Jason Hanson: 21 Years, One Team, No Titles

By Andrew Fisher
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

It’s going to be weird watching the Detroit Lions next season without Jason Hanson kicking off the game. After 21 years in the Motor City, Hanson is hanging up his kicking shoes. While it shouldn’t be surprising that a 21-year veteran is retiring, I was still shocked when I saw it go across the ticker the other night. What? Hanson can’t retire, that guy is the Lions.

Obviously, Barry Sanders or Calvin Johnson are probably the two most famous Lions, but Hanson is always a player I’ll associate with the franchise. It’s not very often when a kicker is so well known as a representative for a team.

Hanson spent his entire career with Detroit, on a lot of bad teams. This guy has seen a ton of bad football in his career, but he still stuck it out. He was always still good enough to keep his job, and apparently, he wanted to keep his job with the Lions. I think that’s kind of cool.

You just don’t see players spend that amount of time with one team anymore. 21 years is even a long time for a kicker, I mean, that’s a long time. For a sports perspective on just how long that is – Dennis Rodman was still playing for the Detroit Pistons when Hanson started kicking for the Lions. Rodman has been retired from the NBA for 13 years.

So, it boils down to 21 years, one team, and no titles. That’s Hanson’s career in a nutshell. At the same time, it should be noted that you don’t keep your job in the NFL as a kicker, unless you’re damn good. Hanson was certainly that, as he ranks 3rd in league history, with 495 made field goals. That’s a lot of field goals, and you can bet he will be missed in Detroit.


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