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Kickers are people too

“Seriously? I could of made that.”

Every fan has shouted this at their television screen, at least once, when their team’s woeful kicker inevitably shanks one wide from 30 yards.

Sure, their job description is simple and they literally get paid to kick a football. However, only a few can handle the pressure and when your career hangs by the swing of a boot, it’s far from plain sailing.

Every week kickers are crowned as heroes or villains. However, Week 7 was peculiar in that the news cycle seemed to be specially dominated by kicker related drama. So for a change let’s take a look at the story lines, good and bad, surrounding the league’s most godforsaken position.

Josh Brown and the New York Giants

The New York Giant’s arrived in London for their matchup against the L.A Rams without their pro-bowl kicker.

Brown was deactivated by the team in the face of heated media criticism following the emergence of documents, where the Giant admitted to verbally and physically abusing his his then-wife, Mary.

Following Sunday’s game Brown was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while the league further reviewed the documents. Unsurprisingly, sources close to the situation have reported that the kicker will never play for the Giants again.

However, whats truly distressing, is that Brown received a new two year, $4 million deal from the Giants, even after admitting his guilty role in the abuse to the team’s co-owner, John Mara.

In Brown’s absence, the Giants signed former Chicago Bear Robbie Gould to take on kicking duties at Twickenham and its safe to say that it was a whirlwind 72 hours for the former pro-bowler. After arriving in London on Friday morning, Gould had only one practice on Saturday before taking the field on Sunday.

The 34-year-old kicker had ten successful years in Chicago and was a popular figure amongst fans. He will most likely take on the Giant’s kicking responsibilities for the remainder of the season.

Indianapolis’ very own Peter Pan

Adam Vinatieri first came into the league in 1996. I’ll let that sink in.

To put things in perspective, Baddiel & Skinner were top of the charts with ‘Three Lions’ and Happy Gilmore had just hit cinemas up and down the country. In short, Vinatieri has been around a long time and he’s been great for a long time.

After starting his career with the now defunct Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe, Vinatieri was signed as an undrafted free agent by Bill Parcell’s New England Patriots. Thus began an illustrious ten year span where the kicker played in four Super Bowls, winning three of them.

In 2006 the kicker, nicknamed ‘Mr. Clutch’, signed with the Indianapolis Colts and picked up where he had left off by winning Super Bowl XLI in his inaugural season. Remarkably, his fourth ring.

Fast forward ten years and Vinatieri is still regarded as one of the best kickers in the business. However, he can now add a new accolade to his, already glistening, list of honours: Most consecutive field goals in NFL history.

After hitting a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter of the Colts 34-26 victory over the Titans, Vinatieri set an NFL record with 43 consecutive makes, passing former Colt, Mike Vanderjagt’s record.

The 43-year-old is a shoe in for the Hall of Fame but he’s not done kicking yet. There’s still time to join the footballing gods with a fifth Super Bowl ring.

Lambo gets last laugh

San Diego Chargers’ kicker Josh Lambo took a lot of criticism following his side’s Week 5 loss to their division-rival Oakland Raiders.

After playing his part in a collapse, which saw the Chargers’ special team botch a potential game-tieing field goal, the 26-year-old was seen laughing with fellow kicker Sebastien Janikowski as they left the field.

Reportedly, this didn’t sit too well with the rest of his teammates, who saw Lambo’s post-match hilarities as a sign of disrespect.

Their feelings of animosity towards the much maligned kicker may of well changed however, as Lambo hit a game-winning 42-yard field goal in OT to defeat the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.

Something tells me that Lambo may have enjoyed a laugh after the match.

Sunday night stinker

If you were unlucky enough to stay up for the classic that was Sunday night football, then you ultimately witnessed a stalemate between two defence-first sides in Arizona and Seattle.

Of course, for the football purists among us, you may have enjoyed such a battle, which was ultimately the opposite of the modern day norm: A high scoring affair where little to no defence is played.

In the end, the game finished in a 6-6 tie after a comedy of errors in overtime resulted in both team’s kickers fluffing their lines. Firstly, Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro somehow managed to hit his game-winning attempt against the upright from 24-yards out. Unbelievably Seattle’s Steve Hauschka followed this up with a miss of his own, pulling his go-ahead game winner, much to the adulation of the home crowd.

It was an astonishing end to the match and one that gave us the first tie without a touchdown since 1972.

Even more extraordinary was this stat from Sunday night. According to this season’s field goal stats, there was a 0.2% chance that both Catanzaro and Hauschka would miss.

I think this is one occasion where shouting “seriously? I could of made that” is deemed acceptable.

 

Pic: Zimbio.com

Article written by:

Kadeem joined the NFLGirlUK.com team in 2016 and is currently the AFC Conference Editor, covering the AFC West division, as well as writing about Madden for the Gaming section. Though quite new to the NFL, after becoming acquainted with it through Madden, Kadeem has written features and articles on the sport for the Morning Star newspaper, where he is the current sports editor. He can be followed on Twitter @KadeemSimmonds.

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