After Nearly Two-Decade Career, Sebastian Janikowski Owns Iconic Legacy

Posted Feb 15, 2018

During the past 18 years, Sebastian Janikowski rewrote the Raiders record books when it came to kicking, scoring, and number of games played.

During the past 18 years, Sebastian Janikowski rewrote the Raiders record books when it came to kicking, scoring, and number of games played. Janikowski connected on 15 game-winners, six of which came in overtime, during his Raiders career. His last game-winner was a 44-yard kick that gave the Raiders a 19-16 win at San Diego in 2016, and clinched the team’s first playoff berth in 14 years. He leaves the Silver and Black as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 1,799 points, and with the NFL record for most made field goals of 50 yards or more (55). He became the Raiders all-time leading scorer in Week 10 of the 2008 season, passing Hall of Famer George Blanda (863).

When Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders selected the Florida State kicker Sebastian with the 17th overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, the choice sent shockwaves throughout the league. Only two kickers had ever been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft (Steve Little in 1978 and Russell Erxleben in 1979), and both had flamed out. A cavalcade of short-lived kickers that included Greg Davis, Cole Ford, Michael Husted, and Joe Nedney preceded Janikowski.

Janikowski’s obvious asset entering the league was his powerful left leg. However, he went just 1-for-4 on attempts of 50 yards or more during his rookie campaign, connecting on a 54-yarder in a game where he would make all five of his attempts in a 15-13 win over the Chargers in San Diego on ESPN’s Sunday Night Football. That 54-yarder matched Jeff Jaeger’s longest, achieved in 1992. Prior to that, the only other player in Raiders history to make a 54-yard field goal was George Fleming in 1961. He would go on to make 11 kicks of 55 yards or more. 

In 2008, he set an NFL record for the longest field goal to win a game in overtime – a 57-yarder to defeat the New York Jets, 16-13, in Oakland.

In 2009, he made an astounding 6-of-8 attempts from 50 yards or more (75 percent), in 2011 he hit 7-of-10, and in 2015 he converted 4-of-5 attempts from that range. And it was in 2011, that he was finally able to tie Dempsey’s then-record for the longest field goal in NFL history. His 63-yarder on ESPN’s Monday Night Football was the eventual margin of victory in a 23-20 opening weekend win over the Broncos in Denver.

The No. 3 and 4 leading scorers in team history, respectively, didn’t have nearly the success or opportunities Janikowski did from long range. Chris Bahr made just 7-of-22 attempts from 50 yards and beyond, and Jeff Jaeger made 13-of-24 attempts from that range. Janikowski would go on to make 55-of-100 attempts.  

The longer he played, more records fell. When Janikowski took the field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 of the 2016 season, it marked the start of his 17th campaign, the most in Raiders history. Two weeks later against the Tennessee Titans, Janikowski made his 53rd career field goal of 50-or-more yards, the most field goals of 50 yards or more in NFL history.

From temporary homes on college campuses, to older, iconic stadiums that were eventually replaced, Janikowski played in numerous stadiums during his career.

The following list includes preseason, regular season and playoffs (current stadium names used):

RCA Dome and Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis Colts
QUALCOMM Stadium – San Diego Chargers
Sports Authority Field at Mile High – Denver Broncos
Candlestick Park – San Francisco 49ers
Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City Chiefs
Husky Stadium and CenturyLink Field – Seattle Seahawks
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans Saints
Georgia Dome – Atlanta Falcons
Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field – Pittsburgh Steelers
Foxboro Stadium and Gillette Stadium – New England Patriots
Hard Rock Stadium – Miami Dolphins
Edward Jones Dome – St. Louis Rams
Texas Stadium and AT&T Stadium – Dallas Cowboys
Sun Devil Stadium and University of Phoenix Stadium – Arizona Cardinals
Veteran’s Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia Eagles
Nissan Stadium – Tennessee Titans
Ralph Wilson Stadium - Buffalo Bills
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FedEx Field – Washington Redskins
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and TCF Bank Stadium – Minnesota Vikings
M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore Ravens
Soldier Field – Chicago Bears
Lambeau Field – Green Bay Packers
Giants Stadium and MetLife Stadium – New York Jets and New York Giants
FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland Browns
Ford Field – Detroit Lions
NRG Stadium – Houston Texans
Everbank Field – Jacksonville Jaguars
Bank of America Stadium – Carolina Panthers
Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati Bengals
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium – Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio (2006 preseason Hall of Fame game vs. Philadelphia)
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City (2001 preseason vs. Dallas Cowboys, 2016 regular season vs. Houston Texans)
Aloha Stadium – 2012 Pro Bowl
Wembley Stadium, London, England (2014 regular season vs. Miami)

In all, counting the Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum, Janikowski kicked in 44 different stadiums during his professional career.

Janikowski has kicked the second-longest field goal in NFL history. He has played in more games than anyone else in Raiders history (268). He led the team in scoring for 17 straight seasons. He has scored more points in a season than anyone else in franchise history (142 in 2010), and he has made more field goals in one game than anyone else in team history (6 vs. Chicago 2011). He has made 557-of-563 extra point attempts.

In addition to his 268 regular season games, Janikowski played in eight playoff games during his Raiders tenure, including Super Bowl XXXVII. He scored the first points of that Super Bowl. He made 14-of-16 field goal attempts and all 17 of his extra point attempts in his postseason appearances.

In all, Janikowski rewrote the record books and set numerous marks – team and NFL – some of which will never be broken. Perhaps his greatest is the indelible impression he made on the Raider Nation.