Place kickers go relatively unnoticed in the NFL until they either win or lose a game with their leg. They also go unnoticed when it is time to turn in ballots for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only one pure kicker has his bronze bust in Canton. Each year several are nominated and none make the cut. This year’s list of nominees includes Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos.
Elam played seventeen seasons in the NFL and amassed 1,983 points, good enough to be in the top ten all-time. He was selected to three Pro Bowls, three All-Pro teams and was a two-time Super Bowl champion. He also was the first player to tie Tom Dempsey’s longest field goal of 63 yards, a record that stood for 28 years. Those are very impressive credentials.
The greatest kicker in Broncos history was more than just statistics. He was a clutch performer. He kicked nineteen field goals in nine playoff/title games and missed only three. The most essential of those scoring kicks was a 51 yarder that came at the most necessary time in Super Bowl XXXII. It kept the Broncos in front of the Packers while Terrell Davis sat out the second quarter with a migraine. It was also the second longest field goal in Super Bowl history.
Getting Elam into the Hall of Fame is going to be tough. He has the credentials to warrant the selection, but until the voters decide to go on a “kickers for the Hall of Fame” crusade he is going to be waiting a very long time. The two leading scores of all time, Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson are still on the outside looking in so that does not bode well.
Part 8 of 8 part series: