Saints By Position: Top 5 kickers in franchise history
The kicker plays such an important role on any NFL team.
The ability to kick off and kick touchbacks has always been important but that is the case now, more than ever.
The ability to make field goals inside of 40 yards has become close to automatic. Converting from 40 yards and out is very important. Hitting from outside of 50 yards is huge and has become commonplace.
The New Orleans Saints have been blessed with perhaps the greatest kicker in the history of the NFL and with others who were very accurate, with one who made the biggest kicks in franchise history and another who set an NFL record.
Here are my Top five kickers in New Orleans Saints history:
1) Morten Andersen
2) Garrett Hartley
3) Wil Lutz
4) John Carney
5) Doug Brien
What can you say about Morten Andersen?
“The Great Dane” is the all-time leader in games played in NFL history with 382. At one time, he was the all-time leader in scoring in NFL history, along with being the all-time leader in field goals.
Andersen played 13 seasons with the Saints.
From 1982-94, Andersen earned six Pro Bowl honors with the Saints. He is the all-time leader in points scored in Saints history with 1,318 points, the all-time leader in field goals in franchise history with 302 and in extra points made with 412. Andersen was part of the first four playoff teams in New Orleans Saints history. Andersen played in 196 games, second most in Saints history.
Andersen kicked 40.9 percent touchbacks when they were much more scarce in league play. He made 22 field goals of 50 or more yards.
Andersen kicked the Saints into the playoffs in 1990, making a game-ending field goal to beat the Rams on New Year’s Eve. He made seven field goals in playoff games for the Saints.
Andersen was first team All-Pro in 1986, 1987 and 1992 by various entities.
Andersen was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2009. Andersen was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2015, Andersen became the fourth member of the Saints Ring of Honor. He earned his crowning glory with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Garrett Hartley spent five seasons with the Saints, kicking in 57 games.
Hartley made 81.2 percent of his field goal attempts and was outstanding on extra points, missing just one of 177 attempts. He made six field goals in excess of 50 yards. Hartley scored 422 points for the Saints.
Hartley made his mark in the playoffs in four games for the Saints. He was, in a word, clutch.
In the postseason, Hartley made all eight of his field goal attempts and all 15 of his extra point attempts.
Hartley drilled a 40-yard field goal in overtime to give the Saints a 31-28 victory over Minnesota to win the NFC Championship on January 24, 2010 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Hartley also converted all four extra point attempts.
Then, on February 7, 2010, Hartley set a Super Bowl record, which still stands. He converted all three field goal attempts and all were in excess of 40 yards, a feat never equaled, as the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. Hartley also made both extra point attempts.
Hartley ranks sixth in scoring in New Orleans Saints history.
Wil Lutz was a great pick up by Sean Payton, who touted his ability and projected him to be superb for a long time. Payton appears to have been correct.
As the current kicker for New Orleans, Lutz has kicked four years in 64 games for the Saints. His accuracy is on pace to be the best in franchise history as he has converted 87.5 percent of his field goal attempts. He has made 196 of 202 extra points at the longer distance now in place in the NFL. He has a touchback rate of 64.1 percent on his kickoffs.
Lutz has kicked in five playoff games, making 9 of 12 field goals and all 13 of his extra point attempts.
Lutz made the NFL All-Rookie team in 2016, making 28 of 34 field goal attempts 49 of 50 extra points and had a 52 percent touchback rate on kickoffs.
Lutz earned Pro Bowl honors in 2019 when he made 32 of 36 field goal attempts and 48 of 49 extra points with a 78.7 percent touchback rate on kickoffs.
Lutz has put himself in position to be with the Saints for a long time to come and to eventually pursue the records of Andersen, though that will be hard to attain.
Lutz already ranks fifth all-time in scoring in New Orleans Saints history with 553 points.
John Carney is the second leading scorer in New Orleans Saints history with 768 points.
Carney kicked for the Saints for eight seasons (2001-06, 2009-10).
Carney is second in franchise history with 168 made field goals and 264 made extra points.
Carney was especially good in 2006, when he converted 23-of-25 field goal attempts (92%) and made 46 of 47 extra points for a team that reached the NFC championship game.
Carney was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2014.
Tom Dempsey was memorable for one incredible kick but he was more than that.
Dempsey played just two seasons with the Saints (1969-70), playing in 28 games, but he made his mark.
Dempsey made four field goals in excess of 50 yards, including the NFL record 63-yard field goal on the final play of the game as the Saints beat the playoff-bound Detroit Lions 19-17 on Nov. 8, 1970.
The record would stand for 43 years.
Dempsey was outstanding in 1969. He was named first team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl as the best kicker in the NFL.
He scored 169 points with the Saints.
Dempsey was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1989.
Charlie Durkee spent four seasons with the Saints (1967-68, 1971-72) as the kicker before and after Tom Dempsey.
Durkee was the first kicker in franchise history and he kicked in 46 games. Durkee scored 243 points. He made 87 of 88 extra point attempts with New Orleans.
Rich Szaro kicked in 43 games over four seasons for New Orleans, scoring 191 points.
In his second season in New Orleans, Szaro led the NFL, converting 78.3 percent of his field goal attempts (25 of 29). He was sixth in the NFL with 18 made field goals that season (1976).
John Kasay was with the Saints for just one season (2011) after 15 years with Carolina.
Kasay scored 147 points, making 28 of 34 field goal attempts (82.4%) and made all 63 extra point attempts.
Benny Ricardo was with New Orleans for two seasons (1980-81).
Ricardo made 66.7 percent of his field goal attempts and 94.8 percent of his extra point attempts. He scored 124 points.
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