Tuesday marked a day of mourning around the entire state of Michigan, and beyond. A legend was gone, leaving us confused, heartbroken, and reminiscent. Speaking for my entire generation, simply, this is all we knew.
If you haven’t heard yet, and how could you not, Jason Hanson retired from the Detroit Lions last week. In his career, he became the epitomy of consistent, playing in the second most games all-time (327), while ranking 18th all-time in career field goal percentage (82.363%). Tuesday, the Lions honored Hanson at his press conference by offering high praise.
“For a whole generation of Lions fans there’s been one kicker.” Bill Ford Jr. said at Tuesday’s retirement press conference. “Fortunately, that kicker has been a wonderful person… No matter how disappointing the season you could always count on Jason Hanson. ”
As the presser wore on, three words where thrown around by all three members who spoke at the press conference: Hall-of-Famer. Jim Schwartz said it. Bill Ford Jr reiterated his support for Hanson making the Hall-of-Fame. And finally, Hanson said he would be honored, but other kickers need to get their recognition from the NFL.
But the question remains, do you feel Jason Hanson is a Hall-of-Famer? His peers and former management believe he is. The kicker regarded as the best all-time, Morten Anderson, has yet to make the Hall-of-fame, holding all-time records for the most games played, total points, and field goals, among others.
In contrast, Hanson ranks third all-time in career scoring (2,150 points), third in career field goals made (495), and is the only player in NFL history to have 50, 50+ yard field goals in a career (52), ten ahead of kickers John Kasay and Sebastian Janikowski (42).
In his career, Hanson kicked 19 game winning field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime, and reached the 130+ point club three different seasons (130 in 1993, 132 in 1995, and 134 in 2012) becoming just the seventh player in NFL history to have three seasons of over 130 points.
Is this enough? Will Hanson finally break the barrier separating kickers from the Hall-of-Fame? Only time will tell, but as history has repeated itself, it doesn’t look good for Hanson’s chances.