Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let's Hear it for the Girl

Not a lot of news out there about women's professional full-contact football. So, when I come across something that combines that AND kicking, man is it a good day. From the blog The Breakfast Club:

It is my pleasure to announce my acceptance on the 2007 Pittsburgh Passion Professional Women's Football Roster.

The Passion competes in the National Women's Football Association (NWFA), a five year old, 36 team league, headquartered in Nashville, TN. The Passion is a member of the Northern Conference and plays an 8 game regular season schedule. The teams play according to standard NFL rules, with the following notable exceptions; TDY size football, only one foot in bounds required following a reception and no blocking below the waist down field.
As in High School, I will be continuing my duties as Place Kicker.

Oddly, the blog only lists her name as Laudadio...maybe she is like the Cher of kickers...

So Bad, So Good

My kick-surfing today led me to the blog of Mr. Irrelevant where he is featuring a YouTuber rapping about the Dallas win last week over NY.

The kicker references will be made clear upon viewing...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just Love the Headline


As seen on Matt Mosley's Cowboys Blog.

Let's see if one of those Flying Gramatica's can do any better.

Good analysis on all this in Matt's blog here.

Especially like Coach Parcell's quote:
"I know what his track record is," Parcells said of Little G. "And I know in 2003-2004...I know why he had some problems kicking and I know why he was out of football in 2005, and I know where he was this summer, and I have good information from the people that had him this summer. They were very positive about it."
I don't have a good feeling about the whole thing. I hink Dallas should look to someone younger hat can build with the team...

Belichick Shows Some Love

The Boston Globe (yeah, I check out a major paper every now and then) has a short piece dedicated to Patriots coach Bill Belichick praising his kickers for their contributions to the team's win over the Chicago Bears.

Of course, like any coach, Bill can't be completely satisfied:

"It went through, so it was good enough," said Belichick. "You'd like for those adjustments to be a little more in the middle instead of rimming the edge, but it was a 52-yard kick, so those are hard to make in any situation. That was a big kick for us."

That's life for the kicker.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekend Kicks

Not a bad weekend for kickers.

Tom Coughlin tried to ice the kicker Rob Bironas after Eli Manning's baffling INT in the dying seconds of the 4th qtr against the Titans but, although the stats say it helps, it wasn't the case yesterday as Rob calmly booted the 49 yarder. that's a hell of a kick under pressure. I liked how long Coughlin waited to call the timeout. I almost wish he had used their second time out after Bironas set up for the second time but maybe that's just considered bad form.

Meanwhile, Buffalo's pulled out another game-winner for the Bills with three seconds left against Jacksonville. from the Buffalo News:

"They're all big kicks," said Lindell, who has seven career game-winning kicks. "Every time I go on the field it's a big kick, to me anyway and to the team most likely. Once they scored, I put my shoe on, went to the net and started getting ready because I figured it was going to come down to that."

I'll cover some college kicks a bit later on today.

Nugent Gets Some Props

Just a quick note to say I was glad to see Nugent go 4-4 for the Jets yesterday during their convincing win.

Bad Dog and Bad Pup have been giving him a lot of flack over at NYJetsTherapy and I am hoping they give him a little bit of love back today.

Nugent Gets Some Props

Just a quick note to say I was glad to see Nugent go 4-4 for the Jets yesterday during their convincing win.

Bad Dog and Bad Pup have been giving him a lot of flack over at NYJetsTherapy and I am hoping they give him a little bit of love back today.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saints Welcome Billy Cundiff

If there is one thing that changes every fan's outlook on their team it is the addition of a new kicker. Ok, that's not true, but it sure should be. The evidence continues to mount about the value of a deep kickoff man and an accurate punter in terms of maintaining strong field position.

So, Saints rejoice as the excellent placekicker Cundiff has joined the club. According to the Saints' homepage:

"Cundiff played four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and earned the reputation as one of the NFL's top kickoff men with his high, hanging kickofss that helped the Cowboys hold opponents to a league-low 17.5-yard kickoff return average in 2004.

He was signed by Green Bay as a free agent in March, was limited to six games in 2005 with Dallas due to an injury but was released by the Packers on August 17, 2006.

