Sebastian Janikowski

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Sebastian Janikowski
refer to caption
Janikowski with the Raiders in 2012
No. 11 – Seattle Seahawks
Position: Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1978-03-02) March 2, 1978 (age 40)
Wałbrzych, Poland
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school: Seabreeze
(Daytona Beach, Florida)
College: Florida State
NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2018
Field goals: 416/518 (80.3%)
Longest field goal: 63
Touchbacks: 410
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Sebastian Paweł Janikowski (Polish pronunciation: [sɛˈbastjan janiˈkɔfskʲi]; born March 2, 1978) is a Polish-born American football placekicker for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Florida State University, and was a two-time consensus All-America. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders 17th overall in the 2000 NFL draft, the only time in the modern NFL era a kicker was taken in the first round. He has the nickname "Seabass".[1]

On September 12, 2011, in a Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos, he tied the previous NFL record for the longest field goal at 63 yards, sharing the record with Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam, Graham Gano, and David Akers. The record stood for just over two years when it was broken by Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater on December 8, 2013. Janikowski also holds the record for most games played with the Raiders; at the end of the 2017 season he had played 268 games with the team.

Early years

Sebastian Janikowski was born on March 2, 1978 as an only child to Henryk and Halina Janikowski in Wałbrzych, Poland. His father was a professional soccer player, and moved to the United States in the early 1980s in the hopes of reviving his career. Years after Janikowski's father emigrated from Poland, his parents divorced and Henryk married an American citizen. Left at home with just his mother, Janikowski began to excel at soccer himself, and when he was 15, Janikowski earned a spot on the Polish under-17 team.

His father's marriage to an American meant Janikowski could legally emigrate to the United States. He spoke very little English, but learned quickly by taking a three-week night class and by watching television. Janikowski played in only five games for the Orangewood Christian soccer team, but led them to the Class A State Championship game by scoring 15 goals, where they lost to Lakeland Christian in penalty kicks (3–2). Then living in Orlando, Florida with his father and stepmother, Janikowski joined the Orlando Lions, an under-19 soccer club coached by Angelo Rossi. Rossi was also the soccer coach at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, and convinced Henryk that his son would be better off there. Henryk agreed, but was unwilling to move, so Janikowski moved in with Rossi's family.[2]

During his senior year at Seabreeze, Janikowski played both soccer and football after being recruited by the school's football coach. As the team's placekicker, he quickly earned a reputation by kicking four field goals of 50+ yards. One of them was for 60 yards, third-best in Florida high school history. During a practice at Seabreeze High, he kicked an 82-yard field goal.[2] USA Today named Janikowski to its 1996 All-American team. After being heavily recruited by some of the top collegiate football programs, Janikowski decided on Florida State University.[2]

College career

Janikowski attended Florida State University, where he played for coach Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles football team. Bowden later said, "Boy, have you ever thought about (I have!) how many national championships we might have won if we had Janikowski every year of my career?"[3] In three seasons, he amassed a career scoring total of 324 points (3rd all-time for the school). In 1999, he won the Lou Groza Award for the second year in a row, an honor given annually to the nation's top collegiate kicker. Janikowski is currently the only player to win this award two years in a row. He became popular with fans for being able to placekick a kick-off through the endzone uprights, having done it so often that the stadium monitors would display field goal graphics even though it was a kick-off and not an actual field goal attempt.

Janikowski was first called "Seabass" while playing for FSU. Wide receiver Peter Warrick began calling him Seabass since he said the name Sebastian was too long.[1]

Janikowski's career at FSU was not without incident. In August 1998, he got into a fight outside of a Tallahassee bar and was charged with failure to leave the premises; he pled no contest to the misdemeanor offense. That same year, the night after a season-ending win over rival Florida, Janikowski got into a fight at a local bar and was charged with battery.

