It takes offense, defense, and special teams to win in the National Football League. So often the latter is forgotten and put off to the side as unimportant. That is until your kicker misses the game winning field goal with 3 seconds to play. That was the case in the 2010 season for the Eagles when David Akers missed two key field goals in the playoffs en route to a 5 point loss for the Birds to the Green Bay Packers.
Whether or not you place importance on the kicker in the game of football David Akers has been one of the best in his 12 seasons as a member of the Eagles. We debated whether or not a kicker really deserved to be in the top 20 Best Athletes in Philly list. We came to the conclusion that Akers has been arguably the greatest kicker in franchise history and is still one of the best in the game. Our Top 20 list is the best athletes NOW and Akers in 2010 was selected to his 5th Pro Bowl and selected to the All-Pro Team. After careful debate David Akers has made our list at #19.
At 36 Akers is proving he still has the leg strength to be a kicker in the NFL. In 2010 he had the highest touchback percentage of his career. In fact 4 of the last 5 years have been his most productive. It is evident the importance of a productive kicker when you look around the league and see kickers moved around like chess pieces. It is extremely hard to find a consistent kicker for 5 years let alone 12 years. With the way the season ended for Akers and the turmoil surrounding his 6-year old daughter it is unknown if Akers will be back in Philly in 2011. His contract expired at the end of the year and Akers expressed his feelings of this being his last time at the Nova Care Complex following the loss to the Packers.
Akers deserves to be on the Top 20 list because we believe he is still kicking at a high level. He is one of the best in the game and has proven to be over the length of his career. In 2010 Akers kicked with a field goal percentage of 84. 2% which was the 5th highest percentage of his Eagles career. With 143 points he led the NFL. In the past three seasons Akers has scored 144 points in 2008, 139 in 2009, and 143 in 2010. His three highest point totals in his 12 seasons as an Eagle. The NFL Hall of Fame Committee also selected David Akers to its high profiled All-Decade Team in the 2000’s.
Since being cut by the Redskins in 1999 the Eagles have found a pot of gold in Akers. After spending one season in NFL Europe before joining the Eagles in 2000, he has been the team’s kicker ever since. In 2007 Akers set the franchise record for most points and in 2008 eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark. In 2008 he also set the Eagles single-season scoring record with 144 points.
We don’t know if David Akers will be a member of the Philadelphia Eagles when training camp hits Bethlehem, PA in late July but we do know that he deserves to be a key piece to the Eagles 2011 Super Bowl Run. Akers is one of the best and most consistent players on the Eagles roster and provides a veteran presence in a young locker room. His dedication to the game and high-level of play over 12 seasons in Philly has made him a phan favorite. Akers is not afraid to meet a returner at the 50 and keep him from scoring six. Those are reasons enough for phans to rock a kickers jersey which happens quite often at the Linc.
So as we compiled our Top 20 Best Athletes in Philly list it was hard and almost impossible to leave David Akers off the list. Akers is one of the best kickers in franchise history and continues to prove it at age 36.