Getting back onto the topic of kickers and punters, mainly because they never get enough love and because I used to be one myself. Yes, even I was a kicker back in the day.
So I wanted to touch on this mainly because of how elite the NFL kickers and punters are becoming nowadays. I mean I can remember back in the day when the NFL average was right around 40 yards per punt and if you could make a 50+ yard field goal in a game you were considered “elite”.
I’ve actually taken a step back and tried to figure out why this is happening. Besides the fact that players are just developing into more of a robot over time, is there something else that is happening that is allowing these kickers to knock in 60, 65 and even 70 yarder’s wise ease?
We all know they aren’t on steroids because they are under strict NFL guidelines and regulations and the playing field is still the same.
What has changed?
Let me tell you what I figured out…
Kickers, punter and even snappers nowadays are all being trained by skill specific coaches starting at a young age. Even a simple search for kicking lessons and camps in Dallas, Tx will allow you to notice the stiff competition of kicking coaches in the area.
I even found one kicking coach who even starts youth kickers as young as 9 years old! Is this the difference? YES. Back when I was growing up there were no kicking coaches. All we had was a head coach who thought he knew everything. His words 90% of the time were “keep your head down” or
make sure you aren’t kicking across your body, but NOW these guys are breaking every little aspect of the position down.
This is the main reason specialists are achieving such high levels of success now. The sport as a whole is developing into a machine and I don’t see it breaking anytime soon. How far will the kickers be kicking in 10 years from now? 85, 90 yards?
Of course I don’t see that ever happening, but here is a video of a 80 yarder from a COLLEGE kicker at UT. Although this is impressive, the PAT he missed 2 weeks ago to help lose the game were not. Fast forward to 0:56 in the video.