The list of Pro Football Hall of Fame kickers is a short one, but does Raiders legend Sebastian Janikowski belong on it?
Janikowski is one of the most beloved players to ever don the Silver and Black; that’s no secret. While he’s certainly endeared himself to Raider Nation, the debate over whether he should be a Hall of Famer will soon pick up steam. As most football fans are aware, Enshrinement Week is less than a month away (August 3–6), and Janikowski will now be eligible given his 2018 retirement.
Special teamers don’t often get the recognition they deserve, especially those from the kicking game. In fact, there are only four other kickers currently enshrined in Canton, Ohio. That’s it, just four. Jan Stenerud, Lou Groza, and Morten Andersen make up three-quarters of that foursome. The fourth is another Raiders legend in his own right: George Blanda.
Getting To Canton Could Be Tough For Sebastian Janikowski And Other Raiders
As far as Janikowski’s resume goes, it’s impressive. It’s one that Raiders fans are aware of; he is the organization’s all-time franchise leader in field goals with 414. On top of that, “Sea Bass” went to the Pro Bowl and was a Second-Team All-Pro selection. Looking back, Janikowski’s run from 2010 through 2012 exemplified dominance—31+ field goals made each year in that stretch. He also had the longest field goal of his career during that run—63 yards. As some in Raider Nation will recall, Janikowski was often one of the few bright spots during one of the darkest periods in team history.
Speaking of that time period, the Raiders had another dominant figure on special teams: punter Shane Lechler. He was snubbed last year, failing to qualify as a semifinalist. Lechler is arguably the greatest punter in NFL history, and alongside Janikowski, they formed a duo that was often among the league’s finest. Again, it was during a time when there wasn’t much to be proud of as a Raiders fan.
Another legendary punter was Ray Guy, a Raiders icon with all due respect, and he was nearly snubbed altogether if not for the senior committee. The point being, it could be a long time before both Janikowski and Lechler get their due.
So, does Janikowski get in?
*Top Photo: Getty Images