In 53 career games with the Cowboys, Cundiff connected on 60-of-82 field-goal attempts (73.2 percent) and missed one extra-point conversion in 101 attempts. Cundiff's career-long field goal was a 56-yarder in 2005."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The British are Coming!

Thanksgiving, that most holy of days when we gather at the harvest table and try to convince wives, girlfriends and others that, yes, in fact it is essential that I take my dinner in the den so I can watch the Bucs and the Cowboys fight it out on the gridiron! No, they are not "my" team...No, they are not really serious contenders...No, neither team has a dynamic quarterback...Yes, TO is over-rated...but, gaddamit it's Thanksgiving and I'm gonna watch me some football!

I thought it would be appropriate to point out a little piece in Orlando Sentinel (do you have any idea how hard it is to read through all these local papers?!) about another "crossover kicker" in the making. While there has been lots of talk about Aussie and Kiwi (I love that they allow themselves to be referred to with such silly-sounding monikers) kickers but it was only a matter of time before a few Brits saw the light.

You might not have the leg-speed or the upper-body strength to make it in the highly competitive world of European Professional Football, but if you've spent your whole life kicking a ball, the NFL would like to have a word.

This week, here's one to watch out for - Dale Brenchley of Lake Brantley High.
Until he was 13, football didn't mean first downs and field goals to Lake Brantley kicker Dale Brenchley. It meant nets and corner kicks.

When he moved to Central Florida from southeastern England in eighth grade, he started learning about American football, watching games with friends and playing Madden. He kicked for Lake Brantley's junior-varsity team as a sophomore, but then focused on soccer, becoming a star in the football of his youth. Now Brenchley has become a star for the other kind of football team.

His best quote:
"With soccer, you're 11 men doing the same thing," Brenchley said. "With football, it's just you kicking it, and it can be down to you. I was nervous, but I've gotten used to it. I like it."
See, that's the kicker spirit. The lone gunman. The gigolo. The star!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

We're Number Three!

Dave Golokhov over at Askmen (via Sport World) has a list of the Top Ten Sports Flubs and the kicker placed number three!

The somewhat dubious honor went to Scott "Wide Right" Norwood of the Buffalo Bills.

In Super Bowl XXV, the first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Bills, Norwood had a chance to win the game with a 47-yard field goal attempt.

In the pregame warm up, Norwood aimed for the right upright and the wind hooked the ball between the uprights. During his attempt with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, he again aimed right; this time the ball remained straight and he missed.

Have to feel for Scott. 47 yards is not a gimme. At least he didn't end up number one on the list. That sorry spot goes to the unfairly singled-out Bill Buckner - come on people, it's time to let that one go.

U2 & The Agony of Defeat

The insightful and unusually well-written blog Korrektiv led me to a wonderful video for the U2 song "Stuck in the Moment" featuring that worst of kicker nightmares, blowing the easy last-second field goal and losing the game - repeated over and over and over again!

Good stuff!!

Switched at Birth?

My quest today has led me to The Baseball Card Blog where our host makes a case that five-toed kicker Tony Dempsey and 1988 World Series star Kirk Gibson were actually the same person.

His real name is Alistair Bippleby, he’s from Highgate (a North London suburb), he came to study in the states to meet American girls in the mid-1970s, and then he never left. He tried to get a job as a physicist but found that the only job he could get with his unorthodox fu manchu mustache was that of a part-time baseball player, part-time American football place-kicker.
I gotta admit, the guy makes a pretty solid case and also makes me wonder if it might not be time for a full-on fu manchu come-back!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Icing the Kicker

Sure, most people were focused on the Ohio/Michigan game or maybe the Rutgers/Cinncinati affair, but I'd like to mention the Utah/Air Force match up that was decided by a field goal and likely cost Air Force a bowl bid.

As reported in the Rocky Mountain News, with 3 seconds left in the 14-14 game, Utah place kicker Louie Sakoda kept his cool even after Air Force called two timeouts and nailed the 37-yarder to win the game.

Now, a 37-yard boot is nothing to write home about but it is another example of one of sports arguable tactics, "icing" a player. This is largely reserved for football and basketball but you can see it in most sports in some manner.

