NFL Nation: Tom Tupa

Kickers are people, too

February, 3, 2009
2/03/09
9:45
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The latest Pro Football Hall of Fame class was chosen Saturday. It was the 47th election, and for the 46th time, a full-time kicker or punter wasn't in the group.

They simply don't rate.

That's why Rick Sang founded the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame last year.

"The most impacting statement is that in 90 years of pro football, there's only one kicker inducted," Sang said. "You think about that. It's a major void.

 
  Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
  Jan Stenerud is the only kicker on the Hall of Fame.

"The American Football Kicking Hall of Fame was about being proactive and not complaining about what the NFL wasn't doing. Their names aren't even coming up. There's so many guys you have to think about 'Who are they?'

"We just don't want them to be forgotten."

While part-time kickers such as Sammy Baugh, George Blanda and Lou Groza are enshrined in Canton, Jan Stenerud is the only pure leg-swinger to be honored.

The Kicking Hall of Fame inducted its second class two weeks ago. Added to the inaugural class of Baugh, Blanda, Groza and Jim Thorpe were Ray Guy, Pete Gogolak and Ben Agajanian.

"You make fun of kickers for not getting their uniforms dirty, or you say 'They don't hardly play.' And then you turn around and induct an owner," said Sang, also the director of ProKicker.com and a member of the Greater Augusta Sports Council in Georgia.

"It's a team sport, and if you're the best at your position and you impacted the game you deserve to be recognized."

Not acknowledging kickers isn't limited to Canton. Three AFC East teams fete their finest -- the Buffalo Bills have a Wall of Fame, the Miami Dolphins have an Honor Roll, the New England constructed the Hall at Patriot Place -- and none salute a kicker.

With Sang's cause in mind, here are the greatest kickers and punters in each AFC East club's history:

(Read full post)

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