The 5 best kickers in the history of the LA Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The kicker position is the most unforgiving in football. A kicker can ruin a team's entire season with a missed kick in a big spot but when they do their job properly, they never get the recognition they deserve.

There are very few teams in the NFL with the same tragic track record at the kicker position as the LA Chargers. The Chargers' horrible luck with kickers has been a running joke throughout the league as the team has lost many games in key spots thanks to bad kickers.

Attempting to rank the best kickers in franchise history might be painful, but it is a necessity. At the very least, it looks like the team might have finally figured out the position, as there is a fast climber who has the runway to be the best kicker in franchise history.

Criteria for selection:

Overall career numbers are the best measuring stick when comparing kickers but it goes deeper than just the total number of field goals made. Accuracy is far more important than the overall number of kicks made as that shows how effective a kicker was.

There are also other factors such as accolades. If a kicker made a Pro Bowl or was named an All-Pro it shows that they stood on a higher level compared to their peers. Those accolades are also being factored into the rankings.

Finally, we must factor in playoff performance. If a kicker was lights out during the regular season but could not make a big kick to save their life in the postseason then it negatively impacts them. In fact, that has a direct impact on the No. 1 spot on this list.

The top 5 kickers in Chargers history:

5. Cameron Dicker

The active Chargers kicker has done enough to earn the fifth spot on this list even if his total number of field goals made is lower than others on this list. Entering the 2024 season, Dicker ranks ninth in franchise history with 50 field goals made.

While he may not have the volume numbers what Dicker has, better than any other kicker in franchise history, is his accuracy. Dicker has the best field goal percentage of any Chargers kicker with at least 50 career attempts (94.3%). The next best is the second-ranked kicker on this list.

Dicker has a chance to quickly climb this list if he keeps knocking in kicks and doing so with precision and accuracy. If he keeps his current pace Dicker will have 81 career field goals after the 2024 season. That would put him fifth in franchise history.

4. Rolf Benirschke

Accuracy-wise, Rolf Benirschke is the worst kicker on this list. Benirschke had a career field goal percentage of just 70.2%, which is among the lowest in franchise history. Only four kickers in franchise history had a lower field-goal percentage with at least 50 attempts in their career.

That being said, Benirschke ranks third in franchise history in total field goals made and he did have some positive years. The one-time Pro Bowler benefitted from the Air Coryell offense finding the endzone so frequently as he led the league in extra points in 1981 and 1982.

If the Chargers had better history with kickers then Benirschke and his 70.2% field-goal percentage likely would not have made the cut. But for a franchise that has been so scarred, there are not many other options to bump him off the list.

3. Nick Novak

Nick Novak was by no means an elite kicker while he was with the Chargers but he certainly was overlooked. Novak is not remembered this way but he was fairly consistent in his five seasons with the Bolts. That consistency gives him the fourth-most field goals made in franchise history and the third-best field goal percentage with at least 50 attempts (84.6%).

Novak had two different tenures with the Chargers, one of which was much longer than the other. Novak replaced the No. 2 kicker on this list in 2011 and served as the team's starter through the 2014 season.

Novak was then released in favor of Josh Lambo, who had a great rookie season in 2015 but was then released in favor of Younghoe Koo. In a full circle moment, Novak was brought back in 2017 while Koo was struggling. Koo, of course, went on to be one of the best kickers in the league with the Atlanta Falcons.

2. Nate Kaeding

Statistically, Nate Kaeding seems like he deserves the top spot on this list. After all, Kaeding is second in franchise history in field goals made and has the second-highest field goal percentage among kickers with at least 50 attempts. No other kicker in franchise history has this level of output and accuracy.

It is also worth mentioning that Kaeding is one of two Chargers kicker to earn an All-Pro nod and is the only kicker in franchise history to be named to two Pro Bowls. As far as regular-season numbers are concerned, Kaeding is the best.

The playoffs are his detriment.

Kaeding has two horrendous misses in franchise history against the New York Jets in 2004 and the New England Patriots in 2006. If Kaeding made those kicks then the Chargers would have a completely different history. They may have a Super Bowl ring.

It went beyond those two misses, though. Kaeding made just 53.3% of his field goals in the postseason despite making 87% of his field goals in the regular season.

1. John Carney

John Carney is the franchise's all-time leader in field goals made with 261. It is not even close as he is 81 field goals ahead of second place. However, this is a result of Carney attempting far more kicks than anyone in franchise history. His 320 field goals attempted is 112 more than any other kicker.

Carney certainly was not as accurate as Kaeding was. Carner made 81.6% of his field goals while Kaeding made 87%. The best version of him (in the regular season) arguably wasn't as good as Kaeding, either, as he had just one All-Pro/Pro Bowl season.

Heck, Carney did not even have as good of a leg as Kaeding had. Carney never made a field goal longer than 54 yards. But at the end of the day, he has the overall output numbers and he does not have the horrendous playoff track record. Carney made 80% of his kicks in the postseason, which is far better than Kaeding.

Carney is the best kicker in Chargers franchise history and he also has one of the most infamous moments in NFL history. After his long stint with the Chargers, Carney shanked a game-tying extra point after the New Orleans Saints pulled off a miraculous lateral play to score a touchdown with no time remaining.

That didn't happen with the Bolts, so it does not hurt his ranking here.

The 5 best kickers in Chargers history by field goals made:



Years with Chargers

Field goals made


John Carney




Nate Kaeding




Rolf Benirschke




Nick Novak

2011-2014, 2017



Dennis Partee