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Factoid

A leg up

Kickers hitting more long field goals than ever before

Graham Gano made a field goal from 57 yards on Thursday night, and it wasn’t a big deal. It was expected. That’s how good kickers have become in today’s game.

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I remember there being kickers who could hit from 50-plus, and they were in the minority. You were aware of those guys going into drafts (particularly in leagues giving bonuses for longer kicks). And there were definitely kickers who couldn’t hit from 50-plus.

Nowadays, everyone can hit from 50-plus, and a growing number don’t seem to have much problem going past 55 yards. The position as a whole is better than ever before.

Consider Jake Elliott. He’s made field goals from 56 and 61 yards in his first two games, and he made field goals from 56 and 59 in his final two preseason games. Back in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, there were only 28 successful kicks over 55 yards in those 30 seasons – Elliott has made them four weeks in a row.

Kickers just keep getting stronger and better. There were 50 field goals from at least 55 yards last year, almost twice as many as ever before. It’s early (we’re only two weeks in), but teams are currently on pace to finish with close to 10 more this season.

And with defenses running ahead of offenses right now, I think we’ll continue to see plenty of field goal attempts this season.

FIELD GOALS FROM 55-PLUS
YearFGFGAPct
2002212.167
2003413.308
2004211.182
2005515.333
200638.375
2007416.250
2008815.533
2009623.261
20101021.476
20111329.448
20121738.447
20131226.462
20141431.452
20151324.542
20161536.417
20172442.571
20182643.605
20191637.432
20202548.521
20212654.481
20225082.610
2023716.438

Here’s the rundown of individuals who’ve attempted field goals from at least 55 yards so far.

FG ATTEMPTS FROM 55-PLUS YARDS
YearPlayerOppResultDistGood?
2023Jake Elliott, Phil.Min.W 34-2861Y
2023Justin Tucker, Balt.at Cin.W 27-2459N
2023Joey Slye, Was.at Den.W 35-3359N
2023Brett Maher, LARat Sea.W 30-1357N
2023Graham Gano, NYGat S.F.L 12-3057Y
2023Jake Moody, S.F.at LARW 30-2357Y
2023Chase McLaughlin, T.B.at Min.W 20-1757Y
2023Brett Maher, LARat Sea.W 30-1356N
2023Jake Elliott, Phil.at N.E.W 25-2056Y
2023Jason Myers, Sea.at Det.W 37-3156N
2023Dustin Hopkins, Cle.at Pitt.L 22-2655Y
2023Jason Sanders, Mia.at N.E.W 24-1755N
2023Matt Prater, Ari.NYGL 28-3155N
2023Brandon Aubrey, Dall.NYJW 30-1055Y
2023Wil Lutz, Den.L.V.L 16-1755N
2023Jake Elliott, Phil.Min.W 34-2855N

Statistics compiled using search tools at Pro-Football-Reference.com

—Ian Allan

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