Has anyone else noticed this year, especially this years football postseason that kickers have been extremely unreliable. I feel like I’ve never seen so many missed FG’s in my life, and I’m not counting anything over 55. Any kick a kicker takes over 55 yards is probably a situation at the end of a half, including the end of the game, or an extremely desperate situation. Here’s 3 games this year that have been affected by poor kicking.
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Ben Hartman, kicker for East Carolina University had probably the single worst kicking game in at least the last decade against Arkansas (I’m just assuming I didn’t look it up). His first miss was from 45 yards. This was in the 1st quarter, and seemed to not matter that much at the time. He then made one from 33 yards in the 2nd quarter. Feelin’ alright he’s 1-2 at this point not bad seemingly shook the miss off. With 1 minute remaining, he missed a 39 yard field goal. Right when he missed I thought “Oh, wow, that’s gonna bite them in the ass.” Turns out, that didn’t necessarily do it. Still tied at 17, he got another shot at the 39 yarder. This one was going to happen as time ran out. What do ya know, he missed, again. 1-4 at this point and he has at least cost his team a regulation victory. Onto overtime we go. Arkansas gets the ball first. Their kicker, Alex Tejada, knocks down a 37 yard field goal. Great for ECU, all they have to do is score a touchdown, or at least it will be an easy field goal attempt, and you can’t miss 4 in one game right? Absolutely wrong. This game ended in a missed 35 yard field goal attempt.
- Outback Bowl. We all know who won this game, our beloved Auburn Tigers. My boy, Northwestern kicker Stefan Demos saved the game for the Tigers. His first miss was a PAT. It was blocked. His next miss was from 48 yards, a FG. Not necessarily a terrible miss, 48 isn’t really a given lets be serious. Auburn practically handed the game to Northwestern late in the 4th quarter. Setting my boy up for a makeable 44 yarder from the middle of the field. This was for the win and to break Northwesterns 61 year bowl winless streak. He missed, badly. Bummer dude, we go to OT, yet again. Technically, Demos only went 0-2 on FG’s, so you’re wondering why I’m still going. In Northwesterns OT possession (which may or may not have been the longest overtime possession ever both in time and plays, again I didn’t check that) Demos comes in to tie it at 38. He lines it up, he misses. Oh wait, roughing the kicker, not game over. Let’s face it, Demos got his shit rocked, backup kicker comes in for the next play, another FG attempt. We all know this because we’re all huge Tiger fans, but to remind you, they faked the FG, got tackled at the 1 or 2 or something. Auburn wins. Thank you Stefan Demos and War Damn Eagle.
- AFC Divisional Playoffs: New York Jets at San Diego Chargers. San Diego’s pro-bowl kicker Nate Kaeding had one of the best kicking seasons I can remember only missing 3 FG attempts the entire year. In the first half of the game, Kaeding missed a 36 yard attempt. Ok, so he’s gotta get the playoff jitters out, he won’t miss again. His next attempt, he gets a free pass from me. You can’t actually fully expect a kicker to make it from 57 yards. Any kick over 55 is really just a bonus if it goes in, in my opinion at least. Now were in the 4th quarter, game winding down, Chargers down 10 points to the Jets. They need this FG, a 40 yarder, to make it a 7 point game with about 4 minutes to go. Wide right. Kaeding moves to 3-9 career in the playoffs. Chargers eventually lose the game 17-14.
Believe or not, kicker is probably the 5th or 6th most important position on a football team. They score the most points on the team most years (if they REALLY suck they don’t). As Eagles fans, we are pretty lucky to have David Akers. Excluding a couple years, he’s been a sure bet inside 45, and he’s just as good in the playoffs. Okay, we’re spoiled, now we just need a quarterback who can do the same. Appreciate your kickers, football fans, especially if they’re good.