San Francisco 49ers: 7 Worst Kickers in Franchise History

Gordon BlockContributor IIIJuly 15, 2011

San Francisco 49ers: 7 Worst Kickers in Franchise History

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    It’s easy to forget with the reliable play of Joe Nedney that the San Francisco 49ers have had a long track record of inconsistent and underwhelming play at the kicker position.

    From the numerous blocks of Jose Cortez, to the nicknames for Wade Richey, to the off the field dating of Owen Pochman, there’s been plenty of kickers that bring back memories of blown games and wide attempts.

    For the purposes of this list, all kickers had to have played with the 49ers for at least five games.

7)Tommy Davis

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    This is a tough addition to this list.

    There’s no doubt that Tommy Davis was an impact player in his ten seasons with the team, from 1959 to 1969. He rushed, he punted, and he kicked field goals. Unfortunately, his kicking was far from impressive.

    Davis, whose career average field goal average was 47.1 percent, had a season high of a staggering 63 percent.

    While Davis is second in field goals made, it took him more than 100 extra attempts than third place Joe Nedney (129 FG on 149 attempts) and fourth place Mike Cofer (128 FG on 191 attempts).

    Despite his struggles kicking field goals, there is no doubt he was a tremendous punter. Averaging 44.7 yards per punt, Davis is fourth for punting average in team history. His 82-yard-long is tied for second place in team history with current punter Andy Lee (the longest punt in 49ers history came from Larry Barnes, who blasted a 86-yard bomb in 1957).

6) Mike Cofer

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    While Mike Cofer had two strong seasons in 1988 and 1989, which included back to back Super Bowl trips and a Pro Bowl appearance in ’89, the rest of his career left a lot to be desired.

    While it’s tough to put the kicker with the 4th in field goals made and scoring in team history on this list, Cofer’s frustrating inconsistency places him on this list.

    Look at his percentages and ranking in field goal percentage over his five years in San Francisco.

    1988: 71.1 percent (19th)

    1989: 80.6 percent (5th)

    1990: 66.7 percent (27th)

    1991: 50 percent (Last)

    1992: 66.7 percent (22nd)

    1993: 61.5 percent (27th) 

5) Wade Richey

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    You don’t earn the nickname “Wide Richey” without reason.

    Despite his great 1999 season, Richey struggled mightily in the 1998 and 2000 seasons. In these down years in scarlet and gold, he never broke 70 percent field goal percentage.

    Richey, noting his struggles in the 2000 season, said that if he couldn’t return to his 1999 performance, “I may personally walk up there and say, 'Get rid of me.'”

    He didn’t have to. He was released after his down 2000 season.

    Following his exit from San Francisco, he played a few more years in stops in San Diego and Baltimore before ending his playing days in 2004. To give him credit, he made his final NFL field goal in 2003 from 56 yards out (a career high).

    He also inspired one of the least attractive fan sites in the history of the internet (good luck on the quiz!).

4) Bruce Gossett

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    Another case of maddening inconsistency brings Bruce Gossett to this list.

    Playing with the 49ers from 1970 to 1974, Gossett was far from dependable

    Gossett disappointed with a kick accuracy percentage in the mid-60s from 1970-72, in which he missed at least 10 kicks a season. 

    With that said, an older Gossett stunned by leading the league in accuracy in 1973, converting 79 percent of his kicks.

    However, Gossett followed his career year with a disastrous 1974, in which he connected on only 46 percent of his kicks.

    Gossett finished with a 64.7 percent field goal success rate as a 49er.

3) Doug Brien

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    While Doug Brien has built a successful and consistent career over 12 NFL seasons, his first two as a 49er were pretty underwhelming. Putting up a 68.8 percent field goal percentage over a season and a half, Brien also disappointed in missing game-deciding kicks versus Indianapolis and Detroit.

    His game improved almost immediately after he left, and Brien improved his career field goal percentage to just over 80 percent.

    Jets fans may also have a reason to be upset with Brien, especially after he missed two game winning field goals in the 2005 playoffs as a member of the New York Jets.

2) Owen Pochman

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    Things didn’t go so well for Pochman, who came to the 49ers in the 2003 season with a less than excellent track record with the New York Giants: two kicks, two misses. His time by the bay didn’t show much improvement.

    He missed left, he missed right, and was blocked twice on only 15 attempts. His lone extra point miss cost the Niners their week 6 game versus the Seattle Seahawks (the Niners would have tied the game).

    Not that it was all on Pochman, with a few of his kicks hindered by the holds of then punter Bill LaFleur.

    Pochman was let go after only six games.

    Not that it was all bad for Pochman. In addition to dating Brande Roderick, Playboy Playmate of the Year 2001, he also published a book recounting his pro career entitled I'm Just a Kicker (which you can pick up if you're willing to drop a couple hundred bucks).

1) Jose Cortez

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    Few kickers define ineptitude quite like Jose Cortez.

    The former XFL championship MVP was downright terrible in his nearly two seasons in 49ers scarlet and gold. That might be a little generous.

    While his kicking percentage may not be as bad as others on this list, Cortez made sure his misses were special.

    He ended the 2001-02 season, his only full year with the team, missing seven of his final 14 kicks. He also had five of his kicks blocked that season, including one in the 49ers playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.

    His cut from the team on the tail end of the 2002-03 season was a surprise to absolutely nobody. His 75 percent field goal percentage with the 49ers during the season would have him ranked 28th among kickers.

    Cortez shuffled between several teams during the next few seasons (including a stop in Dallas where he was particularly well liked).

    Amazingly, the 49ers turned to Cortez for a single game in 2005. He missed his only kick (but to be fair he totally nailed both of his extra point attempts).

    Cortez, after a short stint as a dockworker, is now working as a Oregon State Police Trooper.


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