U.S. Women’s Soccer Star Carli Lloyd Deserves a Shot at Kicking in the NFL if She Wants It

By Chris Malumphy

Twitterites went Neanderthal after U.S. Women's soccer star Carli Lloyd exploded a 55-yard field goal on the field where the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens were holding a joint practice recently. When it was mentioned that a woman like Lloyd might be able to crack an NFL roster with those kicking skills, concern was voiced that "a dainty waif" such as Lloyd would never hold up in a game where she might be called upon to make a tackle. The concern is not well-founded. NFL place-kickers rarely make tackles. In 2019, there were 41 kickers who made an extra point or a field goal. Of the 41, only 13 had even one solo tackle or assist during the entire season. And only three of those 13 had more than one. Wil Lutz of the New Orleans Saints led all kickers with three COUNT EM three tackles. Take a look at the long list of kickers, including some who are rather large, like Sebastien Janikowski, who made no tackles at all. The job of the placekicker is to make kicks. Most coaches would rather that their kicker never get involved in a tackle which would only demonstrate a failure on the part of the rest of the special team unit and place a difficult to replace position in harm's way, no matter what the size of the kicker. While Carli Lloyd may not necessarily have the desire or the ability to make the grade, there is no reason why she or any other capable kicker should not be provided the opportunity. Lloyd has after all demonstrated that she can excel in the spotlight being a key part of two Olympic gold-medal teams, two FIFA Women's World Cup Champions and has been the FIFA Player of the Year twice. Lloyd ranks seventh all-time in women's international goals scored (113). If wrestlers, rugby players and track-and-field athletes can get a shot at playing in the NFL without any prior football experience, why not a woman like Lloyd who has already demonstrated her ability to kick under pressure at the highest level. If anyone can consistently put the ball through the uprights from a decent distance there are plenty of teams that could put those skills to use.

Tackles by Kickers
Wil LutzSaints33563
Greg ZuerleinRams35402
Brett MaherCowboys30372
Ka'imi FairbairnTexans37401
Jason MyersJets33301
Harrison ButkerChiefs26731
Dan BaileyVikings21301
Michael BadgleyChargers20291
Greg JosephBrowns17251
Daniel CarlsonVikings17241
Chandler CatanzaroBuccaneers16301
Caleb SturgisChargers991
Johnny HekkerRams111
Justin TuckerRavens3638  
Robbie Gould49ers3327  
Stephen GostkowskiPatriots3259  
Aldrick RosasGiants3231  
Mason CrosbyPackers3034  
Matt PraterLions2830  
Jake ElliottEagles2736  
Cody ParkeyBears2642  
Ryan SuccopTitans2628  
Dustin HopkinsRedskins2625  
Sebastian JanikowskiSeahawks2448  
Adam VinatieriColts2348  
Stephen HauschkaBills2225  
Brandon McManusBroncos2035  
Matt BryantFalcons2033  
Randy BullockBengals1939  
Josh LamboJaguars1919  
Jason SandersDolphins1835  
Graham GanoPanthers1430  
Cairo SantosRams1422  
Chris BoswellSteelers1343  
Zane GonzalezBrowns98  
Matthew McCraneRaiders89  
Mike NugentRaiders64  
Phil DawsonCardinals515  
Giorgio TavecchioFalcons58  
Kai ForbathJaguars43  
Sam FickenRams110