Field Goal Kickers and Punters in American Football

Richard Pascuzzi is the co-founder of a wealth management company operating in four distinct areas of wealth management, including estate planning and taxes. Outside of his work as a manager of wealth Richard Pascuzzi enjoys following professional football. During his school years he played football as a pastime.

Professional American football teams dress 46 players per game. In addition to the offensive and defensive players, teams maintain special-teams units that include the punter and field goal kicker. While the positions are the only two in all of American football that actually involve a player’s foot making contact with the ball, the positions are fairly different. Punters are tasked with catching the ball directly from the center’s snap and kicking the ball from their hands, with the goal of pinning the other team deep in their own end of the field. A field goal kicker, on the other hand, kicks the ball from a placed position in the hope of sending the ball through the goal posts and scoring three points for a field goal or one point following a touchdown.

Due to the different demands on each player, teams employ separate individuals to serve in each role rather than allowing a single player to take on all kicking duties. This decision can be attributed to the fact that most coaches would prefer a punter dedicating all of their time to punting and a field goal kicker continuously enhancing his field goal skills. As recently as 2006 the Atlanta Falcons attempted to combine the positions, with Michael Koenen missing all but two field goal attempts in eight tries. The experiment was dropped after just two games.