Kickers are better yes, but the other factor is kick returners are better as well. Coaches shy away from anything over 50 yards for fear of a big return. You can feel a buzz in the crowd when a team is trying a 50+ yard FG. Not because they might make it, but because they might not and a big return is coming.
This is why you can't take the single out of the game.
A good question everyman. I don't know if kickers in the CFL are better now than they once were. In 2015 converts had to be kicked from the 32 yard line instead of the 12 yard line. For some kickers this has been a challenge. The single point convert is no longer a given. I'm wondering if this has lowered the overall %. I looked up the stats for all CFL kickers from 2015 through 2017 but really don't have time to do a year to year comparison.
It would be interesting to see if there has been an upward "tend" of more successful converts and FG. I just don't know. The thing is stats can be manipulated to prove a point. I don't know much about stats but I think variables can skew the results: number of games played, distance of attempted FGs, number of FG or convert attempts etc. Let us say that kicker A has a 78% success rate in 2016 and a 90% success rate in 2017. Wow! Nice improvement but is it really? We later learn that he attempted only 10 FG over the year and although he succeeded on 9 of them, his longest was only 29 yards out. By comparison we learn that he attempted 48 FG the previous year, many over 45 yards. He clicked on 37 attempts. With many 45 yards and beyond and a few over 50 yard sis 78% that bad? did he really improve in 2017?
it would be interesting to know if kickers were trying for longer field goals 20 years ago thereby presumably having a lower success rate. We can say that but who knows? And I'm not sure if returners are better now. They probably are as are all athletes I guess. In doors helps but Lui's average accuracy was low by todays standards. McCallum's was a high % kicker for sure.
Again the highest today are Medlock and Whyte-outdoor guys-86 %
And of course the longer convert issue raised earlier is a complete non-issue. That has nothing to do with field goal percentage obviously..
I should know this but has the CFL followed the NFL route of having a "K ball" for the kicking game? Presumably this is a ball just to be used in the kicking game...not sure if this is to help in accuracy or just designed to ensure that no one is messing with the ball. That both teams are using the same ball with the same specs.
Not as obvious as you think. Perhaps your topic title should have read, " Judging Kickers based on their FG success rate". You opened the thread with "Just looking at % made by FG kickers" but then began speaking of "kickers". When wondering whether kickers are better today than they were in the Cutler and Passaglia days why limit it to just their FG success rate, especially given the fact that they are responsible for single point converts which could win or lose games? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to evaluate a kicker's performance based only on FG percentages without consideration of their success rate as convert kickers in my opinion.
By the way, you said, Passaglia had only had one season over 80% and that was his last." What was your source? My understanding is that he actually kicked 91% in his last season  and kicked over 84% in another season early in his career!
Regardless, if percentages are going up today compared to years past it, using dedicated long snappers may have some bearing on improved stats.
Yes you are right. Lui did hit 84% early on and 91% in his last year, making it only 2 out of 25 years of hitting over 80%.
In a 25 year career I am surprised that his overall percentage of field goals made is well below the standards of today which seems to be 80% minimum.
Just looked up Osbaldiston's career % and it was 72% in his long run. Don Sweet had a great 13 year career in Montreal and hit over 80% just once.
Probably similar to QBs. 60% pass completion rate is barely acceptable today whereas anything over 55% was good was good when Moon played in Canada who was at 57%. Lancaster was at 54% same as Russ Jackson back in their days.
When comparing current kickers to ones in the past, you can't use convert rates. The rule only recently changed.
It's very obvious that FG %'s have gone up over the years. Long snappers probably have something to do with it, but I'd think the biggest factor is specialization. For example, Lui Passaglia played QB in high school, and was a wide receiver/kicker at Simon Fraser. Modern kickers tend have been playing the position exclusively since high school, with the help of many individual coaches along the way. They focus solely on kicking from a young age.
It's a one inch tee. It no doubt makes a difference, but not a huge one. I'd hate to see a team have to place the ball on a snow or ice covered field. If it really made that much of a difference CFL kicking records should be similar to the NCAA records before the tee was banned for field goals.