NFL Nation: Kevin Butler
The former All-Pro, who looks to be completely recovered from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured semitendinosus tendon that forced him to miss the final three games of last year, nailed a 58-yard field goal in the Bears’ 24-21 Week 1 victory over the Bengals -- the longest field goal in franchise history and the most prodigious kick ever made by an NFL kicker in the city of Chicago.
“It’s pretty cool when you get a chance to make a play and help your team out,” Gould said. “The record means a lot because it’s obviously a big year for me. I’m pretty excited about how hard I worked to get back to where I am. To get a chance to go out there in the first week and to have the coaching staff show that kind of confidence in me to hit it is pretty special.”
The fourth-most accurate kicker in league history, Gould is the Bears’ second all-time leading scorer with 908 points, trailing only former kicker Kevin Butler (1,116). If Gould continues to play for the Bears beyond the 2013 season (his contract is set to expire after the year) he would likely hold all of the Bears’ kicking and scoring records before the end of his career.
“My goal is to try and be as consistent as I can every single day of the week,” Gould said. Whatever is going to happens is going to happen. If I leave here with a legacy that’s a pretty high standard for the next guy that comes in here whenever my career is over – that’s kind of my goal. Obviously, I want to stay here forever. I want to have some fun doing it and hopefully help them along the way.”
My AFC East colleague, Tim Graham, has a post detailing the recent formation of the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame -- which exists primarily because only one kicker has been inducted into the more widely-known Pro Football Hall of Fame.
(It's Jan Stenerud, for those who didn't immediately guess.)
We're in early February and there are than two weeks before the next event on the NFL calendar (combine, baby!). So Tim's post got us to thinking: How many kickers and punters from the NFC North would be deserving of induction into the Kicking Hall of Fame?
The best way to identify possibilities is to answer this question: Who is the best punter and kicker in the history of each NFC North team?
I've gone through each team's histories and culled 12 nominations, two for each position on each team. But as many of you have pointed out, I'm still working to perfect my expertise in some corners of the NFC North. So I'd like your help.
|Paul Spinelli/Getty Images|
|Ryan Longwell, now with the Vikings, holds most Packers records for field goals.|
Did I miss anyone? Are any of these names out of place? And who would you pick?
Let me know what you think in the comments section below or in the mailbag. I'll come back later this week with the all-time NFC North kickers and punters team.
Kind of has a nice ring to it, huh?
Kickers: Kevin Butler or Robbie Gould
Comment: Butler had 243 career field goals, over a 100 more than the next kicker on the list. Gould's career conversion percentage of 85.9 is by far the best in Bears history.
Punters: Bob Parsons or Brad Maynard
Comment: Maynard ranks second all-time with a 42.3 gross average and first with 194 punts downed inside the 20. Parsons ranked second with 158 inside the 20.
Kickers: Jason Hanson or Eddie Murray
Comment: Hanson is the Lions' all-time leading scorer, and his 385 career field goals is 141 more than Murray. Hanson's career percentage of 82.2 also bests Murray (75.1).
Punters: Yale Lary or John Jett
Comment: Lary's career gross average of 44.3 yards on 503 punts is amazing. Jett dropped 154 punts inside the 20.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Kickers: Ryan Longwell or Chris Jacke
Comment: Longwell holds most franchise records for field goals. Jacke is a close second.
Punters: Craig Hentrich or Max McGee
Comment: Hentrich had a team-best 42.8 career gross average. McGee averaged 41.6 yards over 11 seasons while also playing receiver.
Kickers: Fred Cox or Gary Anderson
Comment: Cox's 455 career field goals is almost 300 more than the next player. Anderson had a perfect 35-for-35 season in 1998.
Punters: Greg Coleman or Chris Kluwe
Comment: Coleman dropped 154 punts inside the 20-yard line over 10 seasons. Kluwe has the best career gross average (44.8) in team history.