Is Justin Tucker the best kicker in NFL history?
Justin Tucker walked to the middle of the field and raised his right hand. He pumped his fist three times while looking 55 yards downfield at the uprights. Lining up the game-winning kick he was about to attempt, Tucker pointed at his target, took three steps back, and shuffled twice sideways.
Instantly after the snap, Tucker's kick confirmed what everyone watching the "Monday Night Football" instant classic between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns already assumed was inevitable.
The ball split the uprights with five, maybe 10, yards to spare. The Ravens star kicker had done it again, further securing his claim as the greatest kicker in NFL history.
In his ninth National Football League season, Tucker has made three Pro Bowls, been named to four All-Pro teams, won the Super Bowl, and has been listed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
Tucker has made 90.8 percent of his career field goal attempts, a higher clip than runner-up Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs and over four percent higher than the best retired kicker, Colts placekicker Mike Vanderjagt. Despite playing just eight full seasons (a third as many as Adam Vinateri) Tucker is 34th all time in FG-made, and passing former greats every few weeks.
Justin Tucker: Hall of Fame bound kicker
Only two kickers (Jan Stenerud and Morten Andersen) have made the the Hall of Fame, with Adam Vinateri likely soon to join them. They both were confident that Tucker will be joining them soon, and may one day be considered the greatest of all time.
"Justin Tucker is spectacular," Stenerud told The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec. "He's the best in the NFL today, and if you're the best in the NFL today, you're one of the best of all time."
Hunter Felt of The Guardian went as far as to suggest Tucker may be one of the greatest players of all time, disregarding the caveat of greatest "kicker" or special teamer.
Tucker's 55-yard winner on Monday was the 16th game winning kick of his career. Only a handful of legends have more game winners than the Raven, and all played much longer than Tucker has in his career.
Showing no signs of slowing down, aside from the very rare blocked kick or missed extra point, Tucker has already cemented himself on the GOAT discussion, and a few more years of elite performance will end the conversation for good.