View Full Version : Accuracy getting the boot in NFL this season

12-16-2009, 06:02 AM
Accuracy getting the boot in NFL this season
By Mark Kaboly, Daily News Sports Editor
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The NFL has done everything it can to make the life of a kicker more and more difficult with very little results.

Nearly a decade ago, the NFL introduced the "K-Ball" after the competition committee decided teams were abusing the privilege of conditioning balls to extend length off the leg.

Kickers quickly adjusted and went about their business. Until now.

Higher and farther hasn't been a problem with kickers this year. Accuracy has, however, especially when it comes to the shorter attempts.

Accuracy on field goals from 30-39 yards has dropped significantly, down 6 percent from two years ago and 5 percent from last year.

As a result, kickers have been earning and losing jobs at an alarming rate.

Washington cut kicker Shaun Suisham after he missed a 23-yarder that could've iced a win over unbeaten New Orleans two weeks ago. The Saints rallied to win it in overtime. The Redskins promptly cut the most accurate kicker in franchise history.

Same thing happened in Atlanta. Veteran Jason Elam was released after making only 8 of 15 kicks of 30 yards or longer, including 4 of 8 from 30-39.

Baltimore released Steve Hauschka for his inaccuracy, too; he missed four of his 13 attempts, including a would-be game winner against Minnesota.

Seattle kicker Olindo Mare missed kicks from 43 and 34 yards during a September loss to Chicago that sent head coach Jim Mora into a tizzy.

"There's no excuses for those," Mora said. "If you're a kicker in the National Football League, you should make those kicks, bottom line. End of story. Period. No excuses."

Mare was not cut, surprisingly: Mare is 21 of 23 on field goals this season.

But he has been the exception.

In 2007, kickers were hitting field goals from 30-39 yards at a record pace. They were successful on 90.7 percent of their attempts.

In 2008, it dipped slightly, down to 89.1 percent.

The number has plummeted this year. Kickers have made 194-of-230 field goals from 30-39 yards, an 84.3 percent success rate. Kicks from 30-49 yards are down 4 percent from the past two years to 78 percent.

But it just isn't the mid-range kicks, either. Kicks of 50 yards and longer are being converted at a 52 percent clip. Even 15 extra points have been missed this year.

Thankfully, short kicks between 19-29 yards have been almost guaranteed. There only has been six kicks from that distance missed.

Steelers' kicker Jeff Reed has avoided the inaccuracy bug, for the most part. After missing a pair of makeable kicks in a loss to Chicago (38 and 43 yards), he has only two other misfires a 52-yarder against Cincinnati and a 53-yarder against Oakland.

But still, his 81 percent conversion rate is second lowest ever in his career. He hit 72 percent his second year in the league.

Can't make the short one

NFL kickers have been having difficulty making kicks between 30-49 yards. Here are the numbers from the past three seasons:


30-39 yards: 194-230 (84.3 percent)

40-49 yards: 140-197 (71.0 percent)

30-49 yards: 334-427 (78.2 percent)


30-39 yards: 286-321 (89.1 percent)

40-49 yards: 225-302 (74.5 percent)

30-49 yards: 511-623 (82.0 percent)


30-39 yards: 253-279 (90.7 percent)

40-49 yards: 208-280 (74.3 percent)

30-49 yards: 461-559 (82.5 percent)



COLTS (13-0): Biggest dilemma is determining the amount of rest for their starters.

SAINTS (13-0): Coming off another close shave against an inferior opponent.

VIKINGS (11-2): Running back Adrian Peterson was focal point in throttling of Bengals.

CHARGERS (10-3): Here's a streak: Bolts have won 16 straight games in December.

PACKERS (9-4): Bring a five-game winning streak Sunday into Heinz Field.


CHIEFS (3-10): Quarterback Matt Cassel picked off four times in loss to the Bills.

BROWNS (2-11): Eric Mangini might have bought some time by beating Steelers.

BUCCANEERS (1-12): At least their lone win is against a quality opponent (Green Bay).

LIONS (2-11): May take years to dig out of mess made by former GM Matt Millen.

RAMS (1-12): Is there a quarterback worth taking with one of the top picks in draft?

12-16-2009, 08:07 AM