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Let's Talk About the Time a Kicker Won NFL MVP

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PunterBro couldn't be old enough to rig the vote back in '82 could he?

Nearly 35 years ago a Redskins kicker won the NFL MVP, somehow
Nearly 35 years ago a Redskins kicker won the NFL MVP, somehow
Rob Carr/Getty Images

While doing research for the best and worst first round draft picks in Notre Dame history you may have noticed that Alan Page is one of the players to win the NFL MVP while not playing the position of quarterback or running back.

They've been handing out the MVP since 1957. Page claimed the award once as did linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986 after posting a league high 20.5 sacks.

The other winner was placekicker Mark Moseley.

A kicker? Absolutely.

He was to be Replaced

The funny thing about Moseley winning the MVP was that he wasn't even supposed to kick for the Redskins in 1982. You see, Moseley was no spring chicken at this point in his career. While he made the Pro Bowl in 1979, Moseley was a 34 year-old kicker who had missed 26 kicks over the previous two seasons. A few years ago, Grantland wrote a piece on Moseley and had this to say about the lead up to 1982 season in D.C.:

Moseley's MVP campaign got off to an inauspicious start. To begin with, he was almost replaced. Washington coach Joe Gibbs' staff told Moseley to not even bother showing up for training camp. His job belonged to Dan Miller, drafted by the Redskins that off-season. Moseley came anyway and was named a starter after Miller imploded in the preseason. He also didn't handle kickoffs during season. Gibbs worried Moseley might aggravate a muscle pull, so Jeff Hayes kicked off.

There was a Strike

Adding more color to this story was the strike that shortened the 1982 season. A cynic might say playing a 9-game schedule is pretty much the only way a kicker could ever win MVP.

The league got 2 games in to start the season before the players went on strike. In those games, Moseley hit all 6 field goal attempts in close victories over Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. In that Eagles game he tied the game in the fourth quarter and a kick in overtime won it.

When the league got back on the field in late November he later added 4 field goals in 12-7 win over St. Louis--obviously scoring all of the 'Skins points that day. The next week, Moseley kicked the game-winning field goal against the Giants that sealed a playoff bid (the franchises' first in 6 years) and set the NFL record for most consecutive field goals at 21.

Funnily enough, Moseley would hit his next 2 field goals in game 8 against the Saints but missed his only attempt in the Redskins' last game against the Rams. Moseley would finish the season nailing 20 out of his 21 field goals, although he did miss 3 extra points.

Washington rolled into the playoffs, their offense finally found their groove, and they ended up winning their first Super Bowl.

Crappy 3-year run for MVP's

Just as you'd expect a kicker to only have a chance to win MVP in a season with just 9 games so would it seem appropriate that Moseley won the award at the end of perhaps the league's worst 3-year MVP stretch ever.

Two years prior Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Sipe was having an above average NFL career for a signal caller and then led his team to a surprising 11-5 record. He won the MVP and would make his only Pro Bowl in 1980. Just three below .500 starting seasons later he was retired.

In 1981, Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson (who I would best compare to someone today like Philip Rivers) also won the award in his early 30's after Cincinnati had a surprisingly strong season.

The funniest part may be that the Redskins had future Hall of Famers in Art Monk and John Riggins on offense, plus former Notre Dame quarterback Joe Theismann who would go on to win the 1983 MVP.

Soccer Style Kicker?

Don't lie, at this point you've envisioned a kicker gracefully swinging his leg out wide and nailing clutch field goals like a stone cold 80's version of Adam Vinatieri.

Obviously, Moseley was a soccer style kicker.

Wrong.

And there is no doubt that Moseley followed up the MVP/Super Bowl season by making a video on his straight-on kicking style.

The straight-on kicking, the hair, the shorts--I'm going to assume that preparations have already been made to include this video in the National Archives.

Later in his career, Moseley would walk into his local barber and say, "Give me the Marino." Laces out, Dan.

No, This is the Best Part

Mark Moseley loves hamburgers.

After Moseley retired from the NFL in 1986 as the Redskins all-time leader in total points, he opened up two Mark Moseley's Famous Fries in the northern Virginia area. For the last dozen years he's been the Director of Franchising for the delicious Five Guys Burgers & Fries stores.

What, you thought this American hero would mess around with In-N-Out?