Sebastian Paweł Janikowski (Polish pronunciation: [sɛˈbastjan janiˈkɔfskʲi]; born March 2, 1978) is a former American football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 seasons, primarily with the Oakland Raiders. He played college football at Florida State University and was selected by the Oakland Raiders 17th overall in the 2000 NFL draft, where he spent all but one season of his professional career. During his final year in the NFL, he played for the Seattle Seahawks.
Janikowski with the Seahawks in 2018
|Born:||March 2, 1978|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||260 lb (118 kg)|
(Daytona Beach, Florida)
|NFL Draft:||2000 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Only one of three NFL placekickers to be selected in the first round of a draft, Janikowski is the Raiders' all-time leading scorer at 1,799 points and has appeared in more games with the franchise than any other player at 268 games. He also tied the then-NFL record for the longest field goal completion at 63 yards, which is the second-longest completion in league history.
Sebastian Janikowski was born on March 2, 1978 as an only child to Henryk and Halina Janikowski in Wałbrzych, Poland. His father was a professional soccer player, and moved to the United States in the early 1980s in the hopes of reviving his career. Years after Janikowski's father emigrated from Poland, his parents divorced and Henryk married an American citizen. Left at home with just his mother, Janikowski began to excel at soccer himself, and when he was 15, Janikowski earned a spot on the Polish under-17 team.
His father's marriage to an American meant Janikowski could legally emigrate to the United States. He spoke very little English, but learned quickly by taking a three-week night class and by watching television. Janikowski played in only five games for the Orangewood Christian soccer team, but led them to the Class A State Championship game by scoring 15 goals, where they lost to Lakeland Christian in penalty kicks (3–2). Then living in Orlando, Florida with his father and stepmother, Janikowski joined the Orlando Lions, an under-19 soccer club coached by Angelo Rossi. Rossi was also the soccer coach at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, and convinced Henryk that his son would be better off there. Henryk agreed, but was unwilling to move, so Janikowski moved in with Rossi's family.
During his senior year at Seabreeze, Janikowski played both soccer and football after being recruited by the school's football coach. As the team's placekicker, he quickly earned a reputation by kicking four field goals of 50+ yards. One of them was for 60 yards, third-best in Florida high school history. During a practice at Seabreeze High, he kicked an 82-yard field goal. USA Today named Janikowski to its 1996 All-American team. After being heavily recruited by some of the top collegiate football programs, Janikowski decided on Florida State University.
Janikowski attended Florida State University, where he played for coach Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles football team. Bowden later said, "Boy, have you ever thought about (I have!) how many national championships we might have won if we had Janikowski every year of my career?" In three seasons, he amassed a career scoring total of 324 points (3rd all-time for the school). In 1999, he won the Lou Groza Award for the second year in a row, an honor given annually to the nation's top collegiate kicker. Janikowski is currently the only player to win this award two years in a row. He became popular with fans for being able to placekick a kick-off through the endzone uprights, having done it so often that the stadium monitors would display field goal graphics even though it was a kick-off and not an actual field goal attempt.
Janikowski was first called "Seabass" while playing for FSU. Wide receiver Peter Warrick began calling him Seabass since he said the name Sebastian was too long.
Janikowski's career at FSU was not without incident. In August 1998, he got into a fight outside of a Tallahassee bar and was charged with failure to leave the premises; he pled no contest to the misdemeanor offense. That same year, the night after a season-ending win over rival Florida, Janikowski got into a fight at a local bar and was charged with battery.
In the 1999 season, FSU was again in contention for a national title. Prior to the team's appearance in the national championship game (the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana), Janikowski declared his intentions to declare himself eligible for the 2000 NFL Draft, saying his primary reason for foregoing his senior year was to pay for his mother to come to the United States.
Although Janikowski's skill as a kicker was unquestioned by NFL scouts, his off-the-field behavior was a cause of concern. In January 2000, Janikowski was partying with a group of friends when his high school friend was arrested at a nightclub. Janikowski, who later said he was thinking he could save everyone paperwork and the trouble, approached the arresting officer and asked how much it would take to let his friend go. He was then arrested for attempting to bribe an officer, a charge that carried a $5,000 fine, up to five years in prison, and possible deportation. Janikowski claimed that he thought he could pay a fine to have his friend released, but the officer interpreted the action as an attempted bribe.
