Justin Tucker repeats as AP’s best kicker
Justin Tucker stunned everyone with a miss.
It was Tucker’s first career miss after nailing 222 straight.
Despite the shank, Tucker was voted the top player in the league at his position for the second straight year by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press.
“With the best numbers in NFL history despite kicking in the Northeast and outdoors, is there any question Tucker tops this list?” said New York-based writer Barry Wilner.
Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history at 90.1 percent, received 92 points in a 10-points-to-one-point system with six of 10 first-place votes.
Gostkowski received 79 points, including one first-place vote, and appeared on every ballot along with Tucker and Vinatieri.
“Gostkowski is consistent, clutch and deadly accurate,” said New York-based Dennis Waszak Jr. “He replaced Adam Vinatieri in 2006 and the Patriots‘ kicking game never missed a beat.”
Zuerlein, who received 63 points, has a powerful leg and is 26 of 45 (57.7 percent) from beyond 50 yards in his career, though the Rams don’t need to call him much any longer because they find the end zone quite often.
“‘Greg the Leg’ can deliver from long range with the best of them,” San Francisco-based Josh Dubow said.
Vinatieri set a pair of NFL records this season, surpassing Hall of Famer Morten Anderson for most points and most field goals. The GOAT turns 46 on Dec. 28 and is in his 13th season with Indianapolis after 10 years in New England, where he helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls by making game-winning kicks in the final seconds in two of the wins.
Vinatieri received 55 points and a first-place vote from Simmi Buttar.
“Doesn’t matter how old he is. He’s got the most points ever in NFL history. Case closed,” said Buttar, who is based in New York.
Wil Lutz finished fifth, one point behind Vinatieri. He is 19 of 20 on field goals for the Saints. Lutz got a pair of first-place votes.
“He’s come through when called upon for a field goal, and he’s limiting opponents in the return game by consistently sending kicks into the end zone,” Nashville-based Teresa Walker said.
Carolina’s Graham Gano was sixth with 39 points. Kansas City’s Harrison Butker was seventh with 35 points. Jason Myers of the New York Jets was eighth with 25 points. Buffalo’s Stephen Hauschka came in ninth with 22 points. San Francisco’s Robbie Gould edged Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell for 10th. Boswell is second behind Tucker on the all-time accuracy list at 87.7 percent.