On a cold November day in the 1980 season, a veteran kicker in need of a job joined a Green Bay Packers team that was in desperate need of a good kicker. Jan Stenerud and the Packers of the early ‘80s were made for each other.
Stenerud was on the cutting edge of the 1960s soccer-style kicking revolution. The native of Fetsund, Norway, who had come to the United States to join the ski jumping team at Montana State University, had become one of the most accomplished kickers in pro football history.
Montana State football coach Jim Sweeney first convinced Stenerud to try place kicking. He made the team and was scouted by the Chiefs, then of the American Football League. Stenerud became a sensation in Kansas City.
Stenerud kicked three field goals in a Super Bowl IV Chiefs’ victory over the Minnesota Vikings. He was chosen the MVP of the 1972 Pro Bowl.
After being replaced by Nick Lowery in 1980, Stenerud joined the Packers. His leadership helped improve the chemistry of the struggling team.
His 292 points with the Packers included 115 extra points and 59 field goals. In 1981, he converted 22 of 24 field goal attempts, a 91.6 percent success rate. He tallied four field goals, including a 46-yard effort, and five extra points in two Packers playoff games following the 1982 season.
Many remember Stenerud’s game-winning field goal in a wild Monday Night Football game from 1983. The Packers beat the Washington Redskins 48-47.
Stenerud played two seasons for the Vikings after his Packers career. His career totals include 373 field goals and 580 extra points for a total of 1,699 points. He made 17 field goals of 50 or more yards as a pro.
Stenerud was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
To see Jan Stenerud’s personal website, click here.