LEFTHANDERS IN SPORTS

The Success and The Failures of Lefthanders In Sports

The National Football League does not keep any statistics on the number of left-footed place-kickers and punters versus right-footed place-kickers or punters.

While Pro Football Reference does designate whether a quarterback throws left or throws right, they do not designate whether a kicker or a punter kicks with his left foot or kicks with his right foot.

So the only way to create any type of record of left-footed kickers and punters is to watch the games and remember every time someone kicks with their left foot.  Since we haven't watched every game by every team for the last 50 or 60 years, we might have missed some.

We did research by looking at pictures of the top 20 place-kickers and punters and the top 20 kickers to see which of them kicked with their left-foot.  

We found that 4 of the top 20 kickers in NFL history, based on most field goals made, are left-footed kickers, including the leader, Morten Andersen, plus John Kasay, David Akers, and Sebastian Janikowski, who is still active and kicking for the Oakland Raiders.

From an individual standpoint, there is no apparent advantage or disadvantage for a left-footed kicker compared to a right-footed kicker.  The only possible reason that a team might prefer a right-footed placekicker over a left-footed placekicker is that the kick-holder might have more experience holding for a right-handed kicker.

We found that 3 of the top 20 punters in NFL history, based on most punts, are left-footed punters, including Lee Johnson, Chris Gardocki, and Rohn Stark. ​

Regarding punters, it has been said that some coaches prefer a left-footed punter over a right-footed punter if they can find one.  The reason is that the spin of the left-footed punt might be more difficult for a punt returner to catch without fumbling the ball.  While these coaches may prefer to have a left-footed punter, they aren't finding very many of them.

Left-footed Placekickers and Punters