In the NFL, kickers are often afterthoughts, and considered by some to be “not real football players”. However, teams that don’t have a good one understand just how important the position is. Many games, often big games, come down to nothing more than a kicker’s ability to get the ball between the goalposts. Buffalo Bills fans still have nightmares about the words “wide right”, and just last year, the Baltimore Ravens were a Billy Cundiff kick away from sending the AFC Championship game to overtime. Kickers may not play the physical game that other players do, but they are a vital part of a good team.
The Bengals currently employ Mike Nugent at kicker. Nugent attended Ohio State University, where he either broke or tied a lot of school records, including career points. He was a two-time All-American and won the Lou Groza award in his senior season. He was drafted by the New York Jets, and played there for four seasons, losing his job due to injury. After a couple of brief stops, he was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals prior to the 2010 season. There, he won the starting job and hasn’t looked back.