We've finally made it to double-digits! I believe #10 is the highest jersey number allowed for current-day kickers and punters, so we'll probably only see a handful of special teamers after this. A total of eight players have worn the #10 for the Chargers throughout the years, but there's really only one that stands out. See all eight nominees after the jump and make sure to vote on who is the best Kicker in Chargers history.
- Vince Abbott - Abbott was a mediocre placekicker who spent two seasons with the Chargers, in 1987 and 1988. He made only 21 of his 34 field goal attempts (61.8%) in 23 games before being released.
- Bobby Douglass - The longtime Bears backup QB appeared in 3 games with the Chargers in 1975. He completed only 25.9% of his passes. Douglass still holds the record for most rushing yards by a QB in a 14-game season, when he ran for 968 yards and 8 touchdowns on 141 carries in 1972. However, Bobby had little success as a passer, going 507-for-1178 for 36 touchdowns and 64 interceptions with a quarterback passer rating of only 48.5 during his 10-season NFL career.
- Mitch Hoopes - In 1976, Hoopes played 9 games as the punter for the San Diego Chargers. His Yds/P was an average 38.8 and came with 2 blocks. Although Hoopes only had a 3-year NFL career, he played in Super Bowl X as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
- Mike Kelley - Kelley was a star QB at Georgia Tech, having been inducted into the GT Hall of Fame in 1992, and spent time in the USFL with the Tampa Bay Bandits and the Memphis Showboats before spending one season with the Chargers. Kelley appeared in 3 games as the Chargers QB, 1 as the starter, completing 58.6% of his passes and throwing 1 TD against 0 interceptions.
- Bill McClard - McClard was a big-time kicker coming out of the University of Arkansas program in 1972. He was an All-American in 1970 and 1971, making a 60 yard field goal in the 1970 season. Bill was drafted in the 3rd round by the Chargers, but struggled with his accuracy. After making only 3 of his 6 field goal attempts in his rookie season, McClard was released by the Chargers and was picked up by the Saints. In his four-year career, McClard made on 51% of his field goals.
- Cliff Olander - Olander played three years in the NFL, all as the backup QB for the San Diego Chargers, and completed only 50% of his passes. In 15 appearances with the Chargers, Cliff threw 3 interceptions and 0 touchdowns.
John Kidd, P
Kidd had a 15-season NFL career as an above-average punter. He spent a little more than four seasons with the Chargers, from 1989-1994. Kidd is still the highest drafted punter in Buffalo Bills history, spending six years with them before coming to San Diego. He also spent a little more than three seasons with the Miami Dolphins towards the end of his career. He set several NFL records and is the current career Yds/P leader for the Dolphins.
Nate Kaeding, K
The graph below this is going to say more about Kaeding than I could express here, but I'll give you a little background. The Chargers were able to draft Kaeding in the 3rd round of the 2004 NFL Draft as a result of the Philip Rivers-Eli Manning trade with the New York Giants. Throughout his career he has been very accurate on field goals and extra points, only missing 1 extra point in 254 attempts. After looking over the stats and comparing them to Kidd's, there's no comparison. Kaeding is the winner to represent the #10 Chargers jersey, but the real question is....is he the best kicker in Chargers history? Let's look at the three best and their stats with the Chargers:
As much as I hate to say it, that may put Rolf out of the argument for me. Kaeding has the accuracy advantage, but Carney's more than doubled the amount of attempts and made field goals. Who knows if Kaeding will be able to reproduce those numbers as a Charger. It's up to you guys though. Who should be the starting kicker on the Chargers all-time team?