In the 1999 season, FSU was again in contention for a national title. Prior to the team's appearance in the national championship game (the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana), Janikowski declared his intentions to declare himself eligible for the 2000 NFL Draft, saying his primary reason for foregoing his senior year was to pay for his mother to come to the United States.[4]

Although Janikowski's skill as a kicker was unquestioned by NFL scouts, his off-the-field behavior was a cause of concern. In January 2000, Janikowski was partying with a group of friends when his high school friend was arrested at a nightclub. Janikowski, who later said he was thinking he could save everyone paperwork and the trouble, approached the arresting officer and asked how much it would take to let his friend go. He was then arrested for attempting to bribe an officer, a charge that carried a $5,000 fine, up to five years in prison, and possible deportation. Janikowski claimed that he thought he could pay a fine to have his friend released, but the officer interpreted the action as an attempted bribe.[5]

Professional career

Oakland Raiders

Janikowski was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.[6] He was the fourth placekicker in NFL history to be taken in the first round of the draft.

Janikowski in November 2008

Shortly after the draft, Janikowski was acquitted of his bribery charge. He had testified on his own behalf, stating that he was simply trying to pay his friend's fine (as opposed to bribing the arresting officer). Just eight days after his acquittal, Janikowski and two friends were arrested in Tallahassee on suspicion of felony possession of the drug GHB. Once again, he faced prison time or deportation if convicted, but was acquitted of all charges in April 2001.[7]

Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler circa 2006.

Janikowski's professional career got off to a rough start: in 2000, only 68.8% of his field goal attempts were successful. His accuracy improved dramatically in 2001, when 82.1% of his attempts were successful.

Janikowski reached Super Bowl XXXVII with the Raiders in 2002, and kicked an early field goal in the first quarter. His kick briefly gave the Raiders a 3–0 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This would be the Raiders' only lead of the game; they lost 48–21.

After the 2004 season, Janikowski was given a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $10.5 million. This made him (at the time) the highest paid kicker in NFL history.[8] In February 2010, Janikowski extended his contract with the Raiders for $16 million over the next four years, including $9 million in guaranteed money, making him the highest paid placekicker in NFL history.[9]

On September 12, 2011, in a Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos, he tied the previous NFL record for the longest field goal at 63 yards.[10]

In 2011 Janikowski received an invite to the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro honors. [11]

In August 2013, Janikowski signed a four-year contract extension with the Raiders for $19 million over five years, including $8 million guaranteed.[12]

Prior to the 2017 season, he took a pay cut from his $4.05 million base salary to $3 million but it became fully guaranteed. On September 9, 2017, he was placed on injured reserve with a back injury.[13]

On September 9, 2017, he was placed on injured reserve due to back issues and Giorgio Tavecchio was signed on from the practice squad to temporarily take his place as kicker.[14] On February 14, 2018, it was reported that Janikowski would not be re-signed by the Raiders.[15]

Seattle Seahawks

Janikowski with the Seahawks in 2018

On April 13, 2018, Janikowski signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks.[16] He won the Seahawks starting kicking job after the team released Jason Myers on August 20, 2018.[17]

Records

NFL records

  • Longest field goal in overtime: 57 yards[1]
  • Most field goals in one quarter: 4 (tied)[18]
  • Most field goals of 50+ yards in a career: 58[19]
  • Most field goals of 60+ yards in a career: 2 (tied with Greg Zuerlein)[20]
  • Most field goals attempted of 60+ yards in a career: 8
  • Most field goals of 50+ yards in one game: 3 (tied with Justin Tucker)[1]
  • Most extra points in a Pro Bowl: 8[21]
  • Longest field goal attempt (unofficial): 76 yards

Attempts and other records

On October 16, 2003, during the second quarter, Janikowski tied the NFL record by completing 4 field goals in a single quarter.[22]

On November 4, 2007, he attempted to kick a 64-yard record field goal before halftime against the Houston Texans on a windless Oakland afternoon in McAfee Coliseum. If successful, the kick would have broken the all-time NFL field goal record of 63 yards. However, it bounced off the right upright and came back out.[23]

On September 28, 2008, Janikowski unsuccessfully attempted a 76-yard field goal against the San Diego Chargers into the heavy wind right before halftime. This is presumed to be the longest attempt in NFL history; though the league keeps no such records on attempts, the longest known attempts previous to this were 74 yard attempts by Mark Moseley and Joe Danelo in 1979.[24]

On October 19, 2008, Janikowski broke his own Raiders team record, making a 57-yard field goal in overtime to defeat the New York Jets, 16–13, the longest overtime field goal in NFL history. On December 27, 2009, he again broke his own team record by kicking a 61-yard field goal against the Cleveland Browns before halftime. On December 26, 2010, Janikowski converted a 59-yard field goal in the second quarter of a home game against the Indianapolis Colts[25] making him the second player with two 59+ yard field goals (Morten Andersen). On January 3, 2010, he reached his 1,000th career point with a 39-yard field goal against the Baltimore Ravens. He is the highest scoring player in Raiders history.