However, at least in football, the technique seems to work. According to a study done by statisticians Scott Berry and Craig Wood icing does have a negative effect on the kicker. You can check out more on this here, here or here.

What do you think about icing the kicker?

Elam Closing In

Sure, the Bronco's may have lost yesterday to the surging Chargers (Drew who?) but that didn't stop Jason Elam from moving up the ladder for total field goals made. As CBS4 Denver reports, his two 3-pointers on Sunday tied him with Jim Bakken for the 14th most field goal attempts in NFL history with 447.

The current record is 538 field goals made by Gary Anderson.

I love that Jason went to the University of Hawaii - confirming my suspicion that kickers tend to know how to live well. Why suffer in Michigan or Ohio when you can do your four years on the beach?!

Jason's Stats
Jason's Wiki

Six Short for Stover

As reported by ABC News (among others) Baltimore Raven's kicker Matt Stover's field goal streak came to an end Sunday reaching 36 consecutive before his miss against Atlanta.

The current record is held by Mike Vanderjagt, who made 42 straight for the Indianapolis Colts.

Best Stover trivia:
Stover was once ranked a perfect 99 in Madden NFL Football

Matt's Stats
Matt's Wiki

Friday, November 17, 2006

Look Out For...

...University of Wisconsin kicker Taylor Mehlhaff. Taylor has been a huge factor in Wisconsin's 10-1 record this season. A very good field goal kicker, he is 14-of-17, missing twice from 47 yards and once 55 yards, Taylor's biggest contribution is in kickoffs where he has 38 touchbacks on 66 kickoffs for 58 percent, leading the Big Ten.

Taylor is quoted in the Oskosh Northwesterner:

"I take pride in putting it deep," Mehlhaff said. "I want to get a touchback. Every kick I take, I think of it as important."
You can see Taylor in action this weekend when they take on Buffalo at home this weekend.

An Interview with Taylor from 2004 - prior to going to UW
Taylor's Stats

Hey Big Kicker

Sticking with high school football (there'll be plenty of time for NFL and College come Monday) I am thrilled to introduce everyone to North Fort Myers High kicker/punter Nathan O'Jibway. What makes O'Jibway so special, you ask? Well, he happens to be 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds!
"People assume I play offensive lineman or defensive tackle," said O'Jibway, a senior whose booming right leg helped propel North into tonight's Region 5A-3 semifinal against visiting Largo. "When I say kicker and punter, they say: 'Oh really? ... That's good. ... You're kind of big, aren't you?' "
Um, yeah, you are. But holy crap does this guy make you pay for trying to run back a kick. From the News-Daily of Southwest Florida:

Jamaul Temple fielded the ensuing kickoff and seemed headed for a long return up the middle. As the crowd rose in anticipation, O'Jibway appeared suddenly and devastated Temple with a ferocious hit. Fans winced and groaned, the impact like a semi racing head-on into a two-seater.

Digging Deep

Yup, I'll go anywhere for a bit of kicker insight and today I've ended up at The News-Record of Greensboro, NC, where Kellie Dixon has a great piece called Kickers Make Their Point.

The article talks about how important, especially on the high school level, that simple point-after can be on the outcome of the game. I also love hearing from high school kickers, like Will Cimino of Southeast Guillford:
"My talent is kicking," Cimino said. "Other people's might be running the ball or throwing the ball. That's just how I fit into the team."
This bud's for you, Will. Just keep kickin' it.

Kicker Justice

Much thanks to Tom McMahon, proprietor of a wonderful site you just have to see for yourself - Four Block World - for the heads up on the resolution of the libel case between former Bears kicker (and present-day judge!) Bob Thomas and the Kane County Chronicle. The court found in favor of Thomas to the tune of seven million dollars! Way to go, Bob.

I've got to point out another thing I love about kickers: they've got to be the only guys who go from pro football to being judges, and a Chief Justice to boot?!

You can read all about it here.
More about Bob Thomas' road to the bench here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holy Crap! Kicker Gossip!!!

