Two remarkable cuts made late in the preseason went largely unnoticed: The Giants waived kicker Matt Bahr though he had made 76% of his field goals in three seasons with New York, and the Broncos cut kicker David Treadwell though he had been successful on 78% of his three-point tries in four seasons with Denver. It appears that kickers must be well nigh perfect to be guaranteed job security. Bahr's replacement, none other than Treadwell, is nine for nine as a Giant. Treadwell's successor with the Broncos, rookie Jason Elam, was six for six entering Monday night's game.
On Sept. 12 the Saints' Morten Andersen established a league record by converting his 25th field goal without a miss, and on Sunday the Chargers' John Carney went six for six to lift the record to 29 straight. The 91 field goals in the first two weeks of the season was the highest total of any two-week period in league history. While most other statistical averages in the NFL have improved only slightly over the past three decades, field goal percentages have risen dramatically. In 1963 NFL kickers made 48.6% of their three-pointers. So far in '93 they've made 79.7%. The only pure kicker in the Hall of Fame, Jan Stenerud, is 36th on the alltime accuracy list with a percentage—.669—that might get him cut today.
What's going on? For one thing, the explosive growth of youth soccer in the U.S., producing, says Steeler kicker Gary Anderson, "a lot more kids who can kick a football soccer-style and kick it accurately."
The chart below illustrates the increasing accuracy of kickers over the past 50 years. The chart shows, at 10-year intervals, the leaguewide percentage of successful attempts for that year, the career leader in accuracy at that time and his success rate to that point.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]