The best NFL kickers this season
42 different kickers have attempted a field goal in the NFL this year. The Cardinals have used four different place kickers (and Eno Benjamin has taken three kick offs too) in 2022. According to an article on Axios.com back in October “NFL Kickers are hitting longer field goals more than ever.” So just who have been the best kickers in 2022?
What makes someone the best kicker?
There are a few ways to decide who has been “the best kicker” in the NFL. The Cowboys’ Brett Maher has scored more points than anyone in the league this year. Maher’s 128 points account for 29% of Dallas’ total points this season. He’s kicked 90% of the field goals he’s attempted, and he’s only missed two of 11 tries from 50 yards or more. Maher has also kicked 95.6% of the extra points he’s attempted in 2022.
Seahawk Jason Myers has the best field goal percentage in 2022. He has successfully converted 96.4% of his 28 attempts. The only field goal he’s missed this season was from 39 yards. That was ironically indoors at Ford Field in Detroit (and the holder tried to take some of the blame by saying the snap was high). In that same game he successfully kicked six extra points, a 31-yard attempt and a 56 yarder as the Seahawks won 48-45. Myers has also only missed one extra point this season. And it came the following week, again indoors at the Super Dome in New Orleans. Myers is the fifth highest points scorer in the NFL this season.
2022 Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer Justin Tucker has kicked the most successful field goals in 2022 (because of course he has). But he’s also sixth in the league in terms of missed field goals. Mainly due to how erratic the Ravens offense has been this season. Tucker averages 2.5 attempts per game, which is behind only Matthew Wright and Caleb Shudak (who have only played seven games between them). Tucker’s success rate is 84.2% this season. Which ranks him 21st in the league. And his longest kick this season is a 58 yarder which ranks as the 11th longest in the league. Tucker is 33 and contracted until 2027. But if Baltimore continue to rely on him this heavily going forward the road ahead could be a bumpy one.
The longest kicks
Harrison Butker has kicked the longest field goal in the league this season. His 62 yarder against the Bills back in October was just two yards short of Matt Prater’s league record from 2013. The 27-year-old has kicked just 17 field goals in 2022 (ranking him 29th out of the 42). And his success rate of 77.3% is the 30th best in the NFL. Butker has only attempted six field goals from 50 or more yards out and he’s only kicked three of them. So Andy Reid will be hoping his playoff chances don’t depend on a long-range kick.
At the other end of that scale is San Francisco’s Robbie Gould. Who has only attempted two long range field goals all season. But he kicked both of them. Gould has kicked 85.2% of his field goal attempts in 2022 but he’s only missed one of the 42 extra points he’s attempted. Gould’s only real issue this season has been between 40 and 49 yards. He’s kicked six of the nine he’s attempted between those distances. You might think that is because he’s attempted more tries from that range. In reality he’s actually had more attempts from 20 to 29 yards. The 40-year-old hasn’t missed an extra point since the 13th of November.
Daniel Carlson has had an excellent 2022 season in Las Vegas (not many can say that). He has kicked the same number of 50 plus yard field goals as Brett Maher with nine. (Seems kicking indoors is a definite plus). And just like Maher he’s also only missed two from that range. His field goal success rate in 2022 is 90.0%. Which is better than Maher’s and he’s kicked 96.8% of the extra points he’s attempted.
“Do kickers matter?” is an oft asked question. Perhaps some teams can manage without them. But given how this season has featured a plethora of teams who can’t consistently sustain success it’s difficult to imagine they won’t play an important role in January.
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Banner Image: Seattle kicker Jason Myers. Image from seattletimes.com