Same idea as last week, but a few announcements first:
- Sorry, no pictures unless SBN can provide them. That means that we'll most likely be going photo-less for many of the older players, but that's just the way it is.
- If there's a hotly debated spot on the list, I'll make sure to add a runner-up section to the post.
So without further ado, we're getting things started with Rob Bironas.
Career Achievements: Pro Bowl: 2007. All-Pro: 2007. Most field goals in a single game (8), October 21, 2007. Most points by a kicker in a single game (26). Most game-winning field goals in a single season (4): 2005.
Rob Bironas is probably the best Best Buy security guard to ever play in the NFL. He's faced his fair share of adversity along the way, but Bironas just keeps on keepin' on. The fact that he was able to stick with an NFL team has got to be considered a miracle to him after playing for six professional teams from 2002-2005. Hey, I'm not complaining, he's been a consistent bright spot on the special teams and continues to nail long field goals year after year.
To say that Bironas bleeds perseverance would be an understatement. His first test was being cut not once, but twice from his high school team. Bironas only got to play two years of varsity football, yet here he is today as one of the best kickers in the NFL. Next, Bironas had to deal with being benched only a year after being named a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza award for the nation's best kicker and being named to the All-SEC team for Damon Duval (who actually had a fascinating career as a 13 year old striker for the Chattanooga Express). Instead of fighting this, Bironas decided to take his talents to Georgia Southern University where his brother was a member of the soccer team.
Despite helping GSU win the Dviision-IAA National Championship and still being regarded as a very solid kicker, Bironas didn't attract much interest from NFL scouts, so he went back to Auburn and got his degree. The following summer was a defining one for Bironas not only as a football player, but as a human being. Hoping to attend some NFL training camps that offseason, Bironas somehow ended up as a part of his father's building automation business. Instead of taking a lunch break, Bironas would just go outside and kick footballs. He was clearly laser focused on this one goal, but sometimes he faltered and credits his father with helping him keep his mind on the right track.
Bironas worked hard, but it didn't yield many results in the early years. He was cut from three NFL teams after trying out for the Packers, Steelers, and Buccaneers, turning to the Arena Football League for employment every time he was let go, but finally got his shot with the Titans in 2005 and the rest is history.
Next, we have another easy choice and, naturally, another kicker. Al Del Greco is the franchise's all time leading scorer and it's really not even that close. He's made nearly 100 more field goals than Rob Bironas and is 14th overall on the NFL's leading scorer list.
Career Achievements: Titans/Oilers All-Time Leading Scorer.
In case you were curious, his career total ends up being 1,060 points from the years of 1991 to 2000.
Albert Louis Del Greco was born on March 2, 1962 in Providence, Rhode Island and was raised for most of his childhood in Miami. Like most kickers, Del Greco began by playing soccer. In fact, he was pretty damn good at it and won a state title at the age of 15. His talent didn't go unnoticed and he was allowed to letter in both football and soccer for Coral Gables High School.
He earned a kicking scholarship to Auburn University where he set the SEC record for field goal attempts in a game and most field goals made in a single game when he made six out of seven against Kentucky in 1982. Those 18 points he scored that day still stand as a school record. Overall, he ranks fifth on Auburn's scoring list.
Del Greco's career with the TItans saw him make the only field goal in Tennessee's lone Super Bowl appearance. He tied the game at 16 with a 43 yarder in the fourth quarter. He was, of course, part of the most famous game in franchise history, the Music City Miracle.
Del Greco's 17 year NFL career with the Packers, Cardinals, and Titans finished in 2000 where his final stats were a 77% field goal percentage as a result of going 347 of 449 on attempts. His career total for points is 1,584. Currently, he hosts a radio show in Birmingham, Alabama and coaches both golf and football at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Alabama.
That's all for part two, be ready next Thursday for 4 and 5.