ever.
Vanderjagt's humble beginnings started in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. His parents did not know it yet, but their son would become the greatest to ever play his position in a league they had never heard of, the NFL.
Vanderjagt's youth was a rough one. While all the boys at school where playing hockey, Mikey (as my sources say he liked to be called at the time), would be kicking a deformed rugby ball over and over in the alley's of Oakville. This of course led to him being called terrible names that an American like myself, has no use in saying and even trying to understand. But, to prove himself worthy, Mikey would kick his deformed rugby balls on ice during intermission periods of any local hockey games he could find.
Mikey would set up the ball at the middle of the ice and the people in the stands would of course start mocking him. Mikey would then go on to kick the ball at the heads of all his mockers with each them throwing the ball back at him, so he could continue his act until the Zamboni would almost run him over.
This hard work of kicking people in the head, developed immense accuracy for Mikey, now known just as "Jagt". Jagt acquired many fans, and by the time that he reached high school, he was now the main attraction for all his schools hockey games.
In a recruiting trip to Canada, the hockey coach for Michigan State University had come to Jagt's high school and was so impressed by getting kicked in the head from such a distance, he gave Jagt a scholarship for the football team on the spot...to play quarterback.
Jagt did not do so well playing QB seeing as how he had no experience so he went to Community College for a year and then eventually found his calling as the punter and place kicker for West Virginia.
Jagt was so impressive that the Canadian Football gave him a call up immediately after his graduation. He was not that great in his first couple seasons in Canada, but this young man would not let pure stats hold him down. After four seasons in the CFL he was picked up by the Indiapolis Colts as a free agent.
The odds were against him to do well, but undettered as he always was, he went on to become one of the most accurate kickers the league had ever seen. In 2003, he made all 37 field goals that he attempted, and made the All-Pro team.
Peyton Manning once called called Jagt "our drunk idiot kicker" after Jagt said that Peyton was, in short, soft. But the fact was that Jagt was good enough to get away with saying that kind of stuff because of his performance. Unfortunately for him, once his performance started to decline, no team wanted him, not even the Cowboys, well not more than three years. Jagt's career ended in 2006 after a debacle of a season with the Cowboys.
To be totally serious though, Vanderjagt has to be considered one of the best of all time. There is no doubting that his 88.5 career field goals percentage is the best the NFL has ever seen. No matter how you look at it, you want a kicker that is going to put the ball through the uprights at the highest percentage.
Jagt's performance on the field, even though mostly in a dome, gives him a good argument as being the best ever. Well, best ever if we forget the fact that he missed a lot of important kicks...
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