Justin Paul Tucker (born November 21, 1989) is an American football placekicker for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Texas and was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, and is regarded as one of the greatest placekickers of all time. Tucker currently holds two major NFL records for kickers: career field goal percentage (minimum 100 attempts) with 90.0 percent.
Tucker graduated from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. At Westlake, he was a teammate of future NFL quarterback Nick Foles, tight end Kyle Adams, and linebacker Bryce Hager. Tucker played wide receiver, safety, and placekicker on the Westlake Chaparrals. Tucker also played soccer from age 3–4 up until his sophomore year. He played in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Tucker attended the University of Texas at Austin and played on the Longhorns football team. In 2011, concluding a rivalry that saw Texas A&M University and the University of Texas square off 118 times over 117 years, he kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. Texas, then ranked No. 25, won 27–25. Even though he finished his college football career with an 83.3% field-goal conversion percentage which was the third-best in the program's history, he was not invited to the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl or the NFL Scouting Combine.
Originally a communications major, he switched to recording technology and studied under Nikita Storojev at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music where he learned to sing operatically in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin, and Russian. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music a semester early in order to train for the NFL Draft.
To help promote himself for the draft, Tucker shot an uncut and unedited five-minute YouTube video of him making all ten of his field goal attempts from left, right and center angles and distances ranging from 30 to 55 yards out. At the end, he looked at the camera and said, "Pick me." After not being among the four kickers (Randy Bullock, Greg Zuerlein, Blair Walsh and John Potter) selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens on May 29, to begin workouts and camp for the Ravens alongside placekicker Billy Cundiff. After Tucker's preseason performance, he was named the starter and Cundiff was released.
In his debut season, Tucker proved to be a very accurate kicker, making all 42 of his extra point attempts and missing only three out of his 33 field goals. During Week 3 against the New England Patriots, Tucker kicked a game-winning field goal with two seconds left, giving the Ravens a 31–30 victory and their first-ever regular season victory over the Patriots. In Week 12 against the San Diego Chargers, Tucker kicked the game-tying and game-winning field goal at the end of regulation and in overtime respectively in a 16–13 victory. On January 12, 2013, during the Divisional Round game against the Denver Broncos, Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal in double overtime to win the game (later known as the Mile High Miracle) and sent the Ravens to the AFC Championship for the second consecutive year.
During the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, Tucker failed in completing the first fake field goal attempt in Super Bowl history, coming up just one yard short of the nine needed for the first down. Nonetheless, his two fourth-quarter field goals secured a Ravens victory, earning Tucker his first Super Bowl ring.
Despite missing two field goals in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, Tucker continued his success as an accurate kicker for the Ravens. In Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins, he kicked the go-ahead 44-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to give the Ravens a 26–23 victory. He also kicked the game-winning 46-yard field goal in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10, letting the Ravens win 20–17. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November. On Thanksgiving, Tucker kicked five field goals en route to the Ravens' 22–20 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also selected as the player of the game along with Jacoby Jones by John Madden. He brought his holder, Sam Koch and long snapper, Morgan Cox, to accept the award on screen with him.
In 2013, Tucker kicked a franchise record-tying six field goals that were the Ravens' only points in an 18–16 win against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on December 16, including a 61-yard field goal in the last minute. During the game, Tucker became the first kicker in NFL history to kick a field goal in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s in the same game. Tucker's 61-yard field goal set the NFL record for longest field goal in a domed stadium. He broke his own record almost eight years later in the same stadium. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week three times: Week 10, Week 12, and Week 15. Tucker finished the year leading the league in field goal attempts and makes earning his first Pro Bowl selection as well as being voted first team All-Pro by AP voters.
In Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, Tucker kicked a game-winning 32-yard field goal as time expired to give the Ravens a 23–21 victory. He won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his game against Cleveland. He won AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November. He finished the year contributing 129 of the then-franchise-record 409 points scored by the Ravens that season. He converted all 42 extra point attempts and 29 of 34 field goal attempts.
Tucker had his worst year statistically, missing seven field goals despite leading the league in field goal attempts. However, he was also one of the lone bright spots in a season plagued by injuries. In Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers he would kick the game-tying and game-winning field goals at the end of regulation and in overtime respectively in a 23–20 victory. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his game against Pittsburgh. The next week against the Cleveland Browns, he kicked the game-tying 25-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, but the Ravens would lose in overtime 30–33. In Week 8 against the San Diego Chargers, Tucker made all five of his field goal attempts, including the game-winning 39-yard field goal as time expired as the Ravens won 29–26 for their second win of the year. He won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his game against San Diego. In Week 11 against the St. Louis Rams, made the game-tying and game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter with the latter coming as time expired in the 16–13 victory for the Ravens' third win of the year. However, in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, Tucker missed a potential go-ahead 55-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter and the Ravens lost 13–15. In the 2015 season, Tucker converted all 29 extra point attempts and 33 of 40 field goal attempts.
On February 26, 2016, the Ravens placed the franchise tag on Tucker. Tucker signed the franchise tender on March 4, 2016, which would pay him $4.5 million. Tucker signed a four-year, $16.8 million extension on July 15, 2016.
