Las Vegas Raiders All-Time Top Five: Kickers

The Oakland, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas Raiders have an outstanding legacy of great players and today we look at the all-time great kickers
Author:
Publish date:

1. Sebastian Janikowski, 2000-2016

The guy they call “Seabass” was selected by the Raiders in the first round (No. 17 overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft out of Florida State, and while some people questioned selecting a kicker in the first round, he became the leading scorer in Silver and Black history. The 6-1, 260-pound Janikowski was born in Poland, where he was a standout soccer player, and moved to the United States when he was 17. He was a star player on the Seabreeze High soccer team in Daytona Beach, Fla., but the football coach recruited him for his senior year and he kicked four field goals of more than 50 yards. Not only that, the left-footed Janikowski reportedly kicked an 82-yard field goal in practice and was named to USA Today’s 1996 High School All-American team. Janikowski accepted a scholarship to Florida State and played for legendary coach Bobby Bowden, who said: “Boy, have you ever thought about how many national championships we might have won if we had Janikowski every year of my career?” Seabass made 66-of-83 field goal attempts and 126-of-129 extra points for 324 points in three years for the Seminoles, third-best in school history, and probably would have been the all-time leading scorer at Florida State had he not declared he was turning pro after his junior year. Before leaving, Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal and five extra points as the Seminoles defeated Virginia Tech, 46-29, in the 2000 Sugar Bowl to win the National Championship for a second straight year. Seabass was selected to the All-American team for the second straight season and also won a second Lou Groza Award as the best kicker in college football. After overcoming a few legal problems, Janikowski had something of a disappointing rookie year for the Raiders, making 22-of-32 field goal attempts, only 68.8 percent, but he did make all 46 of his extra-point tries. He made up for it the next year by making 23-of-28 field-goal tries, 82.1 percent, and all 42 of his extra-point attempts, and he made 50 more in a row before finally missing one in his fourth season, and just kept getting better. On Sept. 12, 2011, in a Monday Night Football Game against the Denver Broncos, Janikowski tied Tom Dempsey’s record for the longest field goal in NFL history with a 63-yarder, although that mark has since been broken. Seabass played 17 seasons for the Raiders, making 414-of-515 field goal attempts and 557-of-562 extra points while setting the franchise scoring record with 1,799 points, obliterating George Blanda’s mark of 863. Janikowski missed the 2016 season because of a back injury and signed with the Seattle Seahawks for his final season in 2017. He made 22-of-27 field-goal attempts and 48-of-51 extra-point tries, closing out a career in which he made 80.4 percent of his field-goal tries and 98.5 percent of his extra-point attempts. Janikowski kicked a field goal of 50 yards or more in every one of his 18 seasons except for 2005 when his longest was 49 yards. He is 10th on the NFL’s all-time scoring list with 1,913 points. Incredibly, Seabass made the Pro Bowl only in 2011, but he still should be a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2023.

