Before you start whining about how they're not real players, lemme just say: shut up. They don't hit or tackle much -- at least not lately -- unless something has gone horribly wrong, but every team makes room on their roster. And they actually get paid to be in the NFL, and last I checked, the F still stands for football. Plus, check the stats and see who scores the most points for most teams. (It's usually the kicker.) And punters play a key role in the field position battle, which is pretty important.
So, now that you've come to believe that kickers are the most important players on the field (that was easy), let's review the Rushmore Rules. It's simple: pick the four who most deserve being
part of the division pantheon. No more than four, no fewer than four.
They don't necessarily have to be "the best" in the literal sense of the
word, but they need to be an important part of the game's lore. The job
is tough again this week because there have been so many good ones in
the NFC East.
Here's my Rushmore of NFC East kickers:
Mark Moseley, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles (also Houston and Cleveland) -- The last of the straight-on kickers, Moseley was also one of the game's all-time greats. He played in just two Pro Bowls and was first-team All-NFL just once, but he was also the league's MVP in 1982. Moseley's accuracy (which was good for his era) and range made him a vital part of two Skins Super Bowl teams (one win).
David Akers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins (also San Francisco) -- You could be forgiven for forgetting about Akers' Redskins career. Washington was in the midst of kicker turmoil and Akers got all of one game and two field goal attempts. He missed both and the Skins dumped him for Eddie Murray -- a competent old guy. Akers went on to appear in 6 Pro Bowls, and was named 1st team All-NFL twice -- all for the Eagles. A powerful leg and accuracy made him a fixture in Philly for more than a decade.
Rafael Septien, Dallas Cowboys (also the LA Rams) -- Septien makes this list primarily for his annoying tendency to make big kicks against the Redskins. Oh yeah, he also made a Pro Bowl and was 1st team All-NFL. He led the NFL in scoring once, and was top 5 four other times.
Chip Lohmiller, Washington Redskins (also New Orleans and St. Louis) -- Lohmiller was an excellent kicker for several seasons, and made a passel of clutch kicks for the "Bandwagon" Skins of 1991. That season, Lohmiller led the league in scoring and appeared in the Pro Bowl. He was 2nd in scoring in three other seasons.
These are the guys who were close to the pantheon, but not
quite in it. While they don't get their likeness dynamited into the side
of a cliff, they at least rate a high-quality commemorative plaque hung
at a popular viewing area. The plaques go to:
Pat Summerall, New York Giants (also Detroit Lions and Chicago Cardinals)
Tony Franklin, Philadelphia Eagles (also New England and Miami)
Pete Gogolak, New York Giants (also Buffalo)
Curt Knight, Washington Redskins
Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants (also Kansas City)
Bobby Walston, Philadelphia Eagles
Sam Baker, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles (also Cleveland)
So, that's the Rushmore List of NFC East kickers. Who should move
from the "commemorative plaques" section and who should come down from
the cliff? Who's not on the list that should be
there? Post your list in the comments. Just remember, you get only four
selections, so if you want to add someone, one of the guys I chose needs
to come down. There's only room for four.