Having a balanced offense and defense is important, but special teams is an art form. The team that excels in all three aspects is usually the winner in football games.
When an offensive drive stalls, it’s the kicker’s job to put points on the scoreboard. Placekicker seems to be the easiest position on the field; however, when the pressure is on late in games the task becomes difficult.
Confidence is what separates good kickers from great ones. Having the ability to block out distractions and focus on putting the ball through a goal post is no easy task. Kickers have to be willing and ready to step up and embrace the moment when they are called upon.
Alabama has had a mixture of kickers in its history. Some of them answered the bell and excelled, while others came up short and endured a lot of scrutiny. Here is a list of the top five kickers off all-time that Crimson Tide fans relish.
Top 5 Kickers of All-Time
5. Michael Proctor (1992-95)
- Under head coach Gene Stalling, Proctor exuded a calm demeanor on the field and was an accurate kicker.
- He played in 47 games during his tenure at Alabama.
- Protector was 131/132 (99.2 percent) on extra points in his career.
- He connected on 71.4 percent of his field goals (65/91 field goals).
- Protector recorded 326 points in his career.
- His best seasons were in 1992 and 1993.
- In 1992, Protector made 37 of 38 extra points (97.4 percent), 19 of 27 field goals (70.4 percent) and totaled 94 points.
- He was 100 percent (33 of 33) on extra points, 75.9 percent on field goals (22/29) and recorded 97 points in 1993.
- Protector made three bowl appearances with Alabama.
- He was a 3x SEC West Division champion (1992, 1993, 1994)
- Protector was an SEC champion in 1992.
- He was a national champion in 1993 (1992 season).
4. Jamie Christensen (2003-06)
- Christensen became a solid kicker for Alabama in 2005 and 2006.
- He was 42 of 44 (95.5 percent) on extra points in his career.
- Christensen connected on 69.0 percent of his field goals (29/42) and recorded 129 points in his tenure with the Tide.
- His finest performance came in 2006.
- In 2006, Christensen made 17 of 18 extra points (94.4 percent) and 13 of 17 field goals (76.5 percent).
- He is mostly known for his three game-winning field goals in the 2005 season.
- Christensen connected on a 31-yard field goal to deliver Alabama a 13-10 victory over Mississippi.
- He made a 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give Alabama a 6-3 victory over Tennessee.
- Christensen drilled a 45-yard field goal (career long) with no time left on the clock in the 2006 Cotton Bowl Classic to deliver Alabama a 13-10 victory against Texas Tech.
- He made the ESPN.com All-Bowl Team in 2005.
3. Leigh Tiffin (2006-09)
- Despite early struggles in his career, Tiffin became clutch in junior and senior seasons.
- In 2007, Tiffin became the second kicker in school history to make two 50+ yard field goals in one game (Van Tiffin was first).
- He was 4 for 4 on field goals (29, 39, 50 and 51 yards) in Alabama’s loss against Mississippi State in 2007.
- Tiffin connected on 20 of 29 (68.9 percent) field goals in 2008. He nailed a career-long 54-yard field goal in the 2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against No. 9 Clemson.
- His best performance came in 2009.
- Tiffin was automatic in 2009, making 30 of 35 field goals (87.9 percent).
- He ended his career as Alabama’s all-time leading scorer (350 points).
- Tiffin was an Associate Press All-American in 2009.
- He was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2009.
- Tiffin was an SEC champion in 2009.
- He won a national title with Alabama (2009 season).
2. Phillip Doyle (1987-90)
- Doyle held every kicking record in school history before Leigh Tiffin came in the 2000s.
- He made 105 of 108 (97.2 percent) extra points and 78 of 105 (74.3 percent) field goals in his career.
- Doyle totaled 339 career points.
- His best seasons were in 1989 and 1990.
- In 1989, Doyle connected on 34 of 35 (97.3 percent) extra points, 22 of 25 (88.0 percent) field goals and totaled 100 points.
- He was 100 percent on extra points (25 of 25), 82.8 percent on field goals (24 of 29) and totaled 97 points in 1990.
- In 1990, Doyle made six field goals, 19 points against Southwestern Louisiana (school record).
- He was a Consensus All-American in 1990.
- Doyle was a unanimous vote to the College Football All-America team in 1990.
- He made four bowl appearances with Alabama.
1. Van Tiffin (1983-86)
- You couldn’t get more clutch than Tiffin was for Alabama in the 80s.
- He connected on all of his extra points (135-school record until 2009).
- Tiffin holds the record for longest converted field goal in school history (57 yards against Texas A&M in 1985).
- He is mostly remembered for his 52-yard field goal “The Kick” in the 1985 Iron Bowl. Tiffin nails the kick and Alabama won 25-23.
- Tiffin made three bowl appearances with the Tide.
- He was selected to the College Football All-America Team in 1986.
Honorable Mentions: Peter Kim (1979-82) and Jeremy Shelley (2009-12)
- Shelley was huge for Alabama in his junior and senior seasons.
- He finished his career making 44 of 55 field goals (80 percent) and 172 extra points. Both are school records.
- Shelley was perfect on field goals and extra points as a senior in 2012.
- He is the 5th all-time leading scorer in Alabama history.
- Shelley set a BCS National Championship Game record with five made field goals (23, 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards) against LSU in 2012 BCS title game. Alabama won the game 21-0.
- He was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in his junior and senior season.
- Shelley won the Vlade Award (nation’s most accurate kicker) in 2011.
- He was a two-time SEC champion (2009 and 2012 seasons).
- Shelley was a 3x national champion (2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons).