NFL Nation: American Football Kicking Hall of Fame

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Kickers and punters pretty much have been ignored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Although some guys who kicked and played other positions have been inducted, Jan Stenerud is the only true kicker to ever make it.

That's not likely to change any time soon, but there finally is a place for kickers and punters to be honored. Rick Sang founded the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame last year and it probably won't be long before the NFC South has some strong representation.

With that in mind, I've decided to pick the best kicker and punter in the history of each NFC South franchise.

New Orleans Saints

Kicker: Morten Andersen. This one's incredibly easy. Andersen spent 13 seasons with the Saints and some would make a case he's the best kicker ever.

Punter: Tommy Barnhardt. Mark Royals had a couple of great seasons with the Saints, but Barnhardt gets the nod because of longevity.

Atlanta Falcons

Kicker: Morten Andersen. Yes, he gets the award for the Falcons, too. Andersen did two stints with the Falcons and spent eight seasons with them.

Punter: John James. The Falcons have a great punter right now in Michael Koenen. But James a three-time Pro Bowler back in the 1970s.

Carolina Panthers

Kicker: John Kasay. This one's as easy as picking Anderson for the Saints and Falcons. Kasay has been with the Panthers since their start in 1995 and has been their kicker throughout their existence, except for a little time off because of injuries. He's been as steady as they come and could kick well into his 40s.

Punter: Todd Sauerbrun. This guy is the best punter to ever walk the planet. But he's a tragic story. In a league that's willing to overlook a lot, Sauerbrun can't even get a job because of his repeated off-field problems.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kicker: Matt Bryant. I'm taking Bryant over Martin Gramatica simply because the current kicker has been more consistent.

Punter: Josh Bidwell. Again, I'm going with the incumbent. After looking at the history of Tampa Bay's punters, that's really the only choice.

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