Who Are NFL Kickers? Ultimate Guide

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Kickers in the NFL are some of the most underappreciated players on the field. Though they may not be making as much as other positions, their importance to a team is undeniable.

This post will look at how much NFL kickers make and why they are crucial to field success.

What Is The Kicker In The NFL?

An NFL kicker is a specialist responsible for kicking the ball during field goal and extra-point attempts. They are usually drafted in the later rounds of the NFL draft, and they typically don’t see much playing time on offense or defense. However, their impact on the game can be huge, as they often differ between winning and losing.

Kickers must handle pressure, as they are often called upon to make crucial kicks in important game moments. If they miss, it can be devastating for their team. The best kickers in the NFL are often remembered for their heroics, and they can become cult heroes among their fans.

Some of the most famous kickers in NFL history include Adam Vinatieri, Morten Andersen, and Jason Elam.

Evolution Of The Kicker

The first recorded instance of a “kicking tee” being used in football came in 1883 when Walter Camp, considered the father of American football, introduced the device to Yale players. The kicking tee soon gained popularity, and by 1904, it was a standard item on football sidelines across the country.

Kickers have come a long way since then. In the sport’s early days, most kicks were low and short, making it difficult to score from long range. But as the game has evolved, so has the kicking game. Today’s kickers are some of the strongest and most accurate athletes, capable of hitting field goals from distances well over 50 yards.

And while the kicking game may not always be the most exciting part of football, it can often be the difference between winning and losing. Ask any fan who has seen their team lose a close game because of a missed field goal.

How Much Do NFL Kickers Make?

NFL Kickers make an average salary of $1.48 million as of 2019. Salaries for NFL kickers range from $500,000 to $5 million per year. The median salary for all NFL players is $2 million.

Kickers are typically paid less than other positions because their job is considered less important, and they generally don’t play as many snaps. However, some kickers have been able to command large salaries due to their success on the field.

Kickers have a relatively short career compared to other positions in the NFL. The average career length for a kicker is just over four years. This is because kickers are often replaced when they start to miss too many field goals or extra points.

As a result, NFL teams are always looking for young, talented kickers who can be developed into long-term starters.

Who Is The Highest Paid Kicker As Of 2022?

As of 2022, the highest-paid kicker in the NFL is Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens. Tucker earns $5 million per year in terms of average annual salary. His nearest competitor, Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Falcons, earns an average of $4.85 million yearly.

Tucker has made over $33 million in total earnings since he entered the league in 2012. He is considered one of the best kickers in NFL history. He has been selected for the Pro Bowl three times and was named First-team All-Pro in 2016.

Tucker’s success is due in part to his incredible accuracy. He has made 91.1 percent of his field-goal attempts, the highest percentage in NFL history. He is also proficient at long-range kicking, with the longest field goal in NFL history at 66 yards.

Difference Between Punters & Kickers

In the NFL, the primary difference between a kicker and a punter is that kickers are responsible for kicking field goals and extra points, while punters are responsible for kicking the ball on punt plays. 

While both positions require strong leg muscles and accuracy, kickers must also have the ability to generate a high level of power to make long field goals. At the same time, punters must be able to control their kicks to ensure that the ball travels a good distance without being intercepted. 

In general, kickers tend to be taller than punters, as they need to generate more power, while punters tend to be shorter and more agile so they can run down the field to make tackles if necessary.

How Much Do NFL Punters Make?

Punters in the National Football League (NFL) earn an average salary of $1.07 million per year, significantly more than the average salary for all other professional athletes. The highest-paid punter in the NFL is currently Johnny Hekker of the Los Angeles Rams, who earns an annual salary of $3.7 million.

Punting is a significant part of the game of football, as it can help a team gain an advantage over its opponents. A good punter can pin an opponent deep in its own territory, making it difficult for that team to score points. In addition, a good punter can also help his team win the field position battle, which can ultimately lead to more points and a victory.

NFL punters who consistently perform at a high level can expect to earn an excellent salary. However, like all professional athletes, they must be prepared to face the possibility of being cut from their team if they do not perform up to par.

Why NFL Kickers Are Athletes

NFL kickers are often considered players who are not really “athletes.” But the truth is, they are some of the most athletic players on the field. Here’s a look at why:

Kicking requires a lot of coordination and strength. The kicker has to generate enough power to send the ball through the uprights from long distances. In addition, kickers have to be able to control their bodies and maintain their balance while kicking. This takes a lot of practice and repetition.