God, I love this. According to a post on The Pink Seats in an interview with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, it is revealed that he and kicker Josh Brown attended a Carrie Underwood concert and that she and Josh really hit it off. No confirmation of an ongoing relationship but, hey, it's actual kicker gossip and beggars can't be choosers. Plus, it is another excuse to post a picture of a pretty girl.

Thanks to Half a World Away for leading me to this tasty tidbit.

Michigan v. Ohio State - SNOW BOWL 1950

This is a link to some great video of the 1950 "Snow Bowl" between Michigan and Ohio State. I hear they remain rivals?

What I love is the footage of OSU's Vic Janowicz making a field goal in the midst of the blizzard. This is definitely a link to check out! Credit to Blogging Ohio for leading me to the video.

On the Other Foot

Yesterday, I posted about Dave McClain's blown snap in last year's Miami U/Bowling Green match-up.

Well, this year's game also came down to a kick, but it was Bowling Green's Sean Ellis missing a 25-yarder wide right with 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

I guess turn-around is fair play. Actually, I am not at all sure what that means but it sounds right...

Article in Plain Dealer
Miami Redhawks Take on the Game
Blanchard River Buzz - Great description of the missed kick

Kickin' it Old School

Here's a little morning kick for everyone - Gorillas Don't Blog (see, I'm more than obscure local papers) has a great post on Tommy Walker, who is a true footnote in terms of kicker history, but for Disney fanatics he was the son of the first conductor of the DisneyLand Band and went on to be DisneyLand's first Director of Entertainments.

He's also the guy that wrote the "Da-da-da-da-da-dah! Charge" cheer. Wonder how the royalties work on that...

As a college kicker for USC , Tommy is most noted for doing double-duty as the bandleader.

Tommy on Wikipedia

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How's the Snapper?

While some may question whether or not there could truly be an entire blog dedicated to kickers, everyone would question on dedicated to snappers.

That's not gonna stop me from pointing out a great little article in The Midtown Journal (keep up, folks) by Pete Conrad in which Miami U snapper Dave McClain relives the muffed snap that cost his team the game one year ago against this week's opponent Bowling Green.

McClain states the sad but true:

"It's one of those positions where the only time you get noticed is when you screw up," McClain said, "and I always accepted that."
Man, I feel for Dave. Just when you think you've got the most thankless job on the field...

(p.s. - I couldn't find a picture of Miami's Dave McClain, so pictured above is Machinehead's Dave McClain)

Brian Jackson up for Groza

Ball State's Brian Jackson has made the short list for the Lou Groza Award. According to The Ball State Daily News, Jackson is third on Ball State's all-time scoring list - though his senior status makes it unlikely he will go any higher.
"[The Groza Award] is one of my goals going into every season as a collegiate kicker," Jackson said. "I have had a decent season individually, but I didn't even think I'd have a chance for it because of the amount of attempts. Usually the bigger-name kickers get that opportunity. I was very surprised and very, very happy."
Kudos to Brian. Considering his high school team went winless for his last three years it's nice to see things have worked out better in college.

A Punter Prepares

Even I have to admit it isn't easy finding good stories on punters. Let's face it, they are sort of the Grim Reapers of the game, only coming on to the field when all hope is lost.

But Arkansas kicker Jacob Skinner has turned it all around with his highly crowd pleasing pre-kick preparation. KARK TV did a great piece on it (above) and Today's THV has an article on it as well.

Nice to see people cheering the punter, even if it is a sign that the offense has failed completely...

Skinner's Stats

Keeping Pace

Brandon Pace, the Virginia Tech kicker and my "One to Watch" pick from last week, is featured in a Norm Wood article in The Daily Press (come on people, ya gotta keep up with the local rags). Turns out the secret to Brandon's success is practicing on the golf course with his "swing coach" Fred Penciaro (pictured above!).

"When I talk with 'Coach P' or any other kickers or kicking coaches, you can relate kicking to golf a lot," Pace said. "Your foot is the club head. It's all in how you come to the ball and how you follow through and things like that. It's a lot of the same mental state. If you have a 35-yard field goal or five-foot putt, it's the same thing. It's the same mentality."

