On Wednesday night news broke that the Oakland Raiders would not be bringing back Sebastian Janikowski for the 2018 NFL season, potentially bringing his 18 year career to an end. Seabass had already made history before kicking a ball professionally as the Raiders selected him in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft (17th overall), making him only the 3rd kicker to ever be selected in the first round and the first since 1978. Since then he has been a very productive kicker and had a reputation of one of the biggest legs in the game – he has made 414 field goals from 515 attempts for an 80.4% conversion rate and has amassed 404 touchbacks from kick offs, 175 of which came before touchbacks became a practical formality with the kick off rule change which has been in place since 2011. He also kicked in a Pro Bowl, his one and only appearance coming at the end of the 2011 season. And he’s definitely the only kicker you’d seriously consider attempting a 75 yard field goal with on Madden. But which of his 414 field goals were the best? Let’s have a look.
5. 10th September 2000 @ Indianapolis Colts
What better place to start than where it all began. Having missed his first 2 field goal attempts in the league – the first in Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers and the second earlier in this Week 2 fixture against the Indianapolis Colts – Janikowski got number 1 of 414 with a 24 yarder with 7:30 remaining in the 3rd quarter. After falling behind 21-0 the Raiders would come back to upset the Colts 38-31.
4. 7th November 2010 vs Kansas City Chiefs
Beating a rival in any sport is one of the greatest feelings known to man. To come from behind to beat them in overtime makes it that much sweeter. In Week 9 of the 2010 season the Raiders did just that behind the leg of Janikowski, as he tied the game with just 7 seconds remaining with a 41 yard field goal and then secured the 23-20 victory with a 33 yarder in overtime.
3. 27th December 2009 @ Cleveland Browns
While not a game changing kick there won’t be many more impressive than this one. In snowy conditions with the last play of the first half the Raiders lined up for a 61 yard field goal which Janikowski hammered through the posts, setting his personal best length at the time. The Raiders would go on to lose the game 23-9 (apparently the Browns were once capable of winning games, who knew?!) but that doesn’t take anything away from this stunning kick.
2. 19th October 2008 vs New York Jets
Clutch (adj.) – (of a player or action) achieving success at a critical moment in a game or competition. There is no better way to describe this game winning Janikowski kick from Week 7 of the 2008 season. He hit from 57 yards out to give the Raiders a 16-13 overtime victory against the New York Jets which was (and still is) the longest field goal to win a game in overtime in NFL history.
1. 9th December 2011 @ Denver Broncos
There is no debate as to which kick sits in the number 1 spot. In the pre-game warm ups for this Week 1 clash against division rivals the Denver Broncos Sebastian Janikowski was nailing uncontested kicks from 70 yards out. The practice paid off as he nailed a then NFL record 63 yard field goal as time expired at the end of the first half. Those 3 points would prove the difference as the Oakland Raiders came away from Denver with a 23-20 victory.