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App State greats – Björn Nittmo

SwedieshA semi-regular feature in which we spotlight an App State star from back in the day who many fans may not remember, but should know.

NAME: Björn Nittmo

POSITION: Kicker

WHY HE’S A GREAT: First-team AP All-American in 1988. He was named placekicker on the App State 75th Anniversary Team.

IN THE NFL: He played one season, with the Giants. He later played in NFL Europe, then several Arena teams. He also played in the Canadian Football League with a franchise located in … Louisiana? He almost made it back into the NFL in 1997 … almost.

COLLEGE STATS: He made 55 of 74 FG attempts, both marks school records. He’s second all-time in career kicking points (250). He also owns App State record for kicking points in a game, with 15; a feat he accomplished twice (Gardner-Webb ’88, The Citadel ’86).

DEEP SIXED: App State made its first playoff appearance in 1986. Down 28-26 to Nichols State, App State had a chance to win on a 42-yard Nittmo attempt with 18 seconds to go. It went wide left.

BREAKING DOWN WALLS: He was the first Swede ever to play in a NFL game.

PRO STATS: In his only NFL season, 1989, he appeared in six games with the Giants. He made 9 of 12 FG attempts, none longer than 40 yards. He was 12-of-13 PATs.

HE CAN KICK ALRIGHT, KICK YOUR A@%: Quote – “‘Most people think kickers are wimps,” he said. ”But there’s nothing more I’d love to do than smack somebody in the head.”

IRONY OF THE TUNA: Nittmo got his first chance in the pros when then-NY Giants coach Bill Parcells believed in him. Sixteen years later as coach of the Cowboys, Parcells would cut longtime Dallas linebacker Dexter Coakley.

THAT’S GREAT DAVE: Letterman lent great celebrity when the late night host coined a new catch phrase in 1989 – “Who do you think you are, Bjorn Nittmo?” Nittmo appeared on the show at least twice.

THE MILDLY-INTERESTING BOWL: Nittmo played in ABC’s ArenaBowl XII, but his Tampa Bay team lost, 62-31. He recorded one FG, from 44 yards.

WORST PUN EVER: Quote – “In Shreveport, he proved to be a natural Bjorn kicker, connecting on 76 of 96 field goal attempts and scoring a franchise-record total of 312 points in two seasons.”

MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Nittmo’s second NFL game was a Monday Nighter at San Francisco. He went 3-for-3 on PATs and hit a 39-yard FG in a 34-24 loss.

SUPAH-STAH!: Nittmo appeared in the movie, “Any Given Sunday” as simply “kicker.”

THE VALUE OF A NOMAD CAREER: About 18 bucks.

28 Comments

  1. Jamey

    May 25, 2010 at 7:52 am

    From now on, when indicating that you are about to kick someone's rectal region, all Appfan's must say:

    "I am getting ready to Bjorn Nittmo that guy's ass."

  2. Dan

    May 25, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Jamey, I'm going to Bjorn Nittmo your ass for making such a dumb suggestion. Wait…

  3. AppBanker

    May 25, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I was in school when Nittmo was kicking. He wasn't the most accurate field goal kicker, but he had a strong leg. Several times he put it through the uprights on a kickoff.

  4. Jamey

    May 25, 2010 at 8:28 am

    HAHA! I have persuaded you with my umatched intellect and mind-control Dan.

  5. Jamey

    May 25, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Is it just me or does it seem that "Bjorn Nittmo" would be a fantastic Nordic translation for "Chuck Norris"

  6. Dan

    May 25, 2010 at 8:31 am

    The only records I want our current and future PK's threatening are accuracy records (I understand we'll have to wait at least a year for that).

  7. Dan

    May 25, 2010 at 8:36 am

    I guess I could have just left that at "future kickers".

  8. madapp

    May 25, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Is the Swedish meatball still married to Jim Garner's daughter? (former ASU AD)

  9. herbstreitsucks

    May 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

    When was the last time Vitaris smacked somebody in the head…. Oh wait he's the one that gets smacked in the head.

  10. Joe

    May 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Six degrees of Favre?

  11. clayton

    May 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

    He really can kick the ball over them mountains.

    And he looks like Dale Jr.

