The kicker is one of the most important positions on an NFL team — and also one of the least visible. This individual can determine how many points a team scores and whether or not it wins a game with a single kick.
The role of an NFL kicker is to put the ball between the uprights during field goal attempts and kick the ball through the end zone during punts, according to Pro-Football Reference. A touchdown is worth six points; a field goal is worth three points; and a punt leads to either an offensive drive (if the punt goes through the end zone) or a turnover (if it is blocked and/or returned). [I’ve Always Wondered: Why Do We Kiss?]
How to become an nfl kicker
The NFL is home to the most physically imposing players in the world. While it takes years for a player to develop his full athletic potential, some have an easier time getting noticed by scouts than others. However, every once in a while, there’s a late bloomer who lacks size or speed but finds ways to score points anyway.
These players typically excel at soccer, which shares a number of similar skills to football. According to NFL Media, Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey played soccer growing up, and was “an All-State midfielder [who] led the team in scoring with 19 goals and five assists” during his senior year of high school. [I’ve Always Wondered: Why Do We Kiss?]
Field goal kicker jobs
It takes more than just soccer experience to become a successful kicker in the NFL. Scouts look for prospects who have both discipline and accuracy. The best placekickers can expect to be picked early in the draft, but some go unselected and are forced to join teams as undrafted free agents.
Football is an extremely demanding sport at any level, and intense weightlifting is part of the training. Players typically spend 70 hours per week working out during the football season, according to Forbes Magazine.
Kick off specialist jobs
For a kicker in the NFL, in-season workouts are generally limited to about 50 hours per week because there are only 17 weeks of games. Rest and recovery time is essential for players to remain in peak physical condition. While strength training continues throughout the summer between seasons, conditioning involves significantly less weightlifting during this span.
Football is so demanding on an NFL player’s body that he could get injured during any activity, according to Bleacher Report. The risk for injury makes the job less appealing to some prospects who might otherwise be interested in pursuing kickers in the NFL. The job comes with a relatively low pay, even at the highest levels of performance, and there are no guaranteed contracts for players who do not make it to camp.
Punters are generally responsible for kicking the ball before a field goal attempt or after a touchdown, punt return or successful onside kick. They can also be used during an offensive drive when teams want to catch the opposing team off guard and avoid fourth down situations. This role can require great leg strength because punters often boot the ball more than 40 yards. Punters often have to remain in close proximity to the line of scrimmage, limiting their ability to throw or run with the ball.
The average salary for a punter is $1 million per year, according to Forbes Magazine. Mathias Kiwanuka has played this position for the New York Giants since being drafted in 2006. He played college football for Boston College, where he was a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and the 2005 winner of the Lou Groza Award for excellence in kicking.