Jan Stenerud, who was born November 26, 1942, in Fetsund, Norway, was an outstanding ski jumper who attended Montana State on a skiing scholarship. Late in his sophomore year, Stenerud was spotted kicking a football by the college's basketball coach who relayed the news of the Norwegian's abilities to the football coach.
He joined the football team his senior year and ended up playing two seasons of varsity football. He connected on a then-record 59-yard field goal and 82 points scored. The Kansas City Chiefs were so impressed that they drafted Stenerud in the third round of the AFL's 1966 future draft.
The 6-2, 187-pound Stenerud excelled for 19 seasons and 263 games in pro football. He never missed a game because of injury or illness. He kicked for the Chiefs for 13 years from 1967 until 1979 but was released in the summer of 1980. Three months later, he signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he stayed with for four seasons. In 1984, the Packers traded Stenerud to the Minnesota Vikings for a seventh-round draft choice. He retired after the 1985 season.
Stenerud is the first “pure” placekicker to enter the Hall. His list of outstanding achievements is long. With 1,699 points, he ranked behind only the fabled George Blanda in all-time scoring at the time of his retirement.
His 373 career field goals and seven seasons of scoring 100 or more points were also NFL records. He kicked 17 field goals over 50 yards and his personal best was a 55-yarder against Denver in 1970.
In the Chiefs' upset victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV, Stenerud's three field goals, including a then Super Bowl record 48-yarder, accounted for the first nine points. A six-time all-league selection, Stenerud played in two AFL All-Star games and in four AFC-NFC Pro Bowls. He was named the Outstanding Offensive Player in the 1972 Pro Bowl.