Over the years, we asked numerous kickers to name one thing about being a kicker that most people probably don't realize.
A common theme emerged among their answers...
"In game situations, you have to be an athlete and want the ball. If you don’t like pressure and don’t want the ball at the end, you’re not going to have much success on game winning kicks." - Robbie Gould
"How hard we work out for our job. And how much pressure there really is on every time we go out on the field...not just those last second kicks." - Ryan Longwell
"Kickers have to run and lift like everyone else. We cannot just walk out every year and kick without training." - Mason Crosby
"I don't think the average fan realizes the amount of strength it takes to hit a kick-off 70 yards or make a 50-yard field goal. We are considered by most to be non-athletes, but everyone I've ever taken out onto the field to watch me kick first-hand leaves with a different perspective. We make it look easy, but it's not." - Joe Nedney
"The preparation. People feel like you can kind of just go out there and do it every week. People don’t realize how much we practice, and how pinpoint our accuracy and everything has to be from the snap to the hold to the kick. People think that we can just go out there and every kick should be just automatic. But there’s a ton of things that go into it from the line blocking to the snap and the hold and the kick. I’d say preparation is one thing that people don’t understand how much we do for practicing the field goal. That’s probably the big thing because I think a lot of people fell that we can just go out there and do it and that it’s one of the easier jobs. But actually we prepare pretty hard to make those field goals on Sunday." - Connor Barth
"Kickers are really good athletes. If you start looking in the NFL and start looking at the backgrounds of some of these guys, the kickers and punters are not these tiny, non-athletic players anymore. It’s not like the days of the past. Guys were all-state in other sports, as well as football, when they were in high school. This idea that guys are a kicker because they can’t do anything else is nonsense. Most of the players happen to fall into kicking because they’re competitive athletes and they just happen to be pretty good at kicking. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do anything else and kicking was the only option." - Billy Cundiff
"You hear the comment ‘you are just a kicker’ and that gets frustrating. I wouldn’t say anything to the person who said that to me because I have heard it a million times in my life. I work out just as hard as the (other) guys and I train just as much as the guys. I don’t train for speed, I train for leg speed. I am not going to beat Ike Taylor in a 40-yard dash, I’m not going to out-lift James Harrison and I am not going to out-throw Ben (Roethlisberger), but I work out just as hard as those guys because I realize it is hard to get to the NFL, and it is hard to stay here. I think people have a misperception that kickers are outcasts and are the nerd football players. I am a football player who happens to be a kicker. If I wasn’t a kicker in this sport, I would be playing soccer. People (teammates) love it when you make a big (kick) – when you miss one, somebody isn’t around here giving me crap because I am a fool and a jokester. Deep down inside they know how I want to make every kick and be perfect. I was voted a captain, which shocked me, and that was because my teammates see my work ethic as a fellow player." - Jeff Reed
"How much time and effort we put into it. They think being punters, ’all you do is kick a ball. You only play four or five plays a game on average’. They don’t realize how much time we put in on the practice field. Yea, when I’m on the practice field everybody else is banging heads, running around, and doing all that. But I was always over there, working on my footwork, working on my ball put away, working on coming through the ball. I teach high school now, and a lot of teachers go ‘oh, all you do is just kick the ball four or five times a game, that must have been easy’. No! If we have a two and a half hour practice, I’m probably over there for an hour to an hour and a half working on techniques to make myself better. That’s one thing that people don’t realize – how much time and effort it takes, so that when I get on that field I don’t make a mistake. I could have three great punts in a game, but that one shank is the one that everybody talks about. They don’t talk about the three I had for fifty yards, or the one for forty-five that I put out of bounds at the two; they just talk about the twenty-five yard shank, because the wind caught it or something." - Louie Aguiar
"Most people probably don’t realize how much goes into a successful kick or punt in a game. If you have a successful kick or punt in a game, and you’re doing it on a weekly basis, that only occurs because you’ve prepared the week before, the month before, the years before. You’ve prepared, you’ve studied, you’ve trained, you’ve examined your performances and made corrections, and you’ve continued to evolve your swing to where it’s successful for your body type. I think most people don’t realize how much preparation and hard work goes into a successful kick or a successful punt during the course of a game." - John Carney