Nick Lowery is the best kicker I've seen in my relatively short existence as a Kansas City Chiefs fan. I know a lot of you folks remember Jan Stenerud, but being that he's years ahead of my time, I'm going to stick with Nick Lowery as my generation's best kicker.
Stenerud is one of only three kickers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's one of the first players to only play as a kicker. While he was hitting 70% of his kicks, the rest of the AFL/NFL were combining for 53% so he was a nice model of consistency when the rest of the league was inconsistent.
Some key stats in his 19 year career:
30-39 Yards: 113/150 75.3%
40-49 Yards: 77/150 51.3%
Career with Chiefs: 279/436 64.0%
Career: 373/558 66.8%
Nick Lowery was an undrafted free agent and played for the Chiefs from 1980-1993. He ended his career with multiple Pro Bowls and the leader (at the time) for several big kicking marks including most field goals, most accurate and most 50 yard field goals.
Some key stats in his 18 year career:
30-39 Yards: 144/169 85.2%
40-49 Yards: 100/141 70.9%
Career with Chiefs: 329/410 80.2%
Career: 383/479 80.0%
Obviously Lowery's numbers are better by a long shot. But remember, we're judging eras here. Stenerud was a pioneer and I think that has to be taken into account when comparing his numbers to a modern-day player like Lowery.
Life after Lowery
- 1994-1995- Lin Elliott
- 1996-1999- Pete Stoyanovich
- 2000 - Todd Peterson/Pete Stoyanoich
2001- Todd Peterson
- 2002 - Michael Husted/Morten Anderson
- 2003 - Morten Anderson
- 2004-2006 - Lawrence Tynes
- 2007 - Dave Rayner/Justin Medlock/John Carney
- 2008 - Nick Novak/Connor Barth
For me, the years after Lowery helps define his legacy as one of the Chiefs two best kickers. It seems like since he left, the Chiefs have had miserable luck with kickers, save a couple years of consistency with Pete Stoyanovich.
Like Chris, I grew up not realizing that having a consistent kicker was a luxury, not a right. These past 15 years we've gone from the Kicker Who Shall Not Be Named and to the one year wonder Justin Medlock .
The majority of my years as a fan have been watching kickers being shuffled in and out of here. Drafting one to signing one, to seeing none of them work out. But there have been good times, too. Remember Stoyanovich's 54 yarder to beat Denver? Yeah, I remember that vividly.
But the bad times have outweighed the good which is why I'm so pleased to see Lowery honored. He's joining an impressive list of folks already enshrined in the Chiefs Hall of Fame:
“The wait was even worth it,” Lowery said. “It’s such an honor to have Len Dawson call me up and … welcome me to the Hall of Fame. An honor like this is fantastic whenever it comes. You think about the people that came before you like Buck Buchanan and Derrick Thomas and Mack Lee Hill, who aren’t with us any more, and Lamar Hunt. You appreciate it because life is short."
It was unusual for the Chiefs to have two kickers in 27 years but I guess we just got used to it.