Kickers also have to be quick and agile. They need to be able to run down the field quickly to make a tackle if necessary. And they need to change directions quickly to avoid being blocked by the opposing team’s players.

Why The Kicker Is So Important In The NFL

Kickers might not get the glory of other positions on the football field, but make no mistake – they are integral to the game. A good kicker can distinguish between winning and losing, and their contributions are often underrated. 

1. Ability To Score Points: In a close game, every point counts, and a good kicker will ensure his team has every opportunity to put points on the board. A missed field goal can be devastating, while a successful one can be a huge momentum boost.

2. Role On Special Teams: A good kicker can make a big difference in the field position battle, which can be critical in winning or losing a game. A missed field goal can give the opposition an excellent field position, while a successful one can help pin them back deep in their territory.

3. Psychological Impact On a Game: A missed field goal can deflate a team’s confidence, while a successful one can give them a big boost, particularly in close games where every point is crucial.

Kicking Can Be More Mental Than Physical

For NFL kickers, the mental game can be just as important as the physical one. Kickers must keep their composure and trust their training and mechanics in the most pressure-filled situations. The pressure to perform in front of thousands of fans and millions of television viewers can be overwhelming, and the margin for error is very small.

Many kickers say that visualization is a big part of their success. Before each kick, they visualize themselves making the perfect kick. They see the ball soaring through the air and splitting the uprights. This positive reinforcement helps them to stay focused and confident when they are on the field.

Kickers also have to be mentally tough to deal with the inevitable misses. A missed field goal or extra point can be devastating, but kickers need to have a short memory and move on to the next kick. If they dwell on their mistakes, it will only make things worse.

Kickers Face Great Scrutiny

Kickers often face a lot of scrutiny from fans and media alike. There is a perception that kickers are not “real” football players and do not deserve the same respect as other positions. This can be frustrating for kickers, who put in a lot of hard work and dedication to their craft.

Kickers may face more scrutiny because they are often relied upon to make big plays in crucial moments. A missed field goal or extra point can often be the difference between a win and a loss. As such, there is a lot of pressure on kickers to perform at a high level.

Also, their success or failure is often very visible. Unlike other positions, a missed field goal or extra point is usually displayed on the scoreboard for everyone to see. This can be embarrassing for a kicker and lead to fan and media criticism.

Despite the challenges, kickers play a vital role in football. They are often the difference between a win and a loss, and their success or failure can have a big impact on the outcome of a game. Kickers who rise above the scrutiny and perform at a high level will find themselves in high demand.

Tips For Becoming A Better Kicker

1. Practice, Practice, Practice: Kicking is all about repetition and muscle memory. The more you kick, the better you will become at it. Make sure to practice in all types of weather and conditions to prepare for anything on game day.

2. Work On Your Accuracy: A good kicker is not only powerful but accurate as well. Work on kicking the ball through targets or into a net to improve your aim.

3. Build Up Your Leg Strength: A strong leg is key for a successful kick. Incorporate exercises like squats and lunges into your workouts to build up the muscles in your legs.

4. Stay Calm Under Pressure: When the game is on the line, it’s up to you. Practice kicking in pressure-filled situations to handle the nerves come game time.

5. Have Confidence In Yourself: Believe that you can make the kick, and you will be more likely to succeed. Approach each kick with confidence and positivity, and you’ll be one step closer to becoming an NFL kicker.

Confidence Is Key

When it comes to playing the role of an NFL kicker, confidence is key. This is because, as with any other position in football, kickers are required to have a particular skill set that can only be perfected through years of practice and experience.

While some may view confidence as a trait that cannot be taught, there are various methods that kicking coaches use to instill confidence in their players. For example, one standard method is mental visualization, which involves having the kicker visualize themself making successful kicks in game-like situations.

Many coaches also encourage their kickers to focus on the positive aspects of their kicking abilities, such as their strong leg or previous successes, to help them maintain a high confidence level.

Conclusion

NFL kickers are important and undervalued because they can make or break a team. Their ability to make last-minute, game-winning kicks can be the difference between winning and losing. The kicker can often be the deciding factor in a league where teams are so evenly matched.