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Best NFL Kickers of All Time: Adam Vinatieri, Justin Tucker Headline Top 6

Who are the best NFL kickers of all time? We offer our top six, which includes Patriots legend Adam Vinatieri and Ravens star Justin Tucker.

Published on June 15, 2024 | 9:00 AM EDT

For the latest installment in Pro Football Network’s Iconic series, we’re looking at the most thankless position in professional sports: field goal kicker.

Kickers get none of the credit if their team wins and all of the blame if they miss a big kick in a loss. Nailing a game-winning kick in a Super Bowl — yes, we’re foreshadowing — is just about the only way for a kicker to become a household name.

But who are the best NFL kickers of all time? We ranked the top six, along with four honorable mentions.

6 Best NFL Kickers of All Time

Honorable mentions: Jan Stenerud, Jason Hanson, Jason Elam, Matt Stover

6) Stephen Gostkowski

Stephen Gostkowski’s career ended in an injury-riddled whimper, and many New England Patriots fans will tell you they didn’t trust him in big moments. But the numbers don’t lie: Gostkowski is one of the best kickers in history.

He’s 12th all-time with an 86.344 field-goal percentage and 16th all-time with 392 makes. A two-time first-team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, Gostkowski also was far better in clutch moments than he was given credit for. Additionally, he holds the NFL record for consecutive PAT conversions with 523.

5) Lou Groza

Some would put Lou Groza much higher on their lists, but he’s No. 5 on ours.

Groza’s stats aren’t overly impressive (just a 54.886 field-goal percentage), but his impact on field-goal kicking is immense. He was the first kicker to be considered a threat from 40-50 yards, a true special-teams weapon for the Cleveland Browns.

Groza, who also played on the offensive and defensive lines, finished his Hall of Fame career with nine Pro Bowl nods and four NFL championships.

4) George Blanda

George Blanda famously played both quarterback and kicker during his illustrious 26-year career. He won AFL MVP, NFL MVP, and earned four Pro Bowl nods.

Like Groza, Blanda didn’t post amazing field-goal stats. But he revolutionized the position and made an NFL record 943 extra points while playing in parts of four different decades.

3) Morten Andersen

Morten Andersen was the best kicker of the 1980s. He posted a mediocre 79.69 field-goal percentage, but nevertheless, ranks second all-time with 565 made field goals.

The seven-time Pro Bowler played until he was 47, suiting up for five different teams during his long career. Andersen spent the most time with the New Orleans Saints, with whom he earned two first-team All-Pro selections.

2) Justin Tucker

If we were focusing solely on stats and talent, Justin Tucker probably would be No. 1 on this list. But he’s second for now, with a chance to rise higher if he continues playing at a high level and authors a signature postseason moment or two.

Tucker currently ranks first all-time with a stunning 90.18 field-goal percentage. He’s remarkably accurate, even from long distance. Tucker’s the best kicker of his generation and remains a weapon for the Baltimore Ravens.

1) Adam Vinatieri

Is Adam Vinatieri statically the best kicker of all time? No, as evidenced by his 83.776 field-goal percentage (32nd all-time) and occasional struggles from 50+ yards. But he was the best kicker of his era and lands on this list due to his postseason heroics.

Vinatieri famously kicked a game-winning field goal for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI and repeated the feat two years later against the Carolina Panthers. His two field goals in the snow against the Oakland Raiders in 2001 also are among the most impressive kicks in NFL history.

Vinatieri actually played more seasons for the Indianapolis Colts (14) than for the Patriots (10). But he made his name in New England and one day will land in the franchise’s Hall of Fame.

Again, you could make a case for Tucker being the best kicker of all time. But if you asked most people who they want to kick for a Super Bowl win, their answer probably would be Vinatieri.