Jan Stenerud, K, Kansas City Chiefs/Green Bay Packers/Minnesota Vikings, 1967-85
Of course, the first question with Stenerud is if any kicker deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. There’s nothing wrong with voting for a pure special teams player, provided he was truly outstanding – Ray Guy’s election was largely met with support.
Stenerud certainly made his mark on the NFL by bringing the soccer-style kick to football. His huge leg caught some attention, as Stenerud set a new record with a 59-yard field goal in high school and made 17 career field goals of over 50 yards – a major accomplishment for his era.
Kickers have gotten much stronger over the years, so that number can’t really be compared to today’s game. Still, some of his other marks fall short of elite level, even by the standards of the year in which he was elected (1991).
Stenerud wasn’t the most accurate kicker, connecting on just 66.8 percent of his career field goals. He led the league in field goal percentage just four times, and was even under 60 percent in eight different seasons.
That percentage would have Stenerud out of a job today, and wasn’t even that great for his era. Peers like Garo Yepremian, Nick Lowery and Matt Bahr played during a similar time frame, were more accurate, and aren’t even close to Hall of Fame consideration.
While Stenerud did win a Super Bowl with a dominant 1969 Kansas City team, he didn’t make any game-winners that would give his resume a boost. There are deserving kickers who will be in the Hall of Fame someday, but Stenerud’s numbers are not worthy.
Next: Fred Dean