Meet the Arizona Cardinals Legends: Jim Bakken

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

Jim Bakken might not be a household name, but he’s one of the all-time great Arizona Cardinals

When fans are talking about the greatest players in their favorite team’s history, kickers are rarely mentioned. Other than a select few, they operated in relative anonymity, mentioned only when they fail. The Arizona Cardinals have had some terrific kickers throughout their history, but none compares to Jim Bakken.

Bakken was a seventh round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 1962. He quickly took control of the job as kicker, and never looked back. For 17 years, he represented the Cardinals, and he has a tremendous list of accomplishments to show for it.

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Total field goals made isn’t a statistic to judge by, but he did lead the league twice in that category. He also led the league in field goal percentage twice, and in scoring once. Upon his retirement, he was the third leading scorer of all-time and tied for third in total field goals made.

There were plenty of honors bestowed upon Bakken during his career as well. He was a Pro Bowler four times, and was a first team All Pro in 1975 and 1976. In addition, he was elected to the 1960s and 1970s All Decade teams. In 1967, he set the record for field goals in a game, with seven. That stood until 1989, when it was tied. It was broken until 2007.

Bakken is the all-time leading score in Cardinals history. Over his 17 seasons, he scored a total of 1380 points, which is almost double that of the next closest player. He has also played in more games than any other player in team history, suiting up 234 times.

Next: Twenty-Five Greatest Players in Cardinals History

Kickers don’t usually get the recognition they deserve, and Bakken is no exception. He was a tremendous player who was a big part of the Cardinals for 17 years. Fans of the team may not know his name, but they should.