Field goal kicking across the NFL in 2019 has been far less consistent than any time in recent memory.
Kicking has become remarkably consistent in the NFL. In each of the last five seasons, the conversion rate for field goals has fallen between 84 and 85 percent league wide. But through 11 weeks this season, the NFL is seeing its worst kicking output in 16 years.
According to Teresa Walker of the Associated Press, kickers this season have converted just 79.7 percent of field goal tries. Via Pro Football Reference, 40 kickers have combined to convert 496 of 622 attempted field goals so far this year. The last time the league failed to achieve an 80 percent conversion rate for field goals was in 2003 when just 79.2 percent of field goals were successful.
The league saw field goals converted at an 86.5 percent clip in 2013, which serves as the best conversion rate dating back to at least 1995.In the five years since, the conversion percentage has been 84.0, 84.5, 84.2, 84.3 and 84.7. A five percent drop in success rate is rather significant given the previous consistency.
The Tennessee Titans have been the worst in the league at seeing kicks split the uprights. They’ve converted just 7 of 15 attempts through 10 games. Cairo Santos converted just 4 of his 9 attempts before being released in favor of Cody Parkey. Parkey made all three of his attempts before being let go when Ryan Succop returned from injury. Succop then missed all three of his attempts against the Carolina Panthers in his first game back two weeks ago.
“It’s probably just one of those years,” Titans special teams coach Craig Aukerman said. “Obviously, we’re not up to what we expect, but I just think it’s one of those years that it’s just been down. I mean it’s hard kicking (field goals) in the NFL. … Now are they all professional athletes and they should make them? Yes, no doubt. But next year it’ll probably go back up.”
The 2002 season saw 43 different kickers attempt field goals throughout the season with a conversion percentage of just 77.5 percent. With 40 kickers deployed through 11 weeks this season, that number could also be eclipsed by the kicking regression of 2019.