Shortly after the draft, Janikowski was acquitted of his bribery charge. He had testified on his own behalf, stating that he was simply trying to pay his friend's fine (as opposed to bribing the arresting officer). Just eight days after his acquittal, Janikowski and two friends were arrested in Tallahassee on suspicion of felony possession of the drug GHB. Once again, he faced prison time or deportation if convicted, but was acquitted of all charges in April 2001.
Janikowski's professional career got off to a rough start: in 2000, only 68.8% of his field goal attempts were successful. His accuracy improved dramatically in 2001, when 82.1% of his attempts were successful.
Janikowski reached Super Bowl XXXVII with the Raiders in 2002, and kicked an early field goal in the first quarter. His kick briefly gave the Raiders a 3–0 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This would be the Raiders' only lead of the game; they lost 48–21.
After the 2004 season, Janikowski was given a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $10.5 million. This made him (at the time) the highest paid kicker in NFL history. In February 2010, Janikowski extended his contract with the Raiders for $16 million over the next four years, including $9 million in guaranteed money, making him the highest paid placekicker in NFL history.
In August 2013, Janikowski signed a four-year contract extension with the Raiders for $19 million over five years, including $8 million guaranteed.
Prior to the 2017 season, he took a pay cut from his $4.05 million base salary to $3 million but it became fully guaranteed. On September 9, 2017, he was placed on injured reserve due to back issues and Giorgio Tavecchio was signed on from the practice squad to temporarily take his place as kicker. On February 14, 2018, it was reported that Janikowski would not be re-signed by the Raiders.
On April 13, 2018, Janikowski signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He won the Seahawks starting kicking job after the team released Jason Myers on August 20, 2018. In Week 12 against the Carolina Panthers, Janikowski made all three extra points and three field goals, including a 31-yard game winner as the Seahawks won 30-27. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance. On January 5, 2019, Janikowski missed a 57-yard field goal against the Dallas Cowboys in the 2019 Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs and suffered a hamstring injury on the same missed field goal kick. The kicker position was then left in the hands of rookie Seahawks punter, Michael Dickson, who missed an onside kick that would have potentially put the Seahawks back in position to score and win the game.
On April 28, 2019, Janikowski announced his retirement after 19 years in the NFL. He ended his career as the Raiders' all-time leading scorer, with 1,799 points.
- Longest field goal in overtime: 57 yards
- Most field goals in one quarter: 4 (tied)
- Most field goals of 50+ yards in a career: 58
- Most field goals attempted of 60+ yards in a career: 8
- Most field goals of 50+ yards in one game: 3 (tied with Justin Tucker)
- Most extra points in a Pro Bowl: 8
- Longest field goal attempt (unofficial): 76 yards
Attempts and other recordsEdit
On October 16, 2003, during the second quarter, Janikowski tied the NFL record by completing 4 field goals in a single quarter.
On November 4, 2007, he attempted to kick a 64-yard record field goal before halftime against the Houston Texans on a windless Oakland afternoon in McAfee Coliseum. If successful, the kick would have broken the all-time NFL field goal record of 63 yards. However, it bounced off the right upright and came back out.
On September 28, 2008, Janikowski unsuccessfully attempted a 76-yard field goal against the San Diego Chargers into the heavy wind right before halftime. This is presumed to be the longest attempt in NFL history; though the league keeps no such records on attempts, the longest known attempts previous to this were 74 yard attempts by Mark Moseley and Joe Danelo in 1979.
On October 19, 2008, Janikowski broke his own Raiders team record, making a 57-yard field goal in overtime to defeat the New York Jets, 16–13, the longest overtime field goal in NFL history. On December 27, 2009, he again broke his own team record by kicking a 61-yard field goal against the Cleveland Browns before halftime. On December 26, 2010, Janikowski converted a 59-yard field goal in the second quarter of a home game against the Indianapolis Colts making him the second player with two 59+ yard field goals (Morten Andersen). On January 3, 2010, he reached his 1,000th career point with a 39-yard field goal against the Baltimore Ravens. He is the highest scoring player in Raiders history.
On September 12, 2011, as a rainy first half against the Denver Broncos came to a close, Janikowski made a 63-yard field goal and tied the NFL record set by Tom Dempsey in 1970 and previously tied by Jason Elam (1998) and afterwards by David Akers (2012), but which has subsequently been broken by Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos. On November 27, 2011, in a game against the Chicago Bears, he made 6 field goals of 40, 47, 42, 19, 37, and 44 yards to break the team record of most field goals in a single game. He attempted a record breaking 65-yard field goal on December 18, 2011, against the Detroit Lions, but Ndamukong Suh blocked it to end the game.
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