Thursday, March 8, 2012

Random update

This blog has been out there for a while, but obviously hasn't been too active other than updating the Random List of Straight-on Kickers. We've started a Facebook page a while back which has about 70 members and just started a Twitter feed @StraightOnKicke.

It's been fun to see the network of straight-on kickers and friends come together over the last few years here and hope to keep it going. We're always interested in cool stories on current straight-on kickers and updates and memories from the glory days.

Thanks again and keep on straight-on kicking!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Honor Roll of Straight-On Kickers

Kicker, NFL Teams, Years, College/High School

Cole Wigal, Warren High School, Vincent, Ohio, 2013
Tom Thompson, Austin College, 2009
Matt Piotrowicz, Florida, 2001-04
Scott Van Order, Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 1995
Steve Harrison, Brown University, 1989
Jamie Kent Harrison, Maryville University, 1989
Steve Cox, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, 1981-88, Arkansas
Dirk Borgognone, University of Pacific, 1988
Steve Carlson, Normandale CC, Minnesota, 1980-84
Russell Erxlaben, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, 1979-87, Texas
Tom Birney, Green Bay Packers, 1979-80, Michigan State
Dean Van Order, Wisconsin - Stevens Point, 1979
Mike Morgan, Whitefish Bay High School, 1979-80
Greg Loyda, Whitefish Bay High School, 1978-79
Rick Danmeier, Minnesota Vikings, 1977-82, Souix Falls
Jim Behlmer, Whitefish Bay High School, 1971
John Leypoldt, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, 1971-78, N. Virginia CC
Mark Moseley, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, 1970-86, Stephen Austin
Jim O' Brien, Baltimore Colts, Detroit Lions, 1970-73, Cincinnati
David Ray, Los Angeles Rams, 1969-74, Alabama
Curt Knight, Washington Redskins, 1969-73, Coast Guard
Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers, Buffalo Bills, 1969-79, Palomar JC
Don Cockroft, Cleveland Browns, 1968-80, Adams State
Dale Livingston, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, 1968-70, Western Michigan
Fred Mitchell, Wittenberg University, 1968
Mac Percival, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, 1967-74, Texas Tech
Errol Mann, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, 1964-1979, North Dakota
Jim Turner, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, 1964-79, Utah State
Bruce Gossett, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, 1964-74, Richmond
Mike Clark, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, 1963-73, Texas A&M
Fred Cox, Minnesota Vikings, 1963-77, Pittsburgh
Bob Jencks, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, 1963-65, Miami (OH)
Jim Bakken, St. Louis Cardinals, 1962-78, Wisconsin
Jerry Kramer, 1962-63, Green Bay Packers, Idaho
Mike Mercer, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers, 1961-70, Arizona St.
Gino Capelletti, Boston Patriots, 1960-70, Minnesota
Roger LeClerc, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, 1960-67, Trinity
Danny Villanueuva, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, 1960-67, New Mexico St.
Gene Mingo, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1960-70
Tommy Davis, San Francisco 49ers, 1959-69, LSU
John Aveni, Chicago Bears, 1959-61, Indiana
Wayne Walker, Detroit Lions, 1958-72, Idaho
Lou Michaels, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers, 1958-71, Kentucky
Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, 1957-67, Notre Dame
Steve Myhra, Baltimore Colts, 1957-61, Minnesota, North Dakota
Paige Cothren, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, 1957-59, Mississippi
Don Chandler, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, 1956-67, Florida
Gerry Perry, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Lions, 1954-62, California, Pepperdine
Sam Baker, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, 1953-69, Oregon St.
Bert Rechilar, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Titans, 1952-61, Tennessee
Pat Summerall, Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals, New York Giants, 1952-61, Arkansas
Fred Cone, Green Bay Packers, 1951-57, Clemson
Bobby Walston, Philadelphia Eagles, 1951-62, Georgia
Gordie Saltau, San Francisco 49ers, 1950-58, Minnesota
George Blanda, Baltimore Colts, Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders, 1949-75, Kentucky
Lou Groza, Cleveland Browns, 1946-67, Ohio State
Pat Harder, Chicago Cardinanls, Detroit Lions, 1946-53, Wisconsin
Ben Agajanian, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, 1945-64, New Mexico
Jack Manders, Chicago Bears, 1933-40, Minnesota
Ken Strong, New York Stapletons, Giants and Yankees, 1929-47, NYU

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Straight Stuff on Straight-on Kickers

The straight-on style of placekicking is a lost art in American football. Since the 1980s, soccer-style kickers have dominated the sport, leaving straight-on kickers with little more than fond memories and the occasional highlight on ESPN Classic or the NFL Network.

Unless you were born before 1970, you probably don't remember seeing a straight-on kicker live and in action. Straight-on, or conventional-style kickers, approach the ball in a straight line and kick with the toe. Soccer-style kickers, who began to appear in the 1960s, approach the ball from and angle and kick with the instep.

Straight-on kickers hold a special place in football history. I should know, as I was the last straight-on kicker at my high school in 1980 and truly among the last of a dying breed. Only a few straight-on kickers now exist at the high school and college levels. Maybe someday straight-on kickers will make a comeback, but until then, we can only remember the glory that was the straight-on kicker.

Some of the great straight-on kickers include Mark Moseley, Jim Bakken, Russell Erxlaben, Fred Cox, Don Chandler, Don Cockroft and Errol Mann. Straight-on kickers like George Blanda, Lou Groza, Paul Hornung, Gino Capelletti, Gene Mingo and Bob Waterfield excelled at other positions, while many straight-on kickers also handled punting duties. Straight-on kicker Tom Dempsey held the record for longest NFL field goal of 63 yards for 28 years until it was tied by Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos in 1998.

Great moments in the history of straight-on kicking include Groza's 16-yard field goal to win the 1950 NFL title game, Chandler's winning field goal in the 1965 NFL play-offs, Dempsey's 63-yarder on November 8, 1970, Jim O' Brien's winning field goal in Super Bowl V on January 17, 1971 and Mike Morgan's 38-yard field goal at Whitefish Bay on November 4, 1980. Moseley was the last full-time straight-on kicker in the NFL and 1982 league MVP, ending his career in a 1987 play-off game for Cleveland. Part-time kicker Steve Cox kicked one field goal and three extra points for the Redskins in 1988. Erxlaben kicked a 67-yard field goal for the University of Texas in 1977 and still shares the NCAA record.