One of the game’s greatest kickers and biggest legs is hanging it up after nearly two decades.
The big-bodied Polish-born booter became just the third kicker to be drafted in the first round when Oakland snagged him 17th overall in 2000. The Raiders paired him with punter Shane Lechler, whom Oakland drafted in the fifth round that year, for 13 seasons to create one of the game’s iconic kicking duos.
Janikowski played in 284 regular-season games (16th all-time), attempted 542 field goals (10th) and made 436 of them (ninth). His 1,913 points scored are 10th most all-time and were second among active players behind Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri.
Known for his large physique and cannon leg, Janikowski regularly attempted long field goals, even some as comically long as 76 yards — seriously. Over the course of his career, Janikowski attempted nine field goals of at least 60 yards, making two. His longest came in 2011 when he booted a 63-yarder against the Denver Broncos at Mile High to end the second half of a Raiders win. At the time, it tied the record of longest field goal in NFL history; Denver’s Matt Prater broke it in 2013 with a 64-yarder.
Janikowski spent the bulk of his 19-year career by the Black Hole. But after missing the entire 2017 season with a back injury, Oakland decided not to re-sign him. Janikowski finished his career with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018, where he made 81.5 percent of his field goals and reached the postseason for the fifth time in his career.
In Seattle’s wild-card loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Janikowski injured his hamstring on a 57-yard field goal miss at the end of the first half. He had made two shorter field goals earlier in the second quarter, but that miss would be his last attempt in the NFL.
Somehow, Janikowski made just one Pro Bowl and zero first-team All-Pro squads during his lengthy career.
With Janikowski’s retirement and that of Lechler earlier this offseason, there now remains just one active player remaining from the 2000 draft: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady.
While it’s unlikely that Seabass will join Brady in Canton when the kicker becomes eligible, Janikowski will be remembered among Raiders fans and football diehards as one of the most unique, iconic athletes in league history: a kicker who defied expectations for the position and the natural laws of physics.