  12. GOASU90

    May 25, 2010 at 11:49 am

    two lasting impressions 1) 1986 opening game against Western Carolina, he nailed two 50 yard field goals. 2) Playoff game against Nicholas State…I swear it looked good to me

  13. Rick

    May 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Yes it did look good to me too. I was on the field (in a jersy without pads … injury AGAIN) and we all thought it was good. Bjron and I got to be really good friends and we stayed in touch for about 5 or 6 years. Last I heard, he was in Arizona. I taught weighlifting in the Quinn's 1st few years and trained Bjorn for his pro tryout. Most people don't know just how strong he was. I saw him go head to head with Kenny Dawson on the leg press, and KD had the strongest legs on the team. When I was injured (i.e. all the time) I worked with Bjorn shagging balls and holding. I saw him kick one in practice, from the turf, from the 40 that landed on top of the field house … into the wind! Had to be 70+. Noone since has had the leg he had at ASU. He only kicked his 1st football when he was a senior in high school. He transfered to the US (Alabama if I remember correctly) and was urged to take on the sport by his HS coach. He was more accurate than most remember and he was a helluva nice guy. He and Mary Lois are still married, last I heard.

    Also, on the Nichols State kick, if we had the field we had today, it would have been good. We always had problems on than dam crappy hard turf. (Like being tackled on a sidewalk.) His plant foot stuck to the turf.

  14. Flashman

    May 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I remember that Nittmo chose ASU over Auburn out of high school because of the skiing in the Boone area. Probably didn't want to play four years for Pat Dye either.

  15. mtdSecurity

    May 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I have heard all I can stand. I am not going to stand for it anymore. No Vitaris, is not the world's best field goal kicker. However, he is one of the better field goal kickers of the FCS (I-AA). Do not compare him to any field goal kicker in the FBS (I-A), that is just simply unfair. Most coaches at the FCS level or lower would be blessed and thankful for a field goal kicker that would even attempt a 40+ yard field goal. 7 for 11 is just fine from that distance. Also, one must give him credit, he did not miss a single extra point all year, 58 for 58. Vitaris finished third in the top ten for total extra points. The leader was Bobby McKnight of Montana, yes I know Montana, 64 for 67. Vitaris was the only kicker in the top ten to have a 100% in extra points. He was tied for 5th in total Field Goals with 19. Leader was Brian Pate of William & Mary with 23. Vitaris was 40th in FG% but not even 15 of the 40 even attempted more then 20 Field Goals. Everyone, needs to give him credit.

    If you agree, disagree, or have a comment please post.

    Kicking Statistics Jason Vitaris 2009
    XPM XPA XP% FGM 58 58 100 19

    FGA FG% 1-19 20-29 30-39
    28 67.9 1/1 6/8 5/8

    40-49 50+ LNG PTS
    7/11 0/0 49 115

  16. herbstreitsucks

    May 26, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Ha Ha, I got MTD all tore up. I didn't say anything about his kicking ability. I just stated that you won't see him in any brawls in my opinion.

  17. AppFan

    May 26, 2010 at 4:43 am

    re: six degrees of Favre. Sorry. We got nuttin'

  18. Dan

    May 26, 2010 at 4:55 am

    7 for 11 beyond 40 yards is perfectly acceptable. How many kicks did he miss from inside 40? (Too many)

  19. herbstreitsucks

    May 26, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Dan you already went to far. You started throwing stats back at MTD. He's the only one on AppFan allowed to use stats.

  20. Rick

    May 26, 2010 at 5:52 am

    How about two degrees of Favre. Bjorn played with the New York Giants in 1989 with C Frank Winters. Favre played on the '92 Green Bay Packers with C Frank Winters.

  21. Rufus

    May 26, 2010 at 6:31 am

    I dont know whats stranger, MTD using complete sentences and forming a nice argument (I'm impressed and oddly proud for some reason), or that we're back to arguing about the kicker.

  22. Dan

    May 26, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Offseason Rufus, not much else to do…

  23. Paul

    May 26, 2010 at 8:29 am

    One more important fact about Björn Nittmo. He is the reason why the band plays the Olympic theme for the kick off. He once made the comment that the theme "fires him up". So, after 20 some years after he left ASU, we still play the Olympic theme And, probably will for years to come. Thanks Björn!

  24. APP88

    May 26, 2010 at 9:16 am

    The Olympic them goes back further than Bjorn. I remember it starting in the mid 70's, probably after the 76 olympics.
    I agree that Bjorn was the best kicker that I've ever seen wear the Black and Gold.

  25. herbstreitsucks

    May 26, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Almost 100 days. Have you got your tickets yet?

  26. kmack

    May 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Can't believe the fake kickoff hasn't been mentioned. Strangest thing you'll ever see a kicker do.

  27. Paul

    May 27, 2010 at 6:09 am

    What fake kickoff? Explain…..

  28. kmack

    May 30, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Nitmo used to fake kicking the ball with every kickoff. He'd run up to the ball like he was going to kick it and stopped just short. Doesn't anybody else recall this? I know it wasn't the Jim Beam…

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