A reliable kicker in the NFL must have a strong leg and nerves of steel. Find out more about this feet-first position right here.
NFL Kickers - Strong Mind, Strong Foot
Kickers are the only players in football who are actually allowed to use their feet to move the ball. A kicker relies on a strong leg and good kicking form to boot field goals, take kickoffs and punt the ball. When punting, a player must be skilled in angling the football and kicking it as high as possible so his teammates have a better chance of preventing a punt returner from moving forward very far. A field goal kicker needs to have good kicking form, as well as nerves of steel, since they are often kicking with the game on the line, sometimes in rain, wind or snow. If they make a big kick they're a hero - if they miss, they're a chump and are sometimes booed out of town by fans or traded. Kickers are also often ridiculed for being less than "real football players" since they hardly ever need to tackle, block or go through any of the physical punishement that other position players deal with every game.
NFL Kickers - Football's Best
Adam Vinatieri - Vinatieri is one of the most clutch kickers in NFL history. He has kicked 19 game-winning field goals with less than a minute left in the game and kicked the winning field goals in the New England Patriots' Super Bowl victories in 2002 and 2004.
David Akers - The Philadelphia Eagles kicker has both great power and accuracy. Akers has made the Pro Bowl four times and in 2003, he booted a 57-yard field goal, the longest in Eagles' history.
Neil Rackers - Rackers is one of the few bright spots on the Arizona Cardinals. He set a new NFL record in 2005 by kicking 40 field goals in a season and has hit more field goals over 50 yards in the past two years than any other kicker.
NFL Kickers - Facts and Records
Most kickers in the NFL were soccer players at one time, either in college of high school, which is how they developed good kicking form.
Michael Koenen of the Atlanta Falcons is the only kicker in the NFL who does his team's punting, kick offs and field goal kicking. All the other teams have one kicker who does the punting and one who kicks field goals and kickoffs.
When the scoring system for football was invented in 1883, a field goal was worth five points. It was changed to three points in 1909.
The record for longest field goal ever kicked is shared by Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints who booted a 63-yarder in 1970 and Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos, who matched the feat in 1998. Dempsey kicked his record-setting field goal without any toes since he was born without them on his kicking foot!