Tucker converted a go-ahead field goal in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns in a 25–20 win before kicking a game-winning 53-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter of a 19–17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He won AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September. In Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tucker kicked four field goals, three from over 50 yards in a 19–14 win, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. In Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Tucker tied the NFL single-season record for 10 field goals of more than 50 yards in a 27–26 win. Tucker finished the year making all but one field goal, which was blocked in Week 14 against the New England Patriots, leading the league with 38 makes. He was named to his second Pro Bowl, his first since 2013, as a result of his successful 2016 season and was named First-team All-Pro for the second time in his career.
Tucker was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November. He converted all eight field attempts in the month. In 2017, Tucker completed 34 of 37 field goals and was a perfect 39-for-39 on extra points. He was named second-team All-Pro for the 2017 season.
In Week 3 of the 2018 season, Tucker made two 50+ yard field goals and three extra points in a 27–14 win over the Denver Broncos, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He was later named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September. However, on October 21, 2018, Tucker missed his first career extra point attempt against the New Orleans Saints with 24 seconds left in the game, resulting in a 24–23 loss in a game that would have otherwise likely gone to overtime. In Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tucker kicked the go-ahead 24-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter of a 24–21 win. In Week 17, Tucker converted all four field goals and two extra point attempts in a 26–24 win over the Cleveland Browns, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Tucker became the first player in NFL history with six seasons of 30 or more made field goals. He was named as a first team All-Pro for the third time.
In the third quarter of the Wild Card Round against in the Los Angeles Chargers on January 6, 2019, Tucker missed a 50-yard field goal, his first career postseason miss. He would finish the game 1 of 2 as the Ravens lost 17–23.
On April 24, 2019, Tucker signed a four-year, $23.05 million contract extension with $12 million guaranteed, keeping him under contract through the 2023 season. In Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tucker hit all four field goals, including a game-tying 48-yarder and a 46-yard game-winner in overtime, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
In the following week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tucker made three field goals and two extra points en route to another AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October. On November 3, in a game against the New England Patriots, Tucker missed his first kick of the season and his second extra point of his career. The Ravens still went on to win 37–20. On December 1, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers, he made a 49-yard game winning field goal in the 20–17 victory. In the 2019 season, Tucker converted 57 of 59 extra point attempts and 28 of 29 field goal attempts. He led the NFL in extra point attempts and makes. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Team for the 2010s decade.
Tucker continued his accurate kicking in 2020, with his first miss not coming until Week 5, when he missed a 61-yard attempt in Week 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals. In Week 14 against the Cleveland Browns, Tucker kicked a game-winning 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining as the Ravens won 47–42. In the 2020 season, Tucker converted 52 of 53 extra point attempts and 26 of 29 field goal attempts. He was named to his fourth career Pro Bowl.
Amid difficult wind conditions, Tucker missed a pair of field goals in the first half that hit the left upright in the first attempt and the right upright in the second attempt in a 17–3 Divisional Round loss to the Buffalo Bills on January 16, 2021. He finished the game going one for three.
On September 26, 2021, Tucker kicked an NFL record 66-yard game winning field goal as time expired in regulation in a 19–17 Week 3 win over the Detroit Lions. He finished the game with a performance reminiscent of his 2013 one in the same stadium, making four straight field goals after missing a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter. He won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his game against Detroit. Tucker converted a game-winning 36-yard field goal in a Week 9 34–31 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings. Tucker finished the 2021 season converting all 32 extra point attempts and 35 of 37 field goal attempts. He led the NFL among qualified kickers in field goal percentage.
Tucker was selected to his fifth Pro Bowl following the season and was named as a first team All-Pro for the fifth time. On the NFL Top 100 Players of 2022, Tucker was ranked 94th by his peers.
On August 8, 2022, Tucker signed a four-year extension with the Ravens worth $24 million, making him the highest-paid kicker in the league. He made the game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired in a 19–17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. The kick was also his 61st consecutive field goal made in the fourth quarter or overtime, which is an NFL record. In a 28–27 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12, Tucker attempted to break his own record for the longest field goal in NFL history with a 67-yard field goal with two seconds left in the fourth quarter, but the attempt fell short. On December 11, Tucker became the Ravens all-time leading scorer with a 42-yard attempt versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the 2022 season, Tucker converted 31 of 32 extra point attempts and 37 of 43 field goal attempts. He led the NFL in field goals attempted and made.
Tucker is a devout Catholic and makes the sign of the cross before every kick.
Tucker is a classically trained bass-baritone who can sing opera in seven different languages. He has been asked by both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Opera Orchestra of New York for performances in the past, although he was unable to participate. In 2015, Tucker was contracted by Royal Farms to sing for its line of commercials. During the year, he sang "Ave Maria" for a Catholic Charities benefit concert with the Concert Artists of Baltimore. Tucker's opera talents also led him through to the finals of the Most Valuable Performer, a talent show featuring talent performances of NFL players, where he won thanks to his rendition of "Ave Maria". As a result of his victory, he received a ring and won $50,000 for his charity through the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Tucker married his wife in March 2015. They have one child, a boy.
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