2. George Blanda, 1967-1975

Blanda, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is one of the most amazing players in NFL history, having played playing 27 seasons as a quarterback and kicker for the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, and the Oakland Raiders before retiring at the age of 48. The 6-2, 215-pound Blanda was selected by the Bears in the 12th round (No. 119 overall) of the 1949 National Football League Draft out of Kentucky, where he played for legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He played with the Bears from 1949-58 and the Oilers from 1960-66 before Managing General Partner Al Davis brought him to the Raiders for the last nine seasons of his career. Blanda retired from the Bears in 1958 because Coach George Halas wanted to use him only as a kicker, but came back with the Oilers when the American Football League was founded in 1960 and became one of the first stars of the new league. Blanda helped the Oilers win AFL Championships in 1960 and 1961, was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1961, was a four-time AFL All-Star, and was named to the AFL All-Time Team. When the Oilers thought Blanda was washed up in 1967 at the age of 40 after seven seasons and released him, he wasn’t done when he came to Oakland. Blanda backed up quarterback Daryle Lamonica and mentored future star quarterback Kenny Stabler until 1970 when he showed that he had plenty left at both his positions. The Raiders, who had won three consecutive division titles, were 2-2-1 in 1970 when Lamonica went down with an injury early in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Blanda came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes and kicked a field goal to lead the Raiders to a 31-14 victory. The next week in Kansas City, he kicked a 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to tie the Chiefs, 17-17. The following Sunday, Blanda again came off the bench to throw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Warren Wells to tie the Cleveland Browns, 20-20 and then kicked a 52-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to earn the Raiders a 23-20 win. The magic continued the next week when Blanda threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Fred Biletnikoff in the final minutes to defeat the Denver Broncos, 24-19. The five-week streak culminated with Blanda’s 16-yard field goal in the final seconds to beat the San Diego Chargers, 20-17. For this incredible 4-0-1 streak, Blanda was honored as the AFC Player of the Year in 1970. Over the course of his 27-year pro career, Blanda played in 340 games and completed 1,911-of-4,007 passes for 26,920 yards and 237 touchdowns, in addition to connecting on 89-of-189 passes for seven touchdowns in 20 post-season games. Blanda, one of the last straight-on kickers in the NFL, also converted 335-of-639 field goal attempts while making 943-of-959 extra-point tries (98.3 percent), for a total of 2,002 points, seventh in NFL history. In the playoffs, those numbers were 22-of-39 on field goals and a perfect 49-of-49 on extra points for a total of 115 points. He was the all-time leading scorer for the Raiders with 863 points until Sebastian Janikowski went past him and wound up with 1,799. Blanda, who was selected to the All-Time AFL Team and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, passed away on Sept. 27, 2010, at the age of 83.

3. Chris Bahr, 1980-1988

Twenty years before the Raiders selected Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals made an early move for another kicker when they selected Chris Bahr in the second round (No. 51 overall) out of Penn State, and that move paid off, too. The 5-10, 170-pound Bahr kicked for 14 seasons in the NFL with the Bengals, the Raiders, and the San Diego Chargers. Although Bahr, whose brother Matt also was an NFL kicker, was solid throughout his career with a total of 430 points on 241 field goals and 490 extra points, he did his best work in nine seasons with the Raiders. Bahr made 162-of-249 field goal attempts (65.1 percent) and 331-of-350 extra-point tries (94.6) and is the Raiders’ third-leading scorer of all-time behind Janikowski and George Blanda with 817 points. His best season was 1983, when was 21-of-27 on field goals (77.8 percent) and 51-of-53 on extra points for a career-high total of 114 points. His career-long field goal was 55 yards in 1979 with the Bengals, and he also made a 53-yarder and two from 52. Bahr, who was an All-American at Penn State, was selected to the 1976 NFL All-Rookie team and was chosen All-AFC by The Sporting News in 1977. He also made 15-of-19 field goals and all 33 of his extra-point attempts in the post-season, including field goals of 46 and 35 yards, plus three extra points as the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10, in Super Bowl XV, and five extra points and a 21-yard field goal in a 38-9 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. Bahr also was a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Atoms of the North American Soccer League, but played only that season and scored 11 goals with two assists in 22 games. He also played for the 1976 U.S. National soccer team and scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over Bermuda in an Olympic qualifying game. After his NFL career, Bahr graduated from Southwestern Law School and practiced law in California and Pennsylvania until 1999. He now is a financial consultant, managing assets for professional athletes. Bahr holds the annual Chris Bahr Kicking Camp, a three-day clinic for students in grades 7-12 at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.

