Neil Rackers
refer to caption
Rackers at Redskins training camp in 2012
No. 5, 1, 4
Position:Placekicker
Personal information
Born: (1976-08-16) August 16, 1976 (age 47)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:207 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school:Aquinas-Mercy (St. Louis, Missouri)
College:Illinois (1995–1999)
NFL draft:2000 / Round: 6 / Pick: 169
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • First-team All-Pro (2005)
  • Pro Bowl (2005)
  • 2× leader in field goal attempts in the NFL (2005, 2006)
  • PFW Golden Toe Award (2005)
NFL records
  • Most field goals of 55 yards or more in one quarter: 2
  • Most field goals of 50 yards or more in one game: 3 (tied)
Career NFL statistics
Field goals:264
Field goal attempts:330
Field goal %:80.0
Longest field goal:57[1]
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Neil William "Rickety" Rackers[2] (born August 16, 1976) is an American former professional football player who was a placekicker for 12 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Illinois Fighting Illini. Rackers was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, and also played for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Washington Redskins.

Early years

Rackers attended Aquinas-Mercy High School in St. Louis, Missouri and was a student and a letterman in football, soccer and baseball. In football, he was a two-year letterman and an All-Conference selection. In soccer, Rackers led his team to consecutive state titles and was an All-State selection. In baseball, he was an All-Conference selection.

Professional career

Cincinnati Bengals

Rackers was selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the 169th overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.[3] He played three seasons for the team, making 44 out of 67 field goals.

Arizona Cardinals

On October 24, 2004, Rackers tied a record by kicking three field goals of 50 yards or more (doing so from 50, 55, and 55 yards), doing so against the Seattle Seahawks. He was the second kicker to kick three 50+ yard field goals in the same game and also kick two from 55 yards since Morten Anderson did so in 1995. His two kicks in the second quarter made him the first kicker to kick two 50+ field goals in one quarter.[4] When Josh Brown kicked one from 54 yards for the Seahawks, it marked the first game in NFL history where four field goals of 50 yards or more were kicked in the same game. The cleats that Rackers wore in the game (a 25-17 win) were sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after the game.[5][6]

Rackers reached and or surpassed 20 touchbacks in a season twice in his career, and once had a streak of 31 consecutive field goals made before missing a 43-yarder in 2005 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On New Year's Day in 2006, Rackers kicked his 40th field goal of the season, an NFL record. He was rewarded with a spot in that year's Pro Bowl. He is also one of the few players in NFL history to attempt a fair catch kick. On November 23, 2008, the Cardinals were playing the New York Giants when the Cardinals called for a fair catch with five seconds to go in the first half. As per the free-kick rule, Rackers was allowed to kick from the spot for a field goal attempt, which was at the 42-yard line of Arizona, 68 yards away. With only the punter holding the ball and no opponent lined up within ten yards of the ball, he missed the kick by a wide margin.[7] In the 2008 season, Rackers made an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII, during which he kicked three extra points for the Cardinals. He is the longest tenured kicker in Cardinals history, having played in seven seasons for the team.

Houston Texans

Rackers in a 2010 preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys

Rackers was signed by the Houston Texans on April 5, 2010, replaced Kris Brown later for the 2010 season, and made his first two field goals as a member of the Texans on September 12.

Washington Redskins

Rackers signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins on April 24, 2012 and competed with Graham Gano for a spot on the team.[8] On August 27, the Redskins released Rackers.[9]

Retirement

Billy Cundiff's charity confirmed that Rackers retired and would join his cause to cure ovarian cancer.[10]

Career regular season statistics

Career high/best bolded

Life away from football

Rackers is the special teams coach at De Smet Jesuit in the St. Louis, Missouri area. He also sells roofs and does business as owner of an assisted living facility. He also owns Kick it Promos and is a radio announcer on 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.[11]

References

  1. ^ "Houston Texans at Denver Broncos - December 26, 2010". Pro-Football-Reference.com. December 26, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  2. ^ "Neil Rackers Stats, Height, Weight, Position, Draft, College". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  3. ^ "2000 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  4. ^ "Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals - October 24th, 2004". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  5. ^ "Rackers Kicks Way to Hall of Fame | Pro Football Hall of Fame".
  6. ^ "Cardinals' kicker Rackers ties NFL record | the Spokesman-Review".
  7. ^ "Cardinals test obscure free-kick rule". November 23, 2008.
  8. ^ Maske, Mark (April 24, 2012). "Kicker Neil Rackers says he's signed with the Redskins". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  9. ^ Jones, Mike (August 27, 2012). "Redskins release Neil Rackers". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  10. ^ "Beyond Ovarian Cancer: Retired NFL Kicker Neil Rackers Joins Kicking for the Dream". Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  11. ^ Romero, José M. (October 15, 2022). "Cardinals' 35th season in Arizona: Kicker Neil Rackers part of team's most memorable moments". AZCentral.com. Retrieved December 29, 2023.