So, for those of you still dreaming of a career kicking the ball head on over to find out the secrets of the back nine.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kudos to Robert (No E) Lee

The Daily Reflector (what, you don't read the Daily Reflector?!) is reporting that East Carolina senior placekicker Robert Lee was named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week.

Lee made four field goals - one in each quarter - and three PA's in the Pirates win over Marshall. Nice to see some credit where credit is due considering Lee was responsible for 15 of the team's 33-point total.

Maybe Mr. Lee will get a little attention from the ladies now that he has received such high honors...but probably not. Very few girls show up at the football frat hoping to hook up with the kicker.

Kicker Video o' the Day

Gotta hand it to "Ken the Kicker" for trying to add some street-cred to the position. Not sure if the hardcore rap is going to do it but I applaud him for his attempt!

J-E-T-S (and Nugent on Letterman)

So, last night the Jets kicker Mike "Don't Call Me Ted" Nugent showed up on the Late Show w/David Letterman to kick a football through a pane of glass. Not quite throwing a football into the window of a moving taxi (a Letterman classic) but not bad.

Mike was the starting kicker for Ohio State two years ago and didn't get much of a chance to shine during his rookie year with the 4-12 Jets.

Karen Crouse at The New York Times has an article on Nugent and his appearance. Regarding the stunt:

Asked if he was nervous before his stupid human trick, Nugent said, “Not too much.” He added, “I was just excited to get an opportunity to do something like that.”

Now, I for one resent the use of "Stupid Human Trick" in this manner. Nugent is a highly paid athlete on a professional sports team. If kicking the football is a stupid human trick, how the hell do you describe the actions of a center?

For more on Nugent and the Jets I highly recommend stopping over at for a fantastic podcast featuring Bad Dog and Bad Pup and real live callers all having their say on the Jets - before and after every game.

I Am Not Alone!

Sometimes it can feel a little lonely spreading the word of the kicker. Why the kicker, people ask. Why not the quarterback or the tight end? Why not a big strong lineman? Then I come across an article like the one by Evan Harris of the Indiana Daily Student News and his "Ode to the Placekicker," which includes the line:

"Oh, to be an NFL kicker. A figurine of a man on a field with giants, keeping his professional career alive by using the strength of one appendage."
While this is not quite accurate, or poetic really, it sure does exemplify why it is so hard for kickers to get the respect they deserve.

(oh, about the picture...Evan didn't have an image available and I decided it was a rare chance to get a pretty face on the blog)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Length or Accuracy

There was a great article in the New York Times yesterday by Aaron Schatz, of Football Outsiders, that examines the value of kickoff distance versus field goal percentage and makes the argument that kickoff distance is the far more valuable stat.

It is a pretty interesting look at the position but I have to hand it to Phil Burnbaum over at Sabermetric Research for digging even deeper and asking some tough questions regarding the physical and psychological differences between a kickoff and a field goal attempt.

Aaron responds (sort of) to this here.

Gators Block Their Way to a Win

The Florida Gators REALLY didn't want to lose to Spurrier for the second time in as many seasons but it sure looked like they were going to do it anyhow.

Though my heart is always with the kicker, I have to give some props to Jarvis Moss who not only blocked the 48-yard attempt to win the game in the fourth quarter but also blocked an extra point earlier in the game - something pretty rare, even at the college level.

Florida blocked a third kick during the game as well.

Hard to fault South Carolina's kicker, Ryan Succop, a sophmore from Hickory, NC. He is a strong kicker who handles placekicking and punting duties and is considered a likely nominee for the Groza Award.

Much like great quarterbacks rely on a strong offensive line, kickers require at least enough protection to safely get the ball away. In addition to the dismal feeling that results from having your kick blocked, a kicker is at his most vulnerable immediately following contact with the ball - their leg is fully extended and all weight is on the single planted foot. A charging defender can do much more damage than blocking the kick if he is not stopped at the line.

Now, SC has done pretty well keeping Succop safe so, in this case, I think all credit goes to Moss and the rest of the Florida line.

Giant Miss

Once again, coming clean here: I am a NYC resident and thus watch a lot of Giants football. Ok, it is usually because all the other games are blacked out (this has to end!) but the last few years have been pretty entertaining, what with Eli and Tiki - and a kicker I really like, Jay Feely.

