Whether it be Zane Gonzalez missing 4 kicks versus the Saints, Daniel Carlson missing 3 kicks against the Packers, or Cody Parkey and Chris Boswell just being flat out terrible all season, kicking has had a rough year. Or so you think? Contrary to popular belief, kicking has actually been terrific this year.
Image: (USA Today FTW)
The total Field Goal percentage across the league this year is 84.7%, second EVER only to 2013 (86.5). The percentage from 50+ yards has sat at a constant peak of ~66% since 2011; and the percentage has also stayed constant from distances under 40 yards, where kickers have made over 90% of their attempts.
One of the main problems for Kickers this year has been from the 40-49 yard range. Most fans believe that is a chipshot, but it has been quite difficult to hit consistently this year. Field Goal attempts have been made at a much lower percent in 2018 (~66%). According to Pro Football Reference, Field Goal percentage hasn’t gone below ~80% since before 2012.
Image: (SB Nation)
The main problem for kickers has been bad games. If Chris Boswell hit a 40 yarder in OT vs the Browns, the Steelers would’ve had a trip to the playoffs. Also, if Daniel Carlson made just ONE of his 3 misses against the Packers, the Vikings would’ve played this past weekend. The thing is, fans only remember bad games for kickers, not great seasons.
This year, ten kickers managed to hold a Field Goal percentage of over NINETY percent. Those kickers were: Josh Lambo, 90%; Dustin Hopkins, 90%; Jason Sanders, 90%; Robbie Gould, 90%; Justin Tucker, 90%; Jason Myers, 92%; Will Lutz, 93%; Daniel Carlson, (with Oakland) 94%; Matt Bryant, 95% and Aldrick Rosas 97%. It is wildly impressive to see these type of numbers from that many kickers, because as a Browns fan, we haven’t seen number like this since the Phil Dawson era.
If kickers haven’t been so bad this year, why are they getting such a bad rap? This answer might surprise you, but it’s Pat Mcafee. Mcafee became an internet sensation with his funny takes on plays from kickers. He calls it, “For the Brand”. They can be for the good:
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 7, 2018
And for the Bad:
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 7, 2019
Before Pat, kickers weren’t really seen as true football players, but he has pushed the slogan “Kickers are People too”, and they have now gotten some well deserved limelight. However, when you receive added good attention, that also means that you get added bad attention. Recently, if a kicker misses three Field Goals in a game, they will be cut the next day, but if a QB throws 3 INTs in a game, it’s just a bad day. It’s unfair to punish kickers on just one bad outing, but when the misses become consistent, then it’s fair to cut them. And for da Bears, they probably should’ve cut Mr. Parkey a long while ago.
Have kickers really been that bad? No, but as a fan, when a guy’s only job is to kick Field Goals, it seems pretty preposterous when they miss… even though it doesn’t happen too often.
Featured Image: (Sports Illustrated)