4. Jeff Jaeger, 1989-1999

The Cleveland Browns selected the 5-11, 190-pound Jaeger in the third round (No. 182 overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft, and all he did in his rookie season was break all of the team’s rookie kicking records, making 14-of-22 field goals attempts, including a long of 48 yards, and connected on all 33 of his extra-point tries for a total of 75 points. However, the Browns brought in free agent kicker Matt Bahr the next season and he beat out Jaeger, who sat out the season before signing with the Raiders in 1989. Jaeger earned the job with the Silver and Black, and kept it for seven years, and is fourth on the team’s all-time scoring list with 667 points, making 152-of-204 field goal attempts (74.5 percent) and 211-of-216 extra-point tries. He played his last four seasons with the Chicago Bears before a hip injury ended his career and he finished with 1,008 points, making 229-of-309 field goal tries and 321-of-327 field goal attempts. Jaeger’s best season was 1991 with the Raiders, when he was 29-of-34 (85.3 percent) on field goals and 29-of-30 on extra points for a total of 116 points, was selected All-Pro, and played in the Pro Bowl. Jaeger tied the Raiders franchise record for the longest field goal with a 54-yarder in 1992, which was broken by Sebastian Janikowski’s 63-yarder in 2011. In 1993, Jaeger made 35-of-44 field goal attempts and 27-of-29 extra-point tries to lead NFL in scoring with a then-Raiders record of 132 points. That year, he also led the NFL in field goals made and tied the all-time NFL mark for field goal attempts, which also has been broken. During a game against the Denver Broncos, Jaeger kicked three field goals, including a 53-yarder in the final seconds to give the Raiders a 23-20 victory. Jaeger was a consensus All-American in his senior season at Washington, where he made at least honorable mention All-American in four consecutive years. In that senior year, Jaeger converted 17-of-21 field goal attempts, including six of seven of 40 yards or more, and 42-of-43 extra-point tries for a total of 93 points to help the Huskies to an 8-3-1 record. He remains Washington’s all-time leading scorer with 358 points and held the NCAA record of record with 80 career field goals until it was broken in 2003 by Billy Bennett of Georgia.

5. Daniel Carlson, 2018-Present

After becoming the all-time leading scorer in Southeastern Conference history while earning three-second team All-American selections and three All-SEC awards at Auburn, Carlson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft (No. 167 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings, but was released early in the season. He had earned the starting job by beating out veteran Kai Forbath, who was cut, but after Carlson missed a field goal in regulation and two more in overtime in a 29-29 tie on Sept. 16, 2018, Carlson was replaced by veteran Dan Bailey. The Vikings’ loss was the Raiders' gain. The 6-5, 215-pound Carlson made only one of his four field-goal attempts with Minnesota, but other than an up-and-down second season, he has shown he might be the next outstanding kicker for the Silver and Black. The Raiders signed him as a free agent later in the 2018 season after they released Matt McGrane, and made 16-of-17 field-goal attempts and all 18 of his extra points in the last 10 games of the season. Although slipping a bit in his second season with the Silver and Black, making 19-of-26 field-goal tries and 34-of-36 extra points for 91 points in a full second season, Carlson bounced back last year by making 33-of-35 field-goal tries, with a career-long of 54 yards, and connecting on 45-of-47 extra-point attempts last season for 144 total points. In Week 1 of the 2020 season, after signing a one-year contract with the Raiders, Carlson kicked two field goals including the 54-yarder and was 4-for-4 on extra points in a 34–30 victory over the Carolina Panthers. After only three seasons, he already ranks 11th in Raiders history with 301 points and certainly will move well into the top 10 next season. In his three years with the Raiders, Carlson has made 68-of-78 field goal attempts and 97-of-101 extra-point tries. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Week 1 and later selected AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for his performance in December. The Raiders placed a second-round restricted tender on Carlson on March 17, 2021, and he signed the tender on April 29. At Auburn, Carlson connected on 92-of-114 field goal attempts, 80.7 percent, with a career-long of 56 yards, and made all 198 of his extra-point tries for a total of 474 points. His brother, Anders, now is the kicker at Auburn.

Please make sure you tell us your thoughts when you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.

Want the latest breaking Las Vegas Raiders news delivered straight to you? CLICK THE FOLLOW button on the top of the page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates for your Las Vegas Raiders when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter, @HikaruKud1