This was not Feely's weekend and there is some disagreement on who to blame. The New York Daily News opens with the claim that Feely all but guaranteed he could make the kick and told Coach Coughlin as much. Of course, the article does quote Coughlin not once, but twice, making it clear the decision to try the field goal and not punt was entirely his own and laid no blame at Feely's feet (or foot).

GiantFootballBlog takes the stronger stance that it was entirely Coughlin's error in judgment.

I agree with GFB. All great athletes will tell you they can make the big shot/big kick/big play - that confidence is part of what makes them great. The coach's job is to know when enthusiasm and confidence are unlikely to overcome a tough situation, like wind, rain and poor field position for instance.

Plus, it is hard to blame Feely for letting Hester, a true run-back superstar, make the longest touchdown run in NFL history. There were members of the special team walking off the field before the whistle was blown!

One to Watch

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph has a nice piece on Virginia Tech's placekicker Brandon Pace, who set a new team record for consecutive field goals over the weekend with 18. His last miss came back on October 27, 2005 against BC. Pace was a walk-on who now plays on full scholarship.

Among the strong signs that Pace will be kicking with the big boys next year:

  • Three-time Lou Groza Award semi-finalist.
  • A calm, cool composure.
  • He's got a solid superstition going - he refuses to cut his hair again until he misses a field goal.
I also like his Zen approach, “It doesn’t matter whether we’re up 30 (points) or down 10. If your mind is floating, thinking about things like that, things are probably not going to go well.”

Ain't that the truth.

Josh Brown - The Next Vinatieri?

Seattle placekicker Josh Brown put away the game winner with nine seconds left on the clock, in the pouring rain no less. For that you'd think the guy would get every prop in the world. While he is the lead sentence on most of the Seattle sports pages, the Seahawks Most Valuable Player
blog doesn't give him one of four "huge play" picks. What's bigger than actually winning the game?!

I think Seattle's News Tribune wins for best punny headline (yeah, it's a dubious honor) with their re-purposing of the Bush classic "Heckuva Job, Brownie."

I concur. Well done, Brownie!

Friday, November 10, 2006

What are the Odds

According to my bookie (ok, I don't have a bookie...) only 3 of the fifteen NFL games this week have teams winning by a field goal or less. I will report back on Monday just how well that stat holds up. Perhaps I am a little obsessed with the kickers, but it seems to me that close to half the games each week swing on a pivotal field goal or punt.

While I am not a betting man (gotta have something to bet with) I've got to imagine that regular football gamblers must have a stronger love/hate relationship with kickers than almost anyone else. Sure, your team will win or lose a few games this season based on field goals but how many point-spreads are completely blown by a seemingly meaningless kick late in the fourth quarter with the team already trailing by 14. Suddenly, that big win doesn't taste so sweet, what with the 11 points just not being enough to make the day.

Let me hear from the gamblers out there. How do you feel about kickers?

Robbie Gould - An Honest to God Interview!

I am always excited to see a significant interview with a kicker. In this case,'s Court E. Mann has a chat with Robbie Gould, the Chicago Bears excellent placekicker and October's "Special Teams Player of the Month" - yes there is such a thing.

Definitely shoot over there to read the whole thing. My favorite exchange was this:

PFW: Kickers are a notoriously superstitious bunch. Do you have any particular oddities you subscribe to?

Gould: I have absolutely no superstitions at all. I kind of break every stereotype when it comes to kickers.

PFW: What about when people continue to remind you that you haven’t missed a kick? Do you wince at all every time you hear that?

Gould: Knock on wood. That’s all you do.

Really gotta love that. Guy's not superstitious at all. He just knocks on wood like any rational person would do.

Link - Q&A with Bears PK Robbie Gould

YouTube Loves a Kicker

Man, I love YouTube. Actually, I just love the internet. This is a great fans-eye-view of the two kicks by young Ito (no relation, btw, to Judge Ito, though that would've been pretty cool).

