Ranking the five best Tennessee Titans kickers and punters to ever grace the two-tone blue since the team became the Titans in 1999.
The Tennessee Titans are starting minicamp soon after wrapping up OTAs, and the news from the team had been relatively scarce. Finally, some good news came in the form of Eric Decker signing with the team.
While we bring you plenty of notes from the things happening around the team, this period allows us to travel back in time and look at the franchise’s past. Up next in a series of the best Titans players at every position are the kickers and punters.
NOTE: These lists will only feature players that played for the team since they became the Titans in 1999.
5. Al Del Greco (1991-2000)
This might be cheating a bit, as most of Del Greco’s career with the Titans came before 1999, but he did play for the team in 1999 and 2000. And in those two seasons, at ages 37 and 38, Del Greco was as dynamite as he had been for the franchise since 1991. In ’99 and ’00, Del Greco hit at a an 84.0% and 81.8% clip, respectively, and nailed both of this 50 yard attempts.
Throughout his 10-year Oilers and Titans career, Del Greco poured in 246 of 295 field goals. That 83.4% field goal accuracy would’ve ranked 20th in NFL history if he hadn’t struggled immensely during his first eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers and Phoenix Cardinals. Though he doesn’t rank 20th, another Titans kicker coming up on this list does.
4. Craig Hentrich (1998-2009)
A staple of Tennessee Titans special teams units from 1999-2009, Hentrich was an iron man for the franchise for 11 years, with his final season being cut very short by an injury landing him on injured reserve. While Hentrich could boom it from time to time, his game was focused more on pinning opponents inside their own 20 yard line, a feat he accomplished often throughout the 2000’s. He also only had one punt blocked throughout his 12 years with the team. One of the more recognizable Titans in recent memory.
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3. Ryan Succop (2014-present)
After Succop was let go by the Kansas City Chiefs following a poor 2013 season, the Titans signed the veteran to a one-year deal. Succop nailed 19 of 22 field goals in his first season and earned himself a three-year deal. Succop was hamstringed by inept Titans offenses through his first two seasons in Nashville, attempting only 38 total field goals during that span. He was very efficient, though, as he missed just five of those 38. His field goal percentages in each of those season were career-highs.
Not to be outdone, as the Titans offense reached a whole new level, so did Succop. In 2016, he set a career-high field goal percentage, hitting 22 of 24 field goals for a 91.7% clip, good for fourth-best in the NFL. He also provided Titans fans with one of the best moments in recent franchise memory. Succop might soon supplant Bironas for #1 on this list. He’s been that good since signing with the Titans.
2. Brett Kern (2009-present)
Hentrich was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Kern has gone above and beyond since joining the Titans midway through the 2009 season. A man with a golden leg, Kern has averaged 45.3 yards per punt during his career. That mark already ranks him 14th on the all-time list. Aside from the traditional numbers, Kern has routinely graded out well with analytical sites. His stellar 2015 season had him ranked second out of all punters on Pro Football Focus’ metrics. Kern combined with Bironas and now combines with Succop to give the Titans one of the better kicker and punter combos in the league since he joined the team in Nashville. At 31 years old, Kern still has a lot of good football left in Tennessee.
1. Rob Bironas (2005-2013)
Undrafted in 2001 out of Georgia Southern, Bironas bounced around three NFL teams and three Arena Football teams before signing with the Titans and winning the starting kicker job outright. While his first two seasons were far from perfect, Bironas was one of the most reliable kickers in all of football for the seven subsequent seasons. Armed with deadly accuracy and a cannon of a right leg that helped him clear 60 yards in 2006, Bironas gave the Titans many memorable moments and wins.
Bironas was an Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 2007, tied the NFL record for most game-winning field goals in a season in 2005, and set the records for most field goals and points by a kicker in one single game. Bironas tragically lost his life in a car crash in September of 2014. The memories he gave many Titans fans will never be forgotten; neither will his incredible work ethic, attitude and talent. A legendary Titan.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Nedney (not all that great in his 33 games with the team), Gary Anderson (a great kicker who was around forever, Anderson spent his last two seasons at ages 44 and 45 with the Titans and performed well)