On September 12, 2011, as a rainy first half against the Denver Broncos came to a close, Janikowski made a 63-yard field goal and tied the NFL record set by Tom Dempsey in 1970 and previously tied by Jason Elam (1998) and afterwards by David Akers (2012), but which has subsequently been broken by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos. On November 27, 2011, in a game against the Chicago Bears, he made 6 field goals of 40, 47, 42, 19, 37, and 44 yards to break the team record of most field goals in a single game.[26] He attempted a record breaking 65-yard field goal on December 18, 2011, against the Detroit Lions, but Ndamukong Suh blocked it to end the game.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "si.com: Still standing: Sebastian Janikowski's unlikely path to Raiders royalty". si.com. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Layden, Tim. "Big Foot". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  3. ^ Bowden, Bobby (August 19, 2014). "I'm Bobby Bowden: Former FSU head coach, dadgummit. AMA". Reddit. Archived from the original on September 22, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  4. ^ "Video". CNN. December 20, 1999. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  5. ^ "FSU's Janikowski arrested for bribery". Archived from the original on September 2, 2004.
  6. ^ "National Football League: NFL Draft History". Nfl.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  7. ^ "Janikowski acquitted of all drug charges". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  8. ^ "Raiders ink Janikowski to five-year extension". [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Murphy, Brian (February 17, 2010). "Sebastian Janikowski gets the biggest contract for any NFL kicker ever". Fftoolbox.com. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  10. ^ "si.com: Janikowski ties NFL record with 63-yard FG". si.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "idabuzz.com: Janikowski finally makes it to Pro Bowl". idabuzz.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Breech, John (August 2, 2013). "Raiders ink kicker Sebastian Janikowski to four-year extension". CBSSports.com. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  13. ^ Blair, Scott (September 9, 2017). "Raiders place Sebastian Janikowski on injured reserve". NBCSports.com. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  14. ^ "Raiders Sign Giorgio Tavecchio; Place Sebastian Janikowski On IR". Raiders.com. September 10, 2017. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Raiders Statement On Sebastian Janikowski". Raiders.com. February 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Sessler, Marc (April 13, 2018). "Seattle Seabass: Seahawks sign Sebastian Janikowski". NFL.com.
  17. ^ Boyle, John (August 20, 2018). "Seahawks Waive Kicker Jason Myers, Sign CB Elijah Battle And WR Marvin Bracy". Seahawks.com.
  18. ^ "Record and Fact Book". NFL. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  19. ^ "Sebastian Janikowski ties NFL record for 50-yard field goals". nbcsports.com. December 25, 2015. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  20. ^ "Greg Zuerlein makes 61-yard field goal". espn.go.com. November 8, 2016. Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  21. ^ Moczerniuk, Tomek (February 2, 2012). "NFL: Rekordzista Janikowski". papatomski.com (in Polish). Archived from the original on February 9, 2012.
  22. ^ "NFL Records". September 11, 2017. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  23. ^ FitzGerald, Tom (November 5, 2007). "It has the distance..." SF Gate. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008.
  24. ^ Patra, Kevin (December 14, 2013). "The failed tries to break the 63-yard field-goal record". NFL. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  25. ^ Colts vs. Raiders at ESPN Archived December 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., December 26, 2010
  26. ^ "Janikowski's 6 Field Goals Lift Raiders Over Chicago Bears « CBS San Francisco". December 25, 2017. Archived from the original on December 25, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2017.

External links

  • Official website
  • Career statistics and player information from NFL.com · Pro-Football-Reference
  • Oakland Raiders biography
  • Legal history
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