Seeing Scarlet

Full disclosure (since I hear blogs are held to the highest ethical standards) - I am a Rutgers alum, but it was for grad school and we never attended a single Scarlet Knights event.

That said, it was nice to see them pull out the win over L'ville last night. And how did the Jersey Boys carry the day? Oh, that's right! With a winning field goal. Three cheers for Jeremy Ito... even if he did miss it the first time and only got a second chance on a penalty.


In my ceaseless hunt for every possible angle on the world of the kicker I found a great post credited to Maurile on the Pro-Football-Reference blog (catchy title, guys!) making a case for why teams could benefit from having different players for placekicking and kickoffs. It has been a while since teams began using a single player specifically for kicking and even less time has passed since the role was split between punters and placekickers.

Considering there are those who would like to see kicking eliminated completely from the sport, Maurile's defense is nice to see.

Check out all the details here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New High School Record

The AP is reporting that the record for most field goals in one season has been broken by Jimmy Stevens of Heritage Hall High School.

"Jimmy Stevens kicked the 49th and 50th field goals of his career Friday night, breaking the listed national record.

Tomas Sanchez of Fort Worth Arlington Heights was one of two players who shared the previous record of 48, according to the National High School Sports Record Book. Sanchez played from 1995 to '98. Brian Bond had 48 for Hacienda Heights (Calif.) Wilson in 1999 and 2000.

Stevens booted field goals of 26 and 52 yards – a career long – in the second quarter of a 14-13 loss to Bethel. He missed a 31-yard attempt as time expired."


Kick This!

My occassional piece of kicker wisdom. Today's gem comes from kicker patron saint Lou Groza:

"All of life is mastering the fundamentals, its stance, approach, contact and follow-through. Truth is where the toe meets the ball."

Here's a little background on Lou "The Toe" Groza, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Born to Hungarian immigrants in Martins Ferry, Ohio, a decidedly athletic family, he was the smallest (at 6' 3") of three brothers. He played one season for Ohio State University, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega, before being drafted into the Army. Upon discharge, Groza joined the Browns, who were then in the All-America Football Conference. He stayed with the team until 1959. After a brief retirement, he returned to play from 1961-1967. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his 21 years of play was unprecedented up to that time, and when he retired, he was last of the original Browns still active.

While renowned for his kicking ability, Groza also played and started during most of his career as offensive tackle for the Browns. He was very proficient at both positions, named nine times to the NFL Pro Bowl and was All-NFL tackle six times. Groza also led the NFL in field goals in 1950, 1952-54, and 1957. In 1950, his field goal with 30 seconds left won the NFL Championship Game. In 1957, he also co-led the NFL in scoring. He was named the Sporting News' NFL Player of the Year in 1954. However, he played exclusively as a kicker during his second stint with the Browns.

Groza was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. His number 76 is retired by the Browns. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission established the Lou Groza Award in 1992, an award given to the best NCAA Division I kicker. In 1999, he was ranked number 99 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Lou Groza co-wrote a biography of his time playing football called "The Toe: The Lou Groza Story".

Groza was very close friends with Art Modell. However, when Groza died, Modell was unable to attend his funeral due to lingering resentment concerning the original Browns' departure from Cleveland.

The "Lou Groza Rule" in the NFL prohibits use of artificial aids for kickers. Lou used tape and later a special tee with a long tail to help him guide his foot to the sweet spot of the football when kicking. The 1956 rule banned Lou's tape.

Wikipedia link

Kicking Things Off

Oh to be the kicker – the only guy on the field with a single bar across your helmet. Standing alone from the rest of the team, waiting on the sidelines for your brief moment in the spotlight. Traveling from city to city, week after week, for mere seconds on the field. Though you might kick the game-winning field goal one week, you are always just a single miss away from becoming the scapegoat for your entire team. And, while kids across the country pretend to be Brett Favre or Payton Manning, proudly wear the jerseys of Reggie Bush or Barry Sanders, rare is the child who can even name their home team’s kicker.

Welcome to HERE'S THE KICKER, a blog dedicated to the trials and tribulations of the guys who kick the ball.

Join me each day as I highlight news stories about kickers and share thoughts and